My twentieth high school reunion was last weekend, and I missed it.
Three thousand miles, two kids, and one wedding anniversary made the trip back to the Midwest too much to handle. But it would have been great to see some old friends, newer bald spots, and get caught up on the past couple of decades. As I reminisce with high school friends since the reunion, I keep thinking about one teacher in particular who walked the talk. Literally.
Dr. S was our philosophy teacher, and rumor was that he attended Woodstock. His class was an elective in my senior year — a pretty heavy foray into logical thinking, morality, and lots and lots of Greek. But Dr. S was an amazing teacher, and he managed to take complex ideas and make them interesting, if not always simplified.
As you can guess, it can be difficult to give a test on these types of topics, so Dr. S changed the whole concept of testing into one-on-one discussions — which he recognized as the best forum to determine our understanding. And as if this wasn’t impressive enough (imagine arranging one-on-one meetings with twenty-five kids!), he conducted all of his “examinations” while going for a walk. Students would congregate outside during breaks on sunny school days, and you always knew if it was exam time if you saw a student strolling around the campus, engaged in a discussion of Descartes or syllogisms with Dr. S — straight out of Dead Poets Society.
It seemed like such a novel idea at the time, and unfortunately still does. The notion that you can take a test or conduct business outside of a conference room and away from your desk opens up a whole new world for creative thinking, not to mention … walking.
True, treadmill desks have been around for a while, and research shows that not only can they improve fitness and aid weight loss, but they can also maintain productivity. But most of our cubicles won’t accommodate a treadmill, so … how about skipping the lunch meeting and instead take a walking meeting instead?
Try it – schedule your next peer evaluation, brainstorming session, or progress update while walking through the neighborhood, down the street or around your building. It will get you outside, get your creative juices flowing, and might even improve your presentation.