“Think Different” was in Apple ads at one time, and it also happens in the immediate aftermath of a Vegas trip that featured sleep deprivation and excess of just about everything else. Like now. I spend a lot of time on the inside of my head anyway, but the combination above has my cranial consommé altered. Maybe over-salted. I have no idea where I’m going with this post, but let’s start with some of the excess:

Information – Oh, you thought I was going right to gambling, hookers and blow? Maybe I’ll get to those later… The conference I attended, and it really doesn’t matter which one, had mostly crappy presentations, at least those that I picked. Still, while panning the hundreds of slides presenters throw into your gaze, there are occasional ideas that spark. Get just one neuron firing about some stray bullet on a slide and before you know it, the mind is lit up with white tracers going in all directions like a darkened beach firefight.

Stimulus – Casinos are designed to be a jungle-like maze of money sucking Venus Flytraps surrounded by a constant barrage of distracting stimuli. Oh, they pump oxygen into the atmosphere to keep you awake, but then bombard your senses with dollar signs, lights, spinning wheels, bells, whistles, music and half-naked waitresses, all designed to help you not notice the money flying out of your pockets. Still, the brain has to process all that stuff, so I theorize that productive thought, crowded out by the noise, springs anew in uncharted dark corners of the grey guy.

Alcohol – Conference drink tickets, complimentary cocktails while gambling, great wine lists and some people’s need to buy their buddies shots contribute to a near 24/7 slow drip (well, not the shots). It’s crazy, but alcohol alters the senses and makes you think different. No, not as well as acid the way Steve Jobs describes it in his new biography, but like that… Just a little. Oh, and the “Up All Night” frozen blend of an energy drink and vodka nearly worked as advertised!

Ego – Vegas is the bar scene from “Star Wars” whether you’re in a bar or not. The endless parade of chaos spawned from the human genome is truly awesome, but some of those genetic accidents just take themselves way too seriously. Like me writing this blog thinking people would be interested in reading it, only way more. One guy came out for his presentation looking like he had just been in hair and makeup for an hour. Another, looking like Sylvester Stallone after all the plastic surgery, spent 45 minutes telling us how he started out just like us commoners, but now is Chairman of a multi-billion dollar corporation. Then he said we should do it too…

Food – There’s plenty of overpriced, crappy food in Sin City, but there is also some of the best and most creative food this world has to offer, and SushiSamba offers the latter. Their dueling cuisines of Japanese and Brazilian is delicious and fun, with or without drinks (and the ridicule one receives from drinking them) containing “muddled fruit.” The Pallazzo hotel gem offers a world crossing array of colorful dishes and taste bud blowing textures and flavors. It inspires me to be more creative in cooking.

Conversation – I failed in my goal to more effectively network at the event. I chatted with a woman at breakfast one morning, but otherwise gravitated to co-workers (and friends) who work in other cities and others that work close by every day. The words flowed and many topics, both personal and professional, explored. Laughter was in excess. And smiles. The conversation excess leaves me invigorated and with stronger relationships that benefit my life in and beyond business.

Yeah, all of that stuff gets me thinking different. As I retraced Sunday’s steps to check out, my rebooted brain processed the thoughts of my life like one of those fast motion movie montages portraying a near death experience. Family. Work. Life. Love. Pros. Cons. Options. Plans. That broken stairmaster… They all flew through the new processor with a slightly different, and hopefully improved perspective.

Oh, and the gambling, hookers and blow? There was none of that for me, but five of my co-workers pooled cash for slots and won $5,000 at about 3AM! They must be thinking different today.