Great ideas appear in the shower.
It happens all the time. Water’s flowing, you’re lathering up, and out of nowhere pops the perfect opener for your upcoming speech, a breakthrough idea for your current project, or clarity on how to deal with a sticky challenge that’s been dogging you for months.
Suddenly it’s obvious.
Even the greatest mathematician of antiquity, and possibly of all time, had a Eureka! moment in the bath. Legend has it that Archimedes figured out how to calculate the volume of an irregularly shaped object while bathing. With great excitement he leapt out of the tub and ran through the streets (sans clothing) shouting “Eureka!” (which is Greek for I have found it).
What’s up with the water moments?
The magic of silence.
Your brain relaxed. It’s quiet in the shower (and the bath).
The world’s so loud you can’t hear yourself think.
For better or worse, technology has connected us 24 hours a day.
It used to be that creative thinking happened on your daily commute. You mentally disconnected in the privacy of your car or as you tuned out your fellow train passengers. But now you can talk, text, check email, and surf the web the entire time you’re on the road.
The result of all this?
You rarely have the conditions needed to release your unconscious thought process. Which is unfortunate, since that’s where clarity, ideas, and insight come from.
Sometimes you unexpectedly get unstuck!
You know when you’re puzzling over a problem, and you finally give up and go to bed – and wake up realizing you “got it” while you were sleeping?
Your unconscious mind did the work for you. (Don’t you love when that happens?)
It’s not that you’ll never have another inspired thought if you don’t carve out opportunities for your mind to rest and your unconscious to play. But breakthroughs come when you give your brain a break.
No matter where you’re stuck, options and ideas come from creative thinking … and that starts in your unconscious. So the quickest path to getting those juices flowing is to allow space for more brain breaks in your life.
Keep it simple – fifteen minutes walking, sitting quietly in a chair, or lying on the floor with your eyes closed can all do the trick. Or turn your daily commute into a creative zone by turning off your cell-phone and listening to soothing background music – or nothing at all.
Since you’re likely to jump right back into go, go, go right after the break, keep a notebook or digital recorder close at hand so you can keep up with the flow of new thoughts that are sure to come.
And if all else fails, take more showers!
“In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi