Saturday, August 21, 2010

Shower: The fountain of ideas

The shower is the perfect storm of ideas. There, there's water pressure, but no mental pressure. Effortlessly and without direction, you can freely associate concepts and come up with great ideas.

The other reason ideas happen there is because it's also the one place left where you can't really take your iPod. There are no distractions.

Ever wonder what effect this constant stream of mental input is having on your output? Constant input means no ideas.

Take the chewing gum out of your eyes and ears every once in a while. Think. Make things. Be creative. No pressure though. Pressure will fatigue you back onto tried, tired ideas. There are no rewards either. The rewards will distract from the process.

If you invite them, the ideas will come, but not when you're scrambling for them, and certainly not when you're distracted by your media source of choice.

The acquisition of data is important, but without the quiet reflective time, like the seven minutes you spend in the shower, you won't be able to put the ideas together.

When you hit upon the idea, write it down quickly because even if it's not perfect, being prepared to capture the fleeting ideas will keep you ready when that one big idea floats by. Don't fool yourself into thinking you'll remember it later. You won't.

The fountain of ideas has nothing to do with the water and everything to do with the mental space that the shower enables.

Unplug. Stem the flow of external chatter. Turn off all distractions.

Ask. Have a clear question you're trying to answer.

Relax. It's ok if you forget you were even trying to answer the question. Your subconscious will work on this in just the same way as you suddenly remember the name of that movie you were trying to think of three hours ago.

Respect the idea. If you don't take your ideas seriously, by at least writing them down, your mind will get wise to you trying to use it this way and quit giving you the ideas you're asking for, like a muscle you never use. Instead, make use of the ideas, and your brain will keep putting in the effort to help you out again and again.

Unplug, ask, relax, and respect the idea. Or you could just go have another shower. You know you need it.

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1 comment:

  1. Good post! I get lots of great ideas in the shower and I found a great way to record/respect them. You will love this. I came across a waterproof notepad called aquanotes. Take a look: