Friday, April 3, 2009

Lather, Rinse, Repeat


Why is it that many of us get our best ideas in the shower?

Often in the morning, in my semi-wakeful state I get into the shower, not really thinking about anything other than "lather, rinse, repeat" and suddenly a brilliant idea pops into my head.
I stumble and slide across the floor into my bedroom dripping wet and frantically search for a pen and a piece of paper to capture my soon to be fleeting thought.

Usually I bang my knee on my bedside table and have to stop thinking and start searching for band-aids. When I do revisit my scribble after drying off, the note is either too soggy or too quickly written to make any sense of it.

What's the magic behind the morning shower moment and how can we replicate that hyper-productive thinking in an "drip free" environment where we can properly capture ideas?

This "shower power" may come from the fact we're in a dream-like state between sleep and wakefulness. But I think that it's really the fact that we're engaging in a daily ritual that doesn't require a lot of conscious thought. This allows for ideas to bubble to the surface without our "critique reflex" kicking in - a mechanism which prematurely shuts off a lot of good ideas.

Showering at work for most of us probably isn't an option. Instead, how about trying other similar kinds of repetitive actions: strumming a guitar, knitting, doodling, bouncing a ball etc.

Stop deliberately trying to think of something, try shifting gears- and engaging in an activity that helps you essentially...think of nothing.

It might be just the trick to getting those brilliant ideas pouring out.

That's my point of view. What's your twist?

What "routine" activities help you get in the groove?

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