Why We Have Our Best Ideas in the Shower: The Science of Creativity

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“I’m not really a creative person”, always struck me as an odd sentence. Could it really be that some of us are born to be more creatively gifted than others?

If so, I thought at first, that’s definitely a downer. In school, what was considered “being creative”, like writing or drawing nice pictures was never my strength.

It bugged me for a while I have to say. For today, I finally decided to research and read up on the latest studies of creativity and the science behind it. The truth, which I was very happy to discover, is that any and everybody is creative. In fact, we are all extremely creative.

And the following science will hopefully prove it, in case you ever had any doubts about your own creativity. After all, creativity, at its very core, boils down to this:

“A creative idea will be defined simply as one that is both novel and useful (or influential) in a particular social setting.” – Alice Flaherty

This applies to every field Flaherty explains, including programming, business, mathematics together with the more traditional “creative” fields, such as music or drawing. And yet, there is still a very distinct process behind it:

Our brain on creativity: The example of free-style rap

So, what is actually active in our brain when we are doing something creatively? That’s always been extremely hard to track as creativity has always been considered a very vague activity. Until recently researchers Allen Braun and Siyuan Liu had a genius idea: Track the brain activity of rappers doing freestyle and turn it into a research study.

Free-style rap is a great example of a creative process that is both relatively easy to track and can be translated into lots of other areas. What they found was fascinating. When we are being creative, some of the everyday brain areas are completely deactivated, whilst others we don’t use in every day lives light up:

“Artists showed lower activity in part of their frontal lobes called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex during improvisation, and increased activity in another area, called the medial prefrontal cortex. The areas that were found to be ‘deactivated’ are associated with regulating other brain functions.”

To make it a bit more understandable:

“We think what we see is a relaxation of ‘executive functions’ to allow more natural de-focused attention and uncensored processes to occur that might be the hallmark of creativity,” says Braun.

So, the areas in our brain, that we use to make decisions is largely inactive. The “medial prefrontal cortex” area, which is responsible to learn association, context, events and emotional responses however was extremely active on the other hand. This graphic of brain activity probably describes it best:

brain1

The reason the above is so fascinating, is that for the first time, there was an activity, that was deeply creative and also fairly straightforward to measure. When I read through some other studies measuring brain activity, it never felt that the people were performing something actually creative.

So it makes a lot of sense to substitute free-style rapping for writing, drawing, solving programming problems and more mentions Braun. That’s why this example is so great. It is also similar to our brain activity whilst we sleep.

 

Why do we have great ideas in the shower then?

The fact that free-style rapping shows us a high level of creativity, still doesn’t explain why great ideas happen in the shower.

Alice Flaherty, one of the most renowned neuroscientists researching creativity has an answer for us. Another ingredient, that’s very important for us to be creative is dopamine: The more dopamine that is released, the more creative we are, she says:

“People vary in terms of their level of creative drive according to the activity of the dopamine pathways of the limbic system.”

This graphic shows beautifully how dopamine gets taken up by certain brain areas which then get increasingly active and trigger more creative wanderings:

 

Typical triggers for events, that make us feel great and relaxed and therefore give us an increased dopamine flow are taking a warm shower, exercising, driving home, etc. The chances of having great ideas then are a lot higher.

Still, that’s not all there is to it. Dopamine alone, which gets triggered in hundreds of events, where we aren’t very creative, can’t be the only reason. Another crucial factor is a distraction, says Harvard researcher Carson:

“In other words, a distraction may provide the break you need to disengage from a fixation on the ineffective solution.’’

Especially if you have thought long and hard all day about a problem, jumping into the shower can turn into what scientist call the “incubation period” for your ideas. The subconscious mind has been working extremely hard to solve the problems you face and now that you let your mind wander, it can surface and plant those ideas into your conscious mind.

Lastly, after you have received an influx in dopamine, can be easily distracted by an extremely habitual task like showering or cooking, a relaxed state of mind is absolutely important to be creative, says Jonah Lehrer:

“Why is a relaxed state of mind so important for creative insights? When our minds are at ease–when those alpha waves are rippling through the brain–we’re more likely to direct the spotlight of attention inward, toward that stream of remote associations emanating from the right hemisphere. In contrast, when we are diligently focused, our attention tends to be directed outward, toward the details of the problems we’re trying to solve. While this pattern of attention is necessary when solving problems analytically, it actually prevents us from detecting the connections that lead to insights. ‘That’s why so many insights happen during warm showers,’ Bhattacharya says. ‘For many people, it’s the most relaxing part of the day.’ It’s not until we’re being massaged by warm water, unable to check our e-mail, that we’re finally able to hear the quiet voices in the backs of our heads telling us about the insight. The answers have been their all along–we just weren’t listening.”

So this seems to be the magic combination: If you are in a relaxed state of mind, easy to distract and full of dopamine, your brain is most likely to give you your best, most creative ideas.

 

3 most successful ways to capture your creative spirit

From all the research I have read, this is the most important thing to take away I found: Every day, everyone of us is extremely creative. The trick is not to optimize for how to spark your creative spirit. The trick is to make sure you capture it, whenever it happens.

Instead of looking for better ways to brainstorm or otherwise come up with ideas, the key is to not let go of the tiny, fragile ones, once they enter our heads.

Here are some of the best ways that some of the most successful people manage to capture their ideas:

Keep a notebook with you at all times, even in the shower

This is by far, the most successful technique to capture more of your creativity every day: a simple notepad. What is extremely difficult, is to keep a notepad with you at all times. If even Richard Branson forgets ideas as quickly as they enter his head, how can we expect to be any different. For that exact reason writing everything down, even if doesn’t seem that important at the time is absolutely crucial says Drew Hansen:

“Don’t judge [your ideas] at this stage, either. There’s a reason they occurred to you this way.”

With that, the emphasis really lies on “all times”. It is easy to bring a notepad to the office or have it lying on our desk. Yet, that’s not when our most creative moments happen. Here are some of the areas where we typically forget to keep a notepad:

  • In your car
  • In the gym
  • Whilst Running
  • While grocery shopping
  • In the shower

These are some of the most typical activities where our creative moments happen, capturing them then and there is absolutely crucial. As for the shower, don’t worry, I recently discovered Acqua notes as a great way to capture your ideas:

Plan disengagement and distraction: The outer – inner technique

Similar to what Shelly Carson from Harvard called “the incubation” period, I’m using a technique that has greatly helped me to capture this. I call it the “outer-inner” technique.

I generally start my day with the most important task for Buffer in the morning. Say this is a blogpost:

I will do all the research, jot down notes into my word editor and not worry at all about the actual blogpost. That is the first outer task. Then I have a few inner task follow. I will respond to emails, might have a brief chat with the team and do other tasks. Then, towards the end of my day, I get back to the second half of the outer task. I would sit down and then actually write the article, edit pieces and put into publishable form.

The amazing thing that happens is that even I don’t work on the blogpost during my inner tasks, my subconscious brain does. It will do all the work, and then gradually present the solutions to me when I get back to working on it later on.

 

Overwhelm your brain: Make the task really hard

Another very well researched technique is to overwhelm your brain. Have you ever started to work on a task, where you quickly realised was insanely hard and you will most likely fail solving it? Keep working on it says Robert Epstein.

If you are a programmer, try to solve something you’ve never attempted before and always thought you can only do a lot later in your career, as a writer, write a piece longer then you think you can write. Your brain will be put in a shock situation and naturally engage more of your creative area then it normally would. And although you might not succeed at the task at first, you will find that other tasks will come a lot easier through your increased brain activity then.

 

Quick last fact: “The left side of our brain manages creativity” myth

Ever since I went to elementary school, I was taught that “For creativity, use your left side of the brain!” Fortunately, that is not at all true:

“In the 1970s, based on studies of split-brain patients, the idea that the right hemisphere “controlled” creativity became very popular, especially in the public’s imagination. This model is now considered overly simplistic and outdated.”

Instead, creativity happens in multiple areas all across our brain, best aligned with the 3D model you can see above.

I tried to bust as many of the common myths around creativity above as possible and I’m sure there is lots more that you’ve discovered in the past! What are your best tips for working creatively? I’d love your thoughts in the comments.

  • http://wehaveaghost.com/ WE HAVE A GHOST

    fascinating….

    • LeoWid

      indeed! :)

  • Dawn

    Great article and well researched.

    • LeoWid

      Hey Dawn, glad you liked it! :)

  • http://twitter.com/AvidCareerist Donna Svei

    I just added a link to this article to my Buffer.

    • LeoWid

      Awesome Donna, glad it was interesting! :)

  • http://twitter.com/LorienGreen Lorien Green

    All of this rings completely true. I have my best ideas during my morning drive, or when I TRY to take a quick nap. Probably also why I have a hard time getting to sleep at night? Does this tie into the brain “racing” when some people try to fall asleep?

    • LeoWid

      Hi Lorien, thanks for the great comment and yes, I think that makes a lot of sense. As you quiet down and get rid of any possible things to do, your subconscious emerges and gives you the best ideas you were already looking for.

      As for having a hard time getting to sleep, I had a similar problem. What helped me the most was a sleep ritual. So there are several steps I take so that I’m calmed down enough to fall asleep: I take a shower, then I meditate, then I read. Then falling a sleep is super easy, maybe something similar helps?

  • http://www.musings.it/ Federica

    Completely true! I work as a web developer and I have my best ideas and usually find the best solution for a problem after a 30 min run or taking the shower or while cooking for dinner. And I noticed that the more difficult the problem is, the more is unlikely for me to solve it while sitting at my desk. I’m really glad that there is a scientific explanation for this, thanks for the article!

  • http://twitter.com/chrislema Chris Lema

    This article is one of the few on practical neuroscience findings that is both interesting and accurate – well done! I know when I first learned about this dynamic it changed how I sent my staff on vacation. Now, right before they leave, I share with them the challenges we’re going to tackle when they get back. I do this so that while they’re relaxing, enjoying their distractions, and filled with Dopamine, they might casually solve all our problems. So far the results have been mixed but the few times it’s worked, it’s been fantastic!

    • LeoWid

      Hi Chris, I appreciate the kind words, thanks so much! And that is an awesome idea! I had never thought about that, I think I’ll try a similar thing and nail down all of our challenges before I take a break or someone else on the team does. Do keep me posted how this works out in the long run for you! :)

    • mica

      Post hoc, ergo propter hoc. It may be a placebo, unless the few times it’s worked have been exceptionally insightful or out of the ordinary, but it’s still a neat idea.

    • http://sidsavenue.blogspot.com/ Sid

      Thats an interesting approach and worth a try…

  • http://www.sociallysorted.com.au/ Donna Moritz

    Great post Leo – I have been looking for a showerproof notepad, so that’s great! I actually wrote about the shower phenomenon (thought not from as much of a scientific standpoint – loved your inclusion of neuroscience in this post) re the idea of “grounding” which I try to do regularly and get my feet on the earth or in water. Here is the guest post I did for a friend http://www.angelahemming.com/2012/10/tools-of-trade-donna-moritz-social_31.html as when I ground myself (on the beach or in water) the ideas come thick and fast. I need to attach one of those things to the end of a swimming pool lane as well. But the shower and beach seem to be the best for “ideas” for me! I will be thinking about when and where it happens more after reading this post!

  • http://www.chaplainmike.com/ Mike Hansen

    My simple exercise at this season of my life is walking. And yes, I have had creative ideas show up while walking-but my walking also includes audio books and podcasts. I am beginning to wonder if always listening to something in the earbuds might work against creativity while walking. But then, I look forward to walking precisely because I have those things to listen to!

    I do appreciate this article-thanks for sharing!

    • http://twitter.com/Eggomaister Eggo

      Hi Mike.
      I find external chatter distracts me when considering a creative project. Unasaulting music without lyrics is fine. External dialogue interrupts my creative thoughts. So it’s off with the radio to concentrate on my thoughts only.

    • http://wendytellsall.com/ wendy tells all

      I agree that other people’s words competing with my own thoughts takes my focus. But, working in a home office, I find the silence also kills my focus. I usually listen to classical or other non jarring or lyriced music. Recently just discovered http://www.focusatwill.com which claims to use similar neuroscience principles to play music to help you focus. I am trying it out now!

  • http://www.facebook.com/theirmind Feng Chi Tsai

    Yes! That it is true, are the inspiration of my writing there arises spontaneously.

  • LizzieBee

    Thanks for the shower tip. That’s the last place I don’t have covered. Otherwise, I always record the ideas or write them down. I have iProRecorder on all my portable devices, which will record hours of conversation and all you have to do is move it to desktop during sync operation.

  • http://twitter.com/kevwrex Kevin Reid

    Fantastic post, Leo. Thank you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/susan.jensen.9210 Susan Jensen

    This makes so much sense. For me, I have come to realize that when trying to come up with an idea or solution, or even try to recall a word or fact, if I relax and focus on something else, it will eventually come to me. I like to think of it as my brain acting like a computer and “searching.” I am not consciously aware of my brain processing the information, but it is. Fascinating!

  • http://twitter.com/billyhuuuumes William Humes

    Really enjoyed this.

  • JesseWojdylo

    So very well written. The ability to do *many* different activities during the daily helps me to be creative at almost all times. If I find myself in a rut I will drive through the University of Chapel Hill or talk a walk through campus. This is very peaceful and it helps me get my mind of work and other things.

    Thanks for this amazing article!

  • John Smith

    You quoted Jonah Lehrer, who I believe should not be trusted. He does know a lot about creativity, since in his book Imagine, he just made things up. His made-up quotes about Bob Dylan got him in trouble. But he also made up a quote from Albert Einstein–“creativity is the residue of time wasted”–that he talked about a lot.

    Why quote Jonah Lehrer’s thoughts? His book Imagine was pulled from the shelves, and he has been in disgrace. When his fabrication and fakery are tolerated by quoting him, it cheapens all the other thoughts in your article.

  • Darcy Zalewski

    I get lots of ideas while falling asleep too or even doing laundry. It’s amazing what can happen when you let your mind wander! And the overwhelming your brain part – I think that’s why I write so well under last minute deadline pressure.

    • DANICA G

      me too, great ideas come before actually falling into sleep

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mark-Kudlick/100001350672112 Mark Kudlick

    And so the expression “let me sleep on it” fits for me. I’ve had so many ‘aha!’ moments in the shower the next morning, I’ve lost count. So, is it the fact that I’ve ‘slept on it’ and the shower just happened to occur shortly after waking up? I’m thinking it’s a combination. If I don’t take a shower right away… just laying there in bed doesn’t do it for me. If I take that shower hours later… nothing. Ah but the combination of waking up and performing that ritual shower, each move well practiced and performed without thinking…. when suddenly a particular problem gets solved.

  • Dean Waters

    One of the other great aspects of showering is the not-quite-random physical stimulation, both auditory and physical, from the rushing water. Baths are great, but I find a shower is even more insulating from the world. Ocean waves, wind in the trees and rushing streams also provide this kind of highly complex stimulus which pleasantly overwhelms and pacifies the more controlling aspects of my psyche … And makes me smile, too!

  • http://twitter.com/Idan_Meir Idan Meir

    Thanks a lot Leo !
    One of your best ones!

  • elspain

    i always think a lot in the shower its where i came up with my site http://www.greatides4you.com
    think sing poss its because your in a place free from distractions and you always feel good in a shower.

  • Badri

    I have experienced this many times but did not know why. You have given me an explanation. Its not just the shower but any direct contact with nature that triggers creativity. I have shared this in my post http://badrirag.wordpress.com/2011/12/17/this-works-wonders-for-me-try-it-out/

  • mvandamme

    Hey Leo,

    I applaud you on sharing academical knowledge in a pleasant and readable way. I’m myself a scientific creativity researcher. There’s more than 30 years of research on creativity and innovation, but it seems to be stuck in academical circles. I’m also trying to translate this evidence based knowledge to the practical world and i support every initiative that does get this knowledge out there. I wrote a blog about this once: http://www.whiteboardmag.com/malcolm-gladwell-and-the-belly-burners-of-innovation/

    However, be careful with who you quote. For example, it has been proven over and over that relaxation is actually bad for creativity. Instead, activation is the key to be creativity (e.g. Dr Dreu, Baas en Nijstad, 2008). If you want to be creative you have to be in an activated mood. It doesn’t matter if it’s a positive or negative mood, as long as it is activating. For example being happy (positive, activating) or frustrated (negative, activating) is good for creativity. But being sad (negative, not-activating) or relaxed (positive, not-activating) is bad for creativity. So, if you want to brainstorm, see that you’re activated.
    Incubation has indeed been shown to be effective. Taking a break is good, but on the condition that you’re doing a distracting task that keeps you cognitively activated (and not relaxed).

    If you’re interested in more evidence based knowledge on creativity, you can contact me. There’s loads of it… It’s my job:)

    Michaël

    • E

      “For example being happy (positive, activating) or frustrated (negative,
      activating) is good for creativity. But being sad (negative,
      not-activating) or relaxed (positive, not-activating) is bad for
      creativity. So, if you want to brainstorm, see that you’re activated.”
      It can’t really be as simplistic as this sounds, can it?

      • mvandamme

        Here’s the abstract of the meta analysis. It’s based on 102 effect sizes.

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18954157

        If you interpreted relaxation in that way, that’s great. But the author refers to increasing alpha waves. To increase alpha waves, is actually to relax with your eyes closed. That’s why I interpreted relaxation as I did. And sure, it’s possible that you will get activated or in a pleasant mood due to a relaxation exercise. I intended to clear out the underlying mechanism.

        If the article bears the title ‘the science of creativity’, I believe it’s important to use scientific sources. That’s the point I’m trying to make.

        It’s not my intention at all to be patronizing in any way and I’m sorry if I came across like that. I’m very passionate about the science behind creativity. I’m working with these kind of scientific findings on a daily basis. I realize that we have a big communication problem as scientists and that our knowledge is stuck in academical circles. So I’m really glad with this article and I’m simply offering my help. I want to support spreading this knowledge. And there really is loads of it. More than 30 years of research on creativity and innovation. So, it was meant as a supporting remark, not as a patronizing one… hope it’s more clear now.

    • E

      You know. I, too, am acutely aware that creativity is highly associated with states of arousal and loss of inhibition; energy, excitement (to a degree.) Perhaps this is what the article means by “relaxation.” Maybe “relaxation” includes fun, positive activities in free-time and a high degree of distraction DUE TO enjoyable activity and mental energy.

      Sure, drowsy, lazy days and a lack of energy may not be so stimulating for the creative mind. I don’t see anywhere that author implies that, either.

      I guess, in short, the type of “relaxation” necessary for creativity was never explicitly and operationally defined for us.

      “If you’re interested in more evidence based knowledge on creativity, you can contact me. There’s loads of it… It’s my job:)”

      I think you seem just a bit condescending.

    • Ben

      I am interested to learn more about your field of research. With whom would you suggest I make contact?

  • Amelia Critchlow

    going for a long walk and letting my mind wander freely. Listen to the ideas that pop in to my head in that sleepy time just before waking properly. Carrying a notebook in my bag with me at ALL times to capture, capture (I sleep with it next to my bed too). Intriguing post. thanks.

  • Andrew Smart

    great post: i discuss these findings and importance of being idle for creativity in my forthcoming book on OR books: http://www.artandscienceofdoingnothing.com/

  • mica

    Dear Leo Widrich,

    In science, it is improper to say that something has been “proven,” even with qualifiers like “hopefully.”

    ~mica

  • http://twitter.com/taxtorpedo Robert A. Kearse

    GREAT article. One resource for retaining your great ideas that flash in your head is http://Evernote.com
    This FREE software can be downloaded to your computer, but there is also an online account. This means you can synchronize the content in both places.
    Since most people these days have Internet access through their cell phones, you can access your online Evernote account and record your idea there. No pen or paper necessary.

    • Alan77

      although pen and paper is far more effective as its easier to draw, to link, to write in diferent sizes and colours.

    • http://billock.net BrentBillock

      I LOVE Evernote for songwriting. It’s so easy to capture a snippet of lyrics, and since you can attach a recording, it’s also excellent for recording melodic ideas.

  • Luis

    Seems to be useful info i knew i got my ideas while relaxed butv didnt take note of them

  • jordanayres

    I’m adding this to my Friday Links blog post tomorrow Leo :) It’s a very well-researched (and well-written) article. I think everyone can learn something from it. Also, I find I’m really ‘creative’ just as I’m about to nap, so I’m always springing out of bed to write something down.

  • http://twitter.com/Mark_AnthoNYC Mark-Anthony Smith

    This is why I absolutely love my Galaxy Note 2, and no I’m not advertising it.

    I’m simply saying that it solves the problem of always having a pen and notepad around. Instead of doing that, which is impractical, I simply use my cellphone which is always on me anyway.

    I’m always writing down potential business ideas on my phone. And typing doesn’t feel the same, I don’t think it captures that creativity in a particular moment as well as the motion of physically writing.

  • http://sidsavenue.blogspot.com/ Sid

    I am a regular reader of Buffer blog and I find the posts very interesting and useful…
    Everybody talks about getting up early, but nobody says how to cultivate this habit. I thought you will have some research based facts to help many people like me who try to defeat sleep in the morning but fail to do so…

  • http://twitter.com/dougklozzner Doug Klozzner

    I’m a professional screenwriter. This is all true, true. Been waiting for this article. Well done. I will share.

  • http://twitter.com/GarSpecialties Garrett Specialties

    I have never really thought about having creative ideas in the shower. I do find that my creative ideas come when I am in bed. Which has a large impact on not sleeping. I am busy during the day, but when I get into the bed I am relaxed. I have taken to keeping a notebook by my bed so that when the ideas pop into my mind I write it down and then move on. If not I think about all night and the next day I am drained. You wrote an interesting piece on the brain

    RudeeG

  • E

    I, for one, find it a bit hilarious. This author seemed to have hooked up and studied the brain of a guy who freestyle rapped for him so he could see what parts of his brain lit up. It’s been quite a while since I’ve been made so aware of the Whiteness of the field of Western psychology. Young man, I apologize for that being my only input of today.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sheila.oranch Sheila Oranch

    If it has not already been mentioned, Arthur Koestler’s book, The Act of Creation, (Arkana)
    [Paperback] was an omnibus on creativity in which he studied the breakthrough stories of many famous inventors, scientists, musicians, etc. In every case, the illuminating vision came when the person had been pushing hard and saturated with data and then fell asleep, took a nap, rode on a train or went sailing (doing something completely irrelevant). When the “forebrain” relaxed, the rest of the brain was released or allocated the energy to put the pieces together. Likewise, Colin Wilson’s book, Frankenstein’s Castle, is a study of how to release one’s inner creative energy. What I LIKE about your article is the easy-to-follow explanation of why it happens this way. Humans have been smart and observant for a very long time, but only recently have we had the science/technology to study the mechanisms by which such things happen. Thank you!

  • David Dubree

    The shower absolutely rules! Most problems are solved while the steam is thick.

  • http://notes.sudhirwarrier.com/ Sudhir K

    Good read with science facts behind creativity as well. Sometimes, I find it is useful to doodle on a sheet of paper to jump start out of a creative block. Some forms of background music, without lyrics also helps me.

  • Zinga

    I always find ideas and solutions for others when they tell me their stories.
    But when it comes to me, I chose the wrong idea or solution: (

  • http://ladyquartermaine.wordpress.com/ Angela Westell

    It’s amazing how we all seem to have this sort of ‘Ureka effect’ in the bath or whilst rushing with the lasagne at teatime.A very good memory and a good strict unswayed list to look up something contributary that adds something of both useful not only to yourself but the internet at large

  • http://www.tanyamarlow.com/ Tanya Marlow

    Love this! I recently wrote a post which began ‘I believe I have a muse and she lives in the shower.’ –
    http://eloranicole.com/blog/kymtheprocess
    Your article has just explained why! Just shared this on Twitter.

  • Alan77

    The myth is based on the right side of the brain for creativity.

  • Quincey Morrison

    Leo,
    This is the first time I’ve been on your blog. I was referred to this article on creativity by a friend and it’s GREAT, man. I’ve always been seen by others as a very creative person, and loved the part of your piece about distraction being a catalyst to creativity. It is so very true. While I cycle or mow the yard, or do anything that is routine and repetitive is when I have my best artistic ideas. I’ve noticed that for me the activity must be something useful or valuable, but at the same time automatic. It seems that when I (and I suspect others) are doing something we subconsciously know to be useful and worthy of our time (driving, cooking, exercise, cleaning house), we ALLOW ourselves to relax our minds, to let go of any anxious or busy thoughts of the mundane, and to therefore enter in to the creative ZONE uninhibited and guiltless. We are taught all our lives to not let our minds wander, to not daydream, to keep our minds on the daily tasks and responsibilities that we heir to as busy, pragmatic, post-modern humans. So perhaps we are conditioned to feel a bit of guilt when we gather wool. But the practicality of our task allows us to feel free to enter into “The Flow”.

  • Metal Head

    MESSILES ABSOLUTE WARS: 1010101010: Metal Head:

  • http://willpowerstudios.com/ WILLPOWER STUDIOS

    Negative ions in the water create a balance to a body overly charged with positive ions due to a modern lifestyle.

  • Ben

    This is excellent! If for no other reason than the reassurance it gives me that I am not alone in my complete inability to do anything useful when I sit down to focus on a task. Instead, I find that Walking, Driving, Showering, Ironing, Washing Dishes, Shining Shoes all shift my brain into its creative ‘gear’. I’m currently trialing Chinese Baoding Balls as a background activity to engage in whilst sat at my computer in an effort to artificially stimulate the part of my brain that is responsible for creativity. Does anybody else have any similar practices or suggestions?

  • TS

    It would be nice to have a list of references at the bottom so people can follow up the studies and arguments made in text.

  • George Sheety

    A brilliant way to capture your creative ideas in the shower…http://prefundia.com/projects/view/hoyo/558/

  • Chuck Scifers

    I enjoyed the article. Regarding the increase in creativity while showering, have you considered the fact that the negative – ons environment produced within the shower also increase the production of dopamine, as well as Serotonin?

    Chuck Scifers

  • Chris Marabate

    Just order my Aqua Notes, thanks I get all my best ideas in the shower!

  • GiantUglyBagofMostlyWater

    Try ARE YOU CREATIVE? 60 MODELS—-there is NO one way to be creative and detechment states work only in a long sequence of non-detached and engagement intensification steps—-CREATIVITY is NOT ONE PROCESS. I have listed 4000 books on creativity under Richard Tabor Greene’s favorite books on scribd.com—read them all then re-write the article. If the number 4000 daunts you, then you will never be very creative in any field—people without knowledge can be cutsy but not creative in any lasting historical sense.

    • Entaowed

      Whaaaaa? 4000 books daunts almost everyone, & many folks are very creative-allegedly everyone in certain contexts-so that is not a logical statement. It also does not make sense to imply one needs to read a a tremendous number of books to either be creative or have a lot of knowledge. Knowledge can aid or the focus on it can obstruct the creative process, but nobody needs obsessive focus-that would take a substantial chunk of their life to get through-to be very knowledgeable, Not “cutsy”, nor what you meant, just”cutely”.

  • Kamile Ko

    Thats a good explanation :) But I don’t know why, all of the greatest ideas of mine, came during the theatre performances or concerts. Maybe it stimulates my brain in such a way, that I am already an Einstein! :))) For those who have the same experience I can suggest to visit these events- koncertai , because the greatest minds came then :)

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  • Quiet Writer

    A lot in this blog resonates with me. I often find that when I’m stuck on a problem, or even trying to remember a word, the solution comes within minutes of giving up, as if the brain’s finally able to make the right connections once it isn’t being forced. As for what works for creativity, the physical act of writing plays a part – I can’t ‘think’ directly onto a computer. Sometimes having a favourite, non-intrusive album playing in the background helps, as does playing the piano – albeit badly. Unfortunately, messing around on social media doesn’t!

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  • art

    When I am awake my creativity is very limited. I have noticed recently that during my transition from sleep to waking I have a flood of ideas. This can take the form of amazing stories , jokes, etc.. I am awake enough to know this is happening at the time. It is frustrating to know what our minds are capable of but not be able to safely duplicate it while awake.

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  • http://hubskills.com/ Partha Bhattacharya

    Thanks Leo for this wonderful article. The main takeaway in my opinion is to have a notepad with you always. I’ve had the chance of meeting a couple of talented personas in recent times. Both carry notepads all the time, and surprisingly the notepads are full of countless scribbles which only they could make sense of.

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