Do You Get Your Best Ideas In the Shower?

Do you get as frustrated as I do when I come up with a great idea and I’m in the shower or taking a walk at the time? What about when you have a great idea at 3 a.m. but just don’t have the ambition to get up and write it down. It seems the best ideas always seem to come when you aren’t in a position to jot them down.

“Everyone who has ever taken a shower has had an idea. It’s the
person who gets out of the shower, dries off, and does something
about it that makes a difference.” – Nolan Bushnell founder of Atari

You get ideas all the time. You think about what we would like for dinner; where you can go to pick up the perfect gift for your wife; or how you want to set up your new den. You brains is hard-wired to keep thinking and processing information. Why then does it seem the best ideas and thoughts seem to come from off-the-wall moments?

The answer really is simple. It’s due to the fact that we are relaxed and allowing creative thoughts to flow.

Our creativity is actually coming from our subconscious. When we are working on a project, or preparing for a special event, our minds are not open to new ideas being formed. We are distracted by what is going on around us. When you are at rest and unwinding — by taking a walk or taking a shower, your creative juices are bursting at the seams to get out of that subconscious mind.

Many people who work in creative arts — writers, artists and even scientists say they get their best ideas when they are not thinking about the problem. Their ideas come from recreational time or working on something unrelated to their work. Albert Einstein used to get away from his work and go to play his violin or a piano. His sister used to say that he almost lost himself in the music, and all of a sudden he would stand up and yell, “Ah Ha! I’ve got it!”

Our conscious and unconscious minds work together as a team — our individual yin and yang.   They work at different levels, and tasks are assigned to them based on their level of strength. The conscious mind is good with analyzing problems and details. The subconscious mind is better at making decisions, looking at the big picture, and being creative. Unfortunately, our conscious mind can interfere at any time and blow off the subconscious. This can put all those creative ideas back in storage, and who knows when we can get another “Ah Ha” moment of your own.

There are ways we can flip on that creative switch in the subconscious. You need to find a way to relax, and for everyone that can be different. Sometimes even sitting down with a cup of coffee can get your brain functions working together. How can we do this?

  • Meditation
  • Creative games
  • Do something repetitive, that you can do without thinking
  • Learn new skills

We don’t realize just how much our subconscious mind has to do with our conscious mind. For example: typing requires you to think of what you want to write, but your subconscious is doing the job of putting your actions into words — literally! When you conscious mind takes over you will actually find yourself slowing down. Think of how much slower you type when you have to think about what keys to press.

We need to allow our subconscious take on more of the imaginative and creative side of the task, and try to stop our conscious mind from taking over until you have a solution — then it can analyze the situation and both sides have done their jobs.

Relaxing opens up your mind to receive new lessons, and processes new ideas. It’s an excellent memory technique, and once that we all should practice much more often. In the meantime, I’m going to finish this story and take a shower.

From the Desk of Ron White


Scott Berkin — Why You Get Your Best Ideas IN the Shower:

Creative — How to Boost Your Unconscious Creativity:

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