How to Have Good Ideas

December 6, 2020

My good ideas tend to come when I’m taking a shower.

Note that I wrote my good ideas. I get plenty of good ideas from others all the time. But my own good ideas seem to come out of hiding while I’m shampooing my hair.

Or when I’m meditating, for that matter. Meditation and being in the shower have something in common: there aren’t as many external inputs.

You’re just sitting there, paying attention to your senses. Or you’re just standing there, washing your various body parts. There are no notifications, no conversations, no distractions.

I don’t know how exactly the brain generates good ideas. But it’s clear that whatever process causes them—it requires some space.

That might be counterintuitive. If you think of ideas as connections between existing concepts in your brain, you would think more inputs means more connections (= ideas). But that’s apparently not how it works.

To have good ideas, create space.

You could shower more often. But going for walks without your phone is probably a better approach.

And don’t try too hard. Good ideas don’t seem to like that, either.

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