I wanted to call this post Why I Stopped Singing In The Shower, but my wife reminded me that my singing is so bad that I shouldn’t even mention that I used to belt out the Cheers Theme Song twice a day. Instead, I’m stuck with this title.
The idea for this post came to me while I was in the shower. According to science, there’s a reason for that. This article is an excellent explanation of why this happens. For those of you, that didn’t read it, it has to do with the fact that our subconscious mind works best while our conscious mind is busy doing something else. This sounds to me like a ringing endorsement of my post from yesterday about finding Central Park.
Those of us that have stared at an empty screen waiting for creativity to strike know the frustration of writers block. (It happens to speakers too.) The key then seems to be to be ready when lightning does strike, but this is easier said than done. Here my list of rules for finding my next great idea:
Don’t Force It. If you’re walking into the shower or driving around or any other activity that requires your attention with the intention of having a brilliant thought, it will not work. Only by engaging your conscious mind in a task will your creativity flash before you. You have to try easier, not harder.
Mind Dump. There’s great power in getting everything out of our heads. All of those little incomplete tasks that you’re burning mental energy remembering are much better off kept on a list. It saves room to be more creative.
Capture it. If I’m lucky enough to have an idea, I have to get it before it’s gone. I’ll admit that this has been tough for me. I pride myself on my fantastic memory and never saw the need for writing things down. Then I understood the value that capturing ideas actually has; it makes room for more ideas! I keep a white board in my bedroom to get those shower ideas and my phone with me at the gym or when driving so that nothing escapes uncollected.
Have a Process. If you capture your brilliant idea, it has no value until you do something with it. Develop a process to unpack those voice notes you took while driving, the keep list you made between sets or the whiteboard nugget you captured while dripping wet. There has to be a way of determining what’s a great idea and what’s just a thought. Develop one.
Act On It! If there’s an idea that got captured and a process to sort the great from the not so great, act on it! Get it on the screen and flesh it out. That’s when the magic happens. Creativity plus effort equal brilliance. You just have to find yours.
The best ideas come when we stop looking for them. It just takes some effort to turn them into something worth sharing. I’ve given you my rules, what are yours?