Why do all our good ideas come to us in the shower?

The other day I was on a networking call, and one of the participants said, “I wish I could find a way to keep my journal in the shower since that is where all my best ideas come.” 


Every single one of the nine other participants nodded their heads and had their own stories about running naked out of the shower to find somewhere to record their thoughts.


I admit there have been times that I, too, have stopped mid-shampoo to grab a piece of paper to quickly jot down the “next big” idea!


After the call, I couldn’t stop thinking about that comment. Why is it that all our good ideas come in the shower?  


I sat there quietly for ten minutes, thinking about all the reasons why we do our best thinking in the shower. Is there some magic in the act of taking a shower, the feeling of the water trickling down your back? Oh wait, maybe it’s the pounding water on our heads that stimulates our thinking? No, probably not.


Then… the phone buzzed.  


And my train of thought was gone.


Later that day, when I took my dog, Yogi, out, I could not find my headphones. This was a problem because walking Yogi and listening to podcasts go hand and hand!  


But, since we were only going around the block, there was no podcast this time.


Suddenly – BOOM – in the quiet of the walk, my mind wandered. I couldn’t get home quickly enough to write down the “next big” idea.


AH… it’s not the shower; it’s the QUIET.  


We do our best thinking in the QUIET.


Of course, this epiphany led me to do some research (as I am often prone to do)! 


I discovered a study done on mind-wandering and creativity. The human mind has a natural tendency to wander, often drifting away from immediate tasks and engaging in self-generated thoughts. This mental state, known as mind-wandering, tends to occur when individuals are in a quiet and relatively undistracted environment. 


The study found a fascinating correlation between mind-wandering and creative thinking. Suggesting that when the mind is allowed to roam freely, it can lead to unconventional and innovative thought patterns. Taking time for quiet reflection and letting our minds wander can boost creative thinking. 


Allowing our thoughts to roam freely opens the door to unique ideas, fresh connections, and new perspectives that can be used for creative activities like problem-solving, generating ideas, and, yes, writing college essays!


So if your kid has a hard time coming up with something to write about in their college essay or answering the dreaded “Why Do You Want to Apply to College X” question, suggest that they take a walk – no phone, no distractions, just be in the quiet. 


I bet they just might come up with a few ideas halfway around the block.


And if they don’t want to go for a walk, a shower just might do the trick!


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