When I’m speaking on stage or running a programme, one of the first questions I often ask creative professionals is “Where do you have your best ideas?” and one of most frequent answers is always “In the shower.”
Other activities where creative minds can be graced by a brilliant idea are:
“Travelling between work.”
“Going for a walk.”
“Getting a coffee.”
“Listening to music.”
Even sitting on the toilet has been deemed a place for the odd flash of creative genius.
Interestingly, when asking creatives where they tend to have their best ideas, the place that often seems to be missing, or is really low down on the list, is “In the studio.”
The studio is not always the place where an original, fresh idea is born, but it’s often where the idea is nurtured, developed and produced.
Having your best ideas outside of the workplace isn’t something new.
Throughout history there are countless stories of authors, poets, screenwriters and artists being hit by a bolt of inspiration while doodling their ideas on the back of a napkin, beer matt or cigarette packet while frequenting a restaurant, pub or coffee shop.
So what’s this all pointing too? If you’re in an environment that’s not your workplace and you’ve stopped thinking about work projects, then new ideas will pop into your head? Or if you’ve got a pitch approaching at 100 miles-an-hour, you should stop and jump in the shower?
No… that’s not realistic and not very useful when you’re a full-time creative professional with deadlines galore and a ton of responsibilities.
However, if we look deeper into these activities – the shower, the walking, the music, the exercising, the having a coffee – they all have something in common.
They are all experiences that take things off your mind and allow your head to be in a more relaxed and reflective state. They take you away from your everyday thinking, which in turn frees up your mind, leaving more headspace for fresh ideas to arise.
What most people don’t understand is that this state of mind – the cultivator of great ideas – is not actually dependant on your environment or the activity you’re doing, even though it seems like it is.
This state of mind is already inbuilt, it’s your natural state, your default setting when your mind is clear and uncluttered. It’s generated from inside of you, from deep within your consciousness and not from the walk, the coffee, the music or the shower.
To access this much more of the time in the workplace, where you need it the most, you need to go in the opposite direction to your circumstances and activities. You first need to go in the direction of understanding how your own headspace works.