I thought that this quote from Paul Graham was super true:
I realized recently that what one thinks about in the shower in the morning is more important than I’d thought. I knew it was a good time to have ideas. Now I’d go further: now I’d say it’s hard to do a really good job on anything you don’t think about in the shower.
Specifically that last line:
It’s hard to do a really good job on anything you don’t think about in the shower.
I find this especially true. When you are in the shower, you are effectively captive. Physically, obviously. But importantly mentally. You take your break from social media. From push notifications. From people bugging you for help. You (or at least I) are just standing there…with time to think.
And when your mind is vacant, with no agenda…what is your default?
While you can train your mind to avoid wandering or avoid planning, etc. Many of us jump to ideas as our default. We just start to explore our thoughts. While I try to be present throughout the day, I think that the shower is indeed a good place to let my mind run free. To give my monkey mind some exercise.
Graham goes on to say:
I think most people have one top idea in their mind at any given time. That’s the idea their thoughts will drift toward when they’re allowed to drift freely. And this idea will thus tend to get all the benefit of that type of thinking, while others are starved of it.
One idea at a time is a great point.
As humans, we can really only focus on a few things at a time. But even if we do somehow manage to multi-task, we inevitably have a “favorite” idea or one that we are most excited about.
The trouble, therefore, becomes when we treat one idea with more favoritism to the rest – and that idea sucks. If we choose our favorite idea badly…well, then we have “wasted resources.”
We have wasted shower thoughts.
I think that I am most motivated by ideas I can get really excited about. I find I do my best work when I am excited – so excited – I am thinking about ideas in the shower. Before I go to sleep.
The idea bleeds through my body. I just cannot stop but think about it. Write about it. Journal about it.
Tell people about it.
I think that this is a natural instinct of mine – to obsess over things and actually test them out.
One of my biggest problems, though, is that I am really curious about a ton of things. While this has many advantages, one massive drawback is that I often balance multiple passions and experiments in my head at the same time.
One day…soon…I will have to hone that ability in and really go all-in.