The bathroom is a very powerful part of the house. It is where the pressed find release; where the soiled find cleansing; where the stressed find calm and rest; where the frog-throats sing like birds; and where the insecure feel comfortable in their own skin.
But something even more powerful usually takes place in there: ideas are conceived, ideas that rule the world. I don’t know if it’s the same for you, but most of my best ideas always come to me in the shower. The frustrating part of it all is that I can’t even remember most of them when I’m out the shower. It’s like something steals it away from me once I walk out those doors. It is also hard for me to capture them while I’m in the shower. If I’m lucky enough to remember, then I write down the ideas when I get to my bedroom.
But the question is: why do those ideas come when you’re in the shower? Why do they come so easily and, sometimes, in multiple doses? And you know that they are very good ones, you can feel it! Sometimes, it’s a good article to write, lyrics to a song you’re composing, the perfect answer to a text message you’ve been holding off on replying, or even the name of someone you’ve been racking your brains to remember all day.
I have a theory as to why this happens. Why you get your good ideas in the shower; the shower where you have no paper or pen to capture those good ideas. I don’t know if you would agree with me, but I implore you to give it a thought and see if it makes sense to you.
So, here goes. These are 3 reasons why you get your best ideas in the bathroom.
You Don’t Have Your Phone with You
At least, I would hope that you don’t bathe with your phone or brush your teeth holding your phone. I know that some people do ‘number two’ holding and playing with their phones –I do it too –but I want to believe it’s not something we do often, just because I don’t do it often.
Anyway, the point is that you don’t have any distractions. Our phones are the number one source of distraction these days. It’s as though we are afraid to be by ourselves, so we scroll through our phones in the bedroom, on the bus, standing in line to pay for groceries and even driving in traffic. We give ourselves no time to think, to reflect, and so, no chance for great thoughts and ideas to come to us because we are absorbed in our screens.
In the shower, it’s just you. No phone, no co-worker (hopefully), no noise, no distractions – just you, your soap and water. This is when you are suddenly freed up to think, to reflect on your day, to remember weird things that even make you laugh to yourself in there. This is a blissful time; a time when anything can happen; a time when great thoughts are formed and ideas that could possibly change the world are born.
You Are Relaxed
This is because you are usually focused on one activity. It could be pouring water on yourself, or letting it rain on you from the shower head. It could be emptying your bowels or cleaning your teeth. Whatever it is that you’re doing in there, you’re usually doing it one at a time. You are not multi-tasking.
Multi-tasking robs you of focus, and even happiness, because it increases your stress levels. A stressed brain does not know what to do with a good idea. Chances are that it won’t even recognize it as one.
In the bathroom, what you are doing is ‘living in the moment’, being present, in the right state of mind where you are literally enjoying the activity you’re engaged in. The brain feels very happy and, kind of, rewards you with good ideas.
We hardly get this outside. If we are not distracted by emails and phone calls at work, we distract ourselves with social media when we finally have time to ourselves, or we talk on the phone with our friends and, instead of enjoying the phone conversation alone, we plug in our earphones and scroll through Facebook while talking on the phone at the same time.
Being present in the moment makes you receptive to ideas. You become so focused on the activity you are involved in that you even begin to learn from it. Why do I brush my teeth this way? How does my bowl float in this bucket of water? What makes my droppings float or sink? (Not to be gross).
From asking simple but deep questions like this, we begin to engage in productive thoughts, pick up on basic principles and concepts, and then powerful ideas are born.
You Are Receptive
There’s usually no clutter in the bathroom. Most people have white (or near white) walls, and a few things lying around. This creates a receptive environment for the mind. It eliminates distractions and gives an air of freedom, openness, spaciousness and limitlessness.
Another reason why you are open and receptive in the shower is because you are vulnerable. You are usually naked, except those that bathe with their clothes on. This helps to let your guard down. You’re not thinking about protecting yourself from anyone, you’re not worried about how people perceive you. You may be a bit worried about your body structure for a moment –perhaps you haven’t quite reached your fitness goals. But you know what? At that moment, you are honest with yourself. There’s no one there to justify anything to, there’s no other judge but you.
Being open and honest with yourself is not only the prerequisite for moving from where you are to where you want to be in life, it is also a fertile soil for new ideas to be planted. This is what happens in that magical space of the bathroom when you are naked and all by yourself. You are honest, open and vulnerable. Your mind isn’t guarded and you are not afraid of what people think. You are yourself – usually the most honest version of yourself. And because of that, you will receive ideas that resonate the most with you –with your honest you.
So, the problem now, at least for me, is: I know that my best ideas come to me in the shower, but that is the most difficult place for me to write down, voice-record, or capture my thoughts and ideas in some way. It is difficult because that’s the last place I would keep such capturing instruments.
I am therefore left with two options: Either I keep my pen, writing pad, voice recorder, etc in the bathroom in order to capture those great ideas as they come, or I find a way to create the same environment that I have in the bathroom outside of the bathroom.
The latter means making sure that I eliminate distractions during the day, like using my phone less. It also means that I should find more time to relax, and this is easy to do –it’s just trying as much as possible to focus on one task at a time and quit multi-tasking. This will make my work more enjoyable, less stressful and much more relaxing.
It also means that I should be vulnerable, not walking around naked of course, but being open and honest about myself to my friends, loved ones and even acquaintances. No need to have walls up or pretend to be who I’m not.
I should also de-clutter my environment; make sure I don’t have clothes lying around and papers flying around, in order to be in the right frame of mind, to be receptive.
If I do all of these, the shower will no longer be the only place where I receive my best ideas, but my best ideas will come to me in my other daily activities, and it will be much easier for me to capture them then.
So what do you think of my theory? Does it make sense to you? Do you also get your best ideas in the shower? And how do you try to keep them in memory when you do?
Photo Credit: Warrengoldswain | Dreamstime.com