Shower thoughts

I don't take walks to burn calories or stay healthy, I take walks to get within walking distance of being smart. When there's a problem to be solved, walking a ways while carrying a spiral-ring notebook and a pen raises my IQ by fifty points. I'll stop once or twice every block to write something down. Whatever thoughts come along as I'm walking, might or might not solve the problem I was walking to solve, but it's likely worth writing down. Even this half-assed entry I'm typing — it's no PhD thesis but it's astute by my standards, and it started on a walk, as a scribbled one-line note to myself.

Why do my brightest ideas strike while I'm doing dull things?

In the bathroom and kitchen, I keep waterproof paper and write-anywhere pens near the sink. Sure enough, almost every morning in the shower, I'll reach out and write something down. Same every fifth day when it's time to wash the dishes. Cooking warms up my mind, too. And sometimes my light bulb comes on when I'd rather it didn't, as I'm trying to go to sleep. To a lesser extent, but occasionally, inspiration strikes while I'm driving, and I'll pull over and jot a cryptic note to myself onto whatever shred of paper is within reach. Boredom makes me less dumb.

Nothing half-clever ever pops into my mind at work, and I have nothing to say in meetings, or if I do say something it's usually stupid. Surfing the internet, for me, is about reading and writing and watching videos, but there's never a eureka moment in any of that.

Anyone else experience this weird mental phenomenon, where your brain is at its best when you're basically bored? I'm wondering if there's a word for it, and wishing there was a switch I could flip to make my mind work better, even when I'm not thinking of nothing.



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