Why is it that we have our best ideas in the shower? Simple. It’s one of the few times when our brain is allowed to wander on its own. There is no focus, there are no distractions. Off it goes and it often goes to pretty cool places, places that it wouldn’t go in the midst of the hubbub of our daily lives. It’s a similar phenomenon to the idea of walking away from a problem (temporarily), i.e. if you can’t figure something out that you’ve been staring at for a while, walk away from it; chances are you come back with a good idea.

I’ve realized for myself the power of passive thinking for a while now, but had a nice illustration of it this morning in school. I was all set to intro Dante to my senior Medieval Lit class today. I was sitting at the desk in the room, getting the technology going, and in that three minutes or so my brain wandered and in that three minutes or so I came up with a much better plan for the class. Now part of the process was that I already had a plan; I wasn’t nervous about not having a plan, so my brain could wander. Were I worried about the class, the brain could not have wandered. But it did, and the resulting plan was much better.

So give it a shot. Let the brain wander. Be willing to listen to it. And you might be surprised by what you come up with.