by Stephen Meltzer
It is fairly common knowledge that one’s best ideas come when in the shower. In fact, when I Googled the idea, I hit on a number of posts discussing the phenomenon (see here, here, here and here) and even an Inc. Magazine article. The theory, in short, is that you get your best ideas while relaxed and while not bombarded by other external stimuli.
The shower is just fine, I’ve had my share of good ideas in the shower. I find, however, that because the shower is a part of a whole line-up in a daily routine, the ideas from the shower are more pedestrian in nature. That is, they are organizational and help me fit the day’s pieces together so that I can make sense out of what I’ve been through, or what I will be facing.
On the other hand, while walking through the woods the other day, I was experiencing some idea whoppers. Big ideas, big impact items. These kinds of ideas can only come from a walk in nature. My theory is that, when in natural surroundings (that is, relatively unspoiled by the human touch), we are at once relaxed, our thought processes are trending away from the complex and toward basic instinct, and we are forced to be humbled by the vastness and wonder around us and our place in it.
If you want to order your everyday life and make sense of your tasks, take a shower, the longer and hotter the better. If you want to take it to the next level, take it to the woods.