The Shower Principle


Do you brush your teeth in the shower? I formerly did, but had to stop as somebody I lived with complained about the mess. It’s good anyway because showering should be showering and brushing teeth should be brushing teeth. Then again, sometimes a strange thing can happen when you do something mundane.

I was brushing my teeth when an idea hit me. Then another. And another. Of the first two ideas, one is thus far unwritten and the other is a hotter take than the nuclear war Trump may be escalating towards. I may well not write this hot take, but we’ll see what the demand is like. The third of these ideas was about how I came up with so many ideas while doing something basic.

From the cursory research, it appears the Shower Principle is an episode of 30 Rock. That would explain where I got it as I love that show. The principe is simple; doing something which requires no thought or effort is a great time to come up with new ideas as it allows different parts of your brain to work. It enables your higher processing centres to creatively solve a problem. It’s essentially a eureka moment that comes out of nowhere, a bolt from the blue. One minute you’re  brushing your teeth, and the next minute you’re running through to the living room with toothpaste froth pouring out the corners of your mouth as you scrabble for a pen to write them all down. They flow fast.

The Shower Principle is quite hard to verify scientifically, mostly because it sounds like bullshit. How can showering transform a person into an ideal problem solver? Well, perhaps it doesn’t work for everybody. Maybe you need to have the right type of thinking to initiate it. Think about Newton lying against a tree reading and thinking about science. The famous apple comes down and bonks him on the head. So he develops gravity and the laws of movement based on this one apple, in one of the most intricate revenge tales ever.


How do you like them apples?

It’s a nice story, and it sounds like a variation of the Shower Principle, but it does kind of rely on Newton knowing enough  to get him started in the first place, He was already open to the idea that the universe could be measured and verified and he just needed a question to try and answer.

“Why do apples hate me?”

These eureka moments when you are doing nothing are a great fantasy, but the thing to remember is that there is a lot of boring work first. I have written things for ages, in diaries and word documents, for university, and all such,  but it is only recently that I began publishing them in good amounts. That work was a necessary step. Now the challenge comes in opening myself to possibilities. I’m so glad some of these come while brushing my teeth. Oral hygiene is important.

So, today’s message, today’s story: open yourself to finding ideas in weird places. You never know what might just fall into your lap. If you write, grand, think often, write down all your ideas, develop them. If you’re a musician, listen to the sounds around you and see if any of them tickle your fancy. If you’re a photographer you are probably already used to using the world as your paint palette but do this more. If you do something else, take all of this analogy and apply it to your individual pursuit. If you open yourself to thinking you will be very happy with the result.

Part pretentious and part delusional, the author of this particular piece is currently writing a new item every day of this month and right now is writing entirely in the third-person. It’s a blast.



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