Bored and Brilliant

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Under what conditions does creativity thrive?

That’s a question that has been asked by most people engaged in a creative activity, particularly if they’ve gone through a slump.

There’s a theory that creativity happens in the blank spaces, when your mind has nothing else to do. When you mind “wanders,” it’s really keeping itself occupied, thinking things over, making things up.

It’s that whole “I get my best ideas in the shower / on the toilet / while I’m doing dishes / while I’m folding the laundry / on my commute” notion.

While I’M doing those things, I’m listening to music or podcasts, or playing mindless games on my phone. Recent research says I should have been doing nothing at all. I should have been allowing myself to be bored.

I’ve had a sneaking suspicion this was the case. Where do ideas fit in to a life crammed to the breaking point with stimulus, with things to occupy every waking second?

So when NPR’s New Tech City program reported that they were starting a series called “Bored and Brilliant,” my ears perked up.

The first step is to download an iPhone app called Moment, which tells you how often and for how long you access your iPhone (35 minutes so far today). If you sign up on the app, you can participate in New Tech City’s experiment, and they’ll see your phone data.

The series officially begins February 2. I’ll report on my progress here, but I’d love if any of my readers would join me. Who’s in? Check out the promo and comment if you’re interested. Heck, comment anyway!

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One thought on “Bored and Brilliant

  1. Christopher Caz

    In the “information consumer / information producer” conflict, information consumerism is winning. I’m a huge phone whore, so my mind produces very little. Thank you, Brad, for providing yet one more reminder for me to change the direction of my brainwaves to flow outward rather than inward.

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