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  • We might suppose that the best place to think would be a large room with a big desk, plenty of natural light and a window with a view, perhaps onto water or a park.

  • This is the premise behind the layout of most offices.

  • The nearer one gets to the top of the organization, the closer one's work station will approximate to this supposed ideal

  • in tribute to the quality of thinking that, ideally, one would do there.

  • Bosses tend to have big desks and even larger views.

  • But these assumption are notin factreally true to the way our minds work.

  • The primary obstacle to good thinking is not a cramped desk or an uninteresting horizon.

  • It is, first and foremost, anxiety.

  • Often the most profound thoughts we need to grapple with have a potentially disturbing character.

  • If we were to pinpoint them accurately and get clear about their significance, there could be a risk.

  • We might discover that some of our past, rather cherished, beliefs were not as wise as we'd supposed;

  • we might realize we were previously deeply wrong about something;

  • we might have to make some significant and tricky changes to our lives.

  • As these potential implications start to come vaguely into view, our inner censor, motivated by a desire for calm rather than growth, gets alarmed.

  • A vigilant part of the self gets agitated; it distracts us, it makes us feel tired or gives us a strong need to go online.

  • Skilfully, it confuses and muddles our train of thought.

  • It blocks the progress we were starting to make towards ideas thatthough important and interestingalso presented marked threats to short-term inner peace.

  • ideas thatthough important and interestingalso presented marked threats to short-term inner peace.

  • It's in this context that the shower emerges as so helpful to the way our minds work,

  • and earns the right to be honoured as one of the best places on earth in which to do any kind of serious reflection.

  • Amidst the crashing water and the steam and with a few minutes of respite before the day starts, the mind is no longer on guard.

  • We're not supposed to be doing much inside our heads

  • we're mainly occupied with trying to soap ourselves and properly rinse our hair.

  • The ideas that have been half-forming at the back of our minds,

  • ideas about what the true purpose of our lives might be and what we should do next,

  • keep up their steady inward pressurebut now there is a lot less to stop them reaching full consciousness.

  • We're not meant to be thinking and soat lastwe can think freely and courageously.

  • This quality of sufficientbut not overwhelmingdistraction

  • might equally well be present when we're driving down the motorway or walking in a forest;

  • when there's just enough for the managerial timid side of the mind to be doing to keep

  • it from interfering with our authentic and bolder inner machinations. Our world places

  • a very high premium on good ideasbut it spends very little serious effort in investigating

  • why we find it extraordinarily hard to hatch them. Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote: 'In

  • the minds of geniuses, we find our own neglected thoughts.' In other words, so-called geniuses

  • don't have thoughts different from the ones most of us have. They're just a lot better

  • at not allowing their inhibitions and preconceptions to get in the way of properly entertaining them.

  • In a utopian future, we would get a lot more creative about what real thinking

  • is and where it happens. We'd learn that the real enemy of good thinking isn't a

  • small desk or a modest view: it isalmost alwaysanxiety, for which there can be

  • few better cures than that library of our deeper selves: the morning shower.

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We might suppose that the best place to think would be a large room with a big desk, plenty of natural light and a window with a view, perhaps onto water or a park.

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B1 UK thinking desk shower short term marked view

Why Our Best Thoughts Come to Us in the Shower

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    Jenn posted on 2018/02/01
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