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Why do we get our best thoughts in the shower?

Why do we get our best thoughts in shower? Source: Getty

"Everyone who has taken a shower has had an idea,” Netflix co-founder Marc Randolph wrote in his latest book, That Will Never Work.

And he’s right. 

According to a 2014 study conducted by psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman, 72 per cent of people get creative ideas while in the shower.

The study, which was commissioned by German bathroom and kitchen fixture company, Hansgrohe, even found most people aged 18 to 34 actually have a shower with the specific purpose of thinking of a new, and good, idea. 

“It’s both surprising and fascinating to learn that people are more creative in the shower than they are at work, with Hansgrohe’s findings reinforcing existing research on the importance of relaxation for creative thinking,” Kaufman said.

But why?

According to Kaufman, it’s simply because we’re away from distractions and left to our own devices.

“The relaxing, solitary, and non-judgmental shower environment may afford creative thinking by allowing the mind to wander freely, and causing people to be more open to their inner stream of consciousness and daydreams,” Kaufman told fellow psychologist Ron Friedman at an online summit on peak work performance back in 2016.

But it doesn’t just have to be in a shower, Kaufman said.

“You want to make sure that you make time and room for solitude,” he said. “That can take a lot of forms, like taking a daily stroll to reconfigure your brain and get off the path you have been working on the past hour or two.”

Neuroscientist Alice Flaherty told blog site Buffer that dopamine is also key in being creative, and our brains produce dopamine when we feel good and relaxed - like in a warm shower.

But it’s no use just having an idea

Netflix co-founder Randolph said having an idea isn’t where the buck should stop.

“It's the people who get out of the shower, towel off, and do something about it that make the difference,” he wrote.

"The most powerful step that anyone can take to turn their dreams into reality is a simple one. You just need to start. So take that step. Build something, make something, test something, sell something. Learn for yourself if your idea is a good one."

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