With my hair cascading over my forehead and soap covering my eyes, it showed up. The idea I had been seeking for months. This was after many Zoom conferences, brainstorming sessions at the office, and lunches with ultra-smart professionals. None of these situations rendered what I needed. No flow chart or analysis seemed to provide insight into a complicated business matter. One that would affect my shareholders for years. But as soon as I stopped chasing the answer and relaxed, it chased me. What was noticeable was where I was when it found me.
The answer showed up in my most vulnerable state. A time when I couldn’t be seen by colleagues, family or friends. A time when I was closest to the time I was born into this world with no hangups, no opinions, no doubts or fears – I was an infant then, naked and free. Today, there is only one place in adulthood that takes me back to the condition of my birth. The shower.
In the shower, I get answers by mistake that I could not find on purpose. Why do some of our best ideas and greatest solutions come from contemplating under warm water? Think about it. What other time in the day do we have full access to who we are in a most private and authentic way? The question is, how do we maintain the genius of shower thinking once we dry off and get dressed? How do we create an environment where ideas flow freely without being blocked by the idea killers all around us? How do you think like you’re naked when you are fully clothed?
It takes practice to think like you’re naked, but learning how to do this will change your life. First, let take a brief look at the reason why we don’t get our greatest ideas while at work.
One of the reasons why the office can be a terrible place to find ideas and solutions is our brain frequency in work environments isn’t friendly to finding answers. Instead, it is friendly to maintaining the status quo. Let me explain what I mean.
Our brains have several different modalities, different wave sequences. While each is active all the time, only one mode can dominate at a time. For example, if a person hates their job and only shows up to receive a check each day, they very well may be operating in delta. Delta is the lowest of all brain waves. It is characterized as a kind of “brainless” state and is seen during dreamless sleep. In other words, if someone is constantly falling asleep at their desk they are most likely stuck in delta. Rarely will one find innovation and high-intellectual processing during the delta stage.
But there is another brain wave that does just the opposite. It is called theta. While delta is represented with waves between 0 Hz – 4 Hz, theta is represented by waves between 5 Hz – 7 Hz. Theta is the daydreaming wave. The mindset that allows us to drift off into what is possible. Theta allows us to grasp uninhibited ambition and creativity. It allows us to dream while we’re awake.
It is not just our voice that sounds better in the shower, our mind thinks better in the shower.
It is almost as if whatever hindered us during the rest of the day has no power in that one space for that one moment of time each day. Researchers say, theta often shows up when we are engaged in a task so rudimentary that our mind can float off into imagination, and bring back into reality what it has found.
We can encourage “constant theta” through meditation, exercising regularly and creating a work environment that is not a traditional work environment. Place yourself in a naked condition even when you are clothed and encourage those around you to do the same. This takes time and practice, but the rewards are enormous. Chances are, your billion-dollar idea won’t be found behind a desk.My theta be with you.
Lian Pham is a passionate, disruptive entrepreneur helping people establish peak performance in their personal and professional lives through biohacking. Lian lives as The Peak Performer and co-founder of Peak Space both in Houston, Texas.