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It’s 1:32 am.

You’re tossing and turning in your bed when a fantastic idea pops into your head.

A device that can record your dreams and allow you to watch them like a movie.

Sounds familiar?

Well maybe you didn’t have this exact same idea but I can bet 100 bucks, you’ve had a sensational idea when you’re actually supposed to be sleeping.

Maybe you came up with a unique topic for your class presentation or maybe you thought of a laughing-until-you-can’t-breathe joke.

Whatever it was, I know we’ve all been in situations where we come up with amazing ideas in the most random places – in your bed when you’re supposed to be sleeping, on the toilet pot, while chopping vegetables or on a walk.

Do you realise there’s one thing common among all these situations?

Take a guess at what it is.

No, it’s not the fact that we either don’t do these things at all, or do them at the wrong time.

It’s the fact that all these activities allow your brain to be empty. These activities let you be bored.

What happens when you’re bored

When you’re bored, you begin to daydream.

And when you daydream, your subconscious mind is actually working hard to solve the problems we face.

It’s a way for your brain to take a break from the problem and come up with a better solution.

Your brain is like a pond. Constantly thinking about things stirs up the water, making things muddy and unclear. When you leave your thoughts alone for some time, the mud settles down and you begin to see things clearly again.

The subconscious mind works extremely hard to solve the problems you face and when you let your mind wander, it can surface and plant those ideas into your conscious mind.

Moreover, in all of these situations your mind is at ease, which allows you to make connections that lead to insights.

How to keep the mind empty

Being bored is keeping your mind empty in a nutshell. It just means you’re not actively paying attention to any particular thing and allow the mind to roam.

So what actually includes keeping the mind empty?

  • Eating your meal without any distractions
  • Taking a shower/bath, listening to all the sounds made by the water
  • Going on a walk
  • Taking a big dump
  • Taking a big brain dump – basically emptying out whatever is going on in your mind on a piece of paper
  • Lying down on your bed
  • Cook food

While I mention the things that count as keeping your mind empty, I feel like it’s my responsibility to also mention what isn’t included in this.

  • Doing any of the above mentioned with a screen or a gadget included, or with audio (yes, I’m talking about music and podcasts) playing in the background

I’m not against listening to music or podcasts while you’re doing mindless work, I do it too. I’m just letting you know that it doesn’t really give your mind the break it needs.

“The answers have been there all along–we just weren’t listening.” – Jonah Lehrer

Recap for memory

We all have those moments when we come up with amazing ideas in the most random places. It’s during these moments that our brains are allowed to be bored, and it’s because of this that our subconscious minds can work hard to surface better solutions. By keeping our minds empty, we’re able to make connections that lead to insights. So next time you find yourself struggling to come up with an idea, try being bored and see what happens.

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