Sunday, September 6, 2015

White Noise

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Today I started reading Kevin Wallace's "Your route to Cisco Career Success," and this passage really struck me.  In Chapter one, while discussing short-term and long-term career goals, he gives this little hint.  "If your creative juices just don't seem to be flowing, a shower might help.  (Seriously!)  I've heard and read different explanations for this phenomenon (everything from a chemical being released in your brain to the white noise created by the water), but whatever the scientific basis, taking a shower does seem to stimulate creative thinking for many people (including me)."

Why did that strike me? Where do you often have your "A-HA" moments? As in, where are you at and/or what are you doing most often when an answer you are searching for suddenly comes to you? I often joked with coworkers that I do my best thinking at the urinal when I come back with the answer.  I had always assumed that it was a simple matter of stepping away from my desk and clearing my mind of the problem for a minute that lead to me having that A-HA moment.  Maybe that really is all that is was to it.  But Kevin's comment on the white noise got me thinking that maybe there was more to it than just stepping away from the problem for a minute. Perhaps the faint but constant hum of the exhaust fans in the bathroom was the key.

Along these lines, I have been using a website called Noisli ( for a while at the office to drown out the sound of everything else going on around my desk.  The site lets you create custom white noise based on configurable levels of simulated tree, water, wind, electrical, etc.  background noise.  I would put on headphones and turn up the volume of my custom background noise mix not to necessarily stimulate creative thinking, but to block out distraction and help with focus. While for a different purpose, I was getting the same effect.  I'm not affiliated with the Noisli site in any way, just a happy user.

So where do you do your best thinking?


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