So many thoughts go through our mind in a single day, a single hour, and a single minute. But do we ever take the time to write down the good ones? It turns out that jotting down our ideas can actually make us smarter.
On average, we have about 50,000 thoughts in a day. Naturally, we can’t remember all of them. Just imagine how crowded our brains would be if we retained every single thought we had. So, we filter out a lot of the unnecessary thoughts when our brains are relaxed. But the problem with that is that those forgotten thoughts often turn out to be our best and most creative ideas.
Do you ever find yourself drifting off in the shower and coming up with great ideas? The shower is one of the most notable places for eureka moments. Day dreaming while driving in your car is another example of this “diffused” state of mind. When our mind is relaxed, our brain can connect different neural pathways to come up with new ideas. This is how creative thinking works, or “connecting the dots.”
Unfortunately, we are not all awesome at remembering things. Remember that great idea you had while drifting off to sleep last night? Probably not. Because you didn’t write it down. Some of us even have a hard time remembering what we had for dinner last night, so expecting us to remember our latest and greatest idea is a bit of a stretch.
But some of us are overconfident in our short-term memory skills, like that waitress that somehow remembers your long and complicated order without writing down a single thing. Regardless of how confident you are that you will remember your new genius way to change the “world as we know it,” write it down. The act of trying to remember something for extending periods of time complicates your brain and doesn’t allow for new creative thoughts. Plus, nowadays they make apps for this stuff. Like Evernote (link), whose tagline is “Meet Evernote, your second brain.” Now more than ever we have the technology and the ability to write down our best ideas.
Many artists and creatives boast the process of free thinking. It’s the act of just writing down all the ideas that come into your brain and letting your thoughts drift. The moment you try to organize these free thoughts, your brain shifts into organization mode. This organization mode is at odds with the diffuse mode that allows your brain to drift off and find new connections. So, don’t complicate the process and just let it flow.
Now that you’ve started to jot down your awesome thoughts, take some time to review them every once in a while. You might be surprised to find that you could turn them into something.