What is it about this particular confined space in every home, gas station, restaurant or any other public locale I choose to do my business in that starts the creative juices flowing in the grey matter more than anywhere else?
Aside from those nights where I am laying awake in bed wishing I could fall asleep, at no other time does my brain go into high gear thinking about the things that really matter. Epiphanies on parenting, home renovations, date nights, relationship struggles… all solutions that found their nexus in the bathroom.
And I know I am not alone. A quick Google search on “bathroom thoughts” brings up site after site of the best and most profound “shower thoughts” compiled, memes of people sitting on the “thinking throne” and official Twitter and Tumblr pages dedicated to them.
Granted- Tumblr may not be the best litmus test of the pinnacle of humanity, but there are some crazy smart nerds on that site and believe it or not, a lot of wisdom there too.
So why as a society do we still insist on brainstorming in a board room?
What is it about the bathroom that makes it more conducive of our creativity than a board room? What is so stimulating in a bathroom that can’t be found anywhere else? Additional plumbing? Less windows? Less people? Or perhaps less people looking at you?
Could it all come down to performance issues? It is an actual documented thing; Paruresis is the phobia of urinating when others may be watching. It’s also called shy bladder. Shy bowels are a thing too, for the record.
There is no real medical cause for shy bladder, it all comes down to anxiety. Social anxiety preventing someone from relaxing their bladder/bowel muscles preventing them from relieving themselves. Is there a lesson to be learned here? Shy brains?
Are there some unconscious neurons in our brain that suddenly light up when we know we are alone and let our guard down allowing us to think better? Is working in a cubicle where there is no more privacy than sitting in a stall in the public bathroom any better? Same building, slightly different sounds coming from the neighbor.
There are a plethora of options out there for increasing creativity or to stimulate creative thought, but maybe it’s no more complicated than just spending some time alone. Should workplaces encourage more bathroom breaks in the work day? Call them “creativity sessions”.
Maybe it’s time to have a pad of paper and a pencil in the bathroom. A dry erase board in the shower. I’m not sure if installing a toilet in every office and cubicle is the answer, but I’m willing to bet someone on Tumblr has thought of it and there is a whole lot of discussion around it!