The title of this post comes from Jonah Lehrer, author of the recently published book on creativity, Imagine. I just heard him taking part in Andrew Marr’s Start the Week programme on BBC R4. (Which you can listen to here in the UK.)
One of the interviewees mentioned that air travel was a favourite time to think creatively, as there were none of the usual distractions of land-based routine, plenty of blue sky and nothing much to do but daydream. Lehrer commented that not being able to access your email and phone messages was a distinct aid to creative thinking. When we are bored, he argued, instead of compulsively checking for new emails, we can allow our minds to wander freely. These ‘voids’ can be extremely valuable for letting new thoughts get through.
“Protect your boredom” he said. It sounds like good advice.