Pause for creativity

Have you ever been driving down the road, or gone for a run, or taken a walk, and suddenly found yourself struck by creative inspiration?

Better yet: have you ever sat in the shower and discovered, almost randomly, a solution to a problem you had on your mind?

These moments are called creative pause, a term that was possibly first coined by Edward de Bono, a brilliant physician, author, inventor, and creative thinker. De Bono, however, isn’t alone in feeling or understanding these moments of creative pause.

Professor Lajos Székely, a writer and historian, once explained that creative pause “…is defined as the time interval which begins when the thinker interrupts conscious preoccupation with an unsolved problem, and ends when the solution to the problem unexpectedly appears in consciousness.” (Source:

Over on her blog, Liz Danzico describes moments of creative pause which occur while in as “[the] whitespace between busy and quiet, between public and private, making room for thoughts.”

The moments of life where our mind is free to wander from idea to idea, free of constraints or worry, are when creative pause occurs.

Going for a drive, or a run, or a walk, or simply taking a shower or laying around on a Sunday afternoon, are all opportunities for your mind to explore ideas freely. It is during this relaxed exploration that creativity is at it’s finest, when solutions seem to magically appear.

So how can we identify the opportunities of creative pause? Why does driving or taking a shower invoke creative thinking? Cameron Moll has the answer…

Creative pause can occur when there’s little opportunity for distraction from your thoughts, minimal mental engagement is required for the the task at hand, there is white noise – such as the sound of tires humming over the road or water spraying the shower, a change of scenery sets the stage for the unexpected.

Chances are that you’ve had a moment of creative pause in the past. Understanding why it occurs and how you might stir it up in the future means you have an easy way to inspire your creativity.

If you want to be creative: hop in the shower, go for a drive, or take a walk. You may be surprised.