I have a leaky mind.
I have always been prone to being easily distracted. One moment I’m totally focused and the next moment my mind is off and running in another direction. I thought I had a serious problem, one I could fix. I practiced being in the moment, tried yoga and read yet another book about mindfulness, but sadly to little avail. Then, I read an article by Dr. Christian Jarrett and had an aha moment. It seems for many “creative” types a leaky mind is a fact of life.
Curious to learn more I dug deeper into the subject and found that scientists at Northwestern University found the first physiological evidence of a connection between creative thinking and sensory distractions, or what they call “leaky attention.” In sound tests given to 97 subjects, the researchers found that poor sensory gating, the ability to filter unnecessary stimuli from the brain, correlated with a higher number of lifetime creative achievements. Woot, woot—so take that you straight-line, check the box thinkers! At the idea generating stage of my work, my leaky mind is a strength. Ok, so there is a downside when it comes time to get work done, I need to enlist all my energy and make a conscious decision to stay focused!
“I need solitude for my writing; not ‘like a hermit’—that wouldn’t be enough—but like a dead man.” –Kafka
Anyone else out there willing to admit they have a leaky mind?