A Eureka moment? Is it really a moment?

Ever wondered how the best ideas get formed? How other people always seem to think of all the clever things?

I am sure that you have been tinkering about certain problems in your mind before that you just could not put your finger on how to solve it. You probably have been mulling over it for weeks. Then all of a sudden when someone points out something or you see something around you happen, the whole thing just clicks into place. A Eureka “Moment”!

But it it really a moment? That mulling over the problem was conducive to finding a solution. The change around you was just a catalyst to bring it all together. And how you mulled over the problem is in itself important on whether or not you will come to the solution of your problem.

Often I have wondered what the best way is to get a solution for a particular problem. And unfortunately it is would not be a case of a miracle pill that you take and all of a sudden you have the solution to your problem. As with anything, there is often no quick fix. I have found that trying to sit down and focus on finding a solution often does not get you anywhere. It only makes you more frustrated and blocking your brain from finding a solution.

What I did find though is that it would be best to have the problem mulling in the back of your mind and just be your passenger for a while. Let it look through your eyes and let it listen with your ears. Then foster an environment that allows you to be exposed to a variety of outside stimuly of every day life and see if there is a situation whereby the brain meshes together the problem together with the situation to come up with a solution. Not a sure-fire way of finding the solution, but it’s all you can do.

Second thing is even though I am not the kind of person to ask for help with other people, I found that brainstorming with other people about the problem often helps to cristalise the solution. Especially talking to people with no previous perception of your problem and maybe even not with the skill/experience set to necessarily solve your problem helps quite a lot. They have a completely different view of your problem that could click your brain to view the problem in such a way that it can see a solution whereas it previously couldn’t. I am sure you have experienced looking for your keys and someone else suggesting “Have you thought about looking on the coffee table?”, ending up with you looking on the dining table where you do find your keys behind the vase just because you had never thought of looking somewhere obvious as on a large flat horizontal surface where keys should really be easy to find?

So I guess some bullet points on how to best “cristalise” a solution to a problem in my humble opinion:

  • Let the problem find a place in your brain to settle for the long run.
  • Foster situations where outside stimuly are abundant.
  • Brainstorm with other people about the problem.

Below is Steve Johnson talking about the very fact of where good ideas come from that is worth a view:


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