Making a case for idleness

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Dreaming while doing nothing is more valuable than you might think.

My mother used to say that idleness was the mother of mischief.   To this very day I get pangs of guilt while engaged in “doing nothing.”

Now I read that doing nothing can be a good thing. Consider this: Einstein launched his theory of relativity by wondering what it would be like to ride on a sunbeam. Newton discovered the law of gravity while sitting in an orchard.  The premise for the Harry Potter books popped into J. K. Rowling’s mind as she was gazing out a train window

In his book, “Explaining Creativity: The Science of Human Innovation,” Dr. Keith Sawyer says that the idle mind literally pulls together seemingly unrelated fragments of information stored in disparate regions of the brain and combines them in a way the focused mind can’t.

Perhaps the best kept secret about idleness it its almost spiritual dimension.  It’s in those “floating moments” that you ask the big questions and formulate your best plans.

So for all you “roadrunners” out there.  Slow down and take a break to gaze out into space.

The exquisite art of idleness, one of the most important things that any University can teach.” (Oscar Wilde)

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