When we're hit with a brilliant idea, our first reaction tends to be to share it immediately with a boss or coworker, but in a recent column for Wired, writer Jonah Lehrer suggests it might be best to sleep on an idea for a few days before sharing it with the world.
Photo by mollybob.
It's a natural reaction to want to show off your smarts as quickly as possible, but it turns out our brains aren't very good at quickly differentiating between good ideas and bad ones. When we wait a day or two, we're more likely to recognise an old idea as bad. In addition to giving yourself time to come back to an idea, positive moods also have an influence on the ability to separate the good ideas from the bad. Lehrer suggests you keep it simple:
Taking a break is important. But make sure you do something that makes you happy, as positive moods make us even better at diagnosing the value of our creative work. After a few relaxing days of vacation, you'll suddenly know which new ideas deserve more time and which need to be abandoned.
It's the same premise as sleeping on a decision before your make your choice, but when it's applied to creative thinking it helps you discriminate between the good and the bad.
How Do We Identify Good Ideas? [Wired]