Eric Weiner, journalist and author of the book “The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World”, believes the Viennese pastime of sitting and thinking about nothing, and everything — something he calls “productive idleness” — can help open the door to creativity.
The Viennese are onto something. Psychology tells us that idleness — a certain kind, anyway — boosts creativity. It happens during the “incubation stage” of the creative process. This is when we stop turning over a problem in our conscious mind and, instead, allow our subconscious to take a whack at it. When the perfect solution to a problem occurs to you in the shower, it’s the result of the incubation stage working away. Many studies have found a link between this sort of seemingly idle behaviour and creative breakthroughs.
Here on North American soil, by contrast, particularly in big urban centers like Toronto and New York City, we elevate to-do lists and multi-tasking to an art form.
It’s quite common — and funny — to see Torontonians briskly walking city streets with a giant Tim Horton’s or Starbucks coffee in one hand and their mobile in the other with an almost frantic sense of urgency.
Photo: Café Sperl, Vienna – Kotomi_