IVP - Andy Unedited - Why You Should Leave Work

April 7, 2008

Why You Should Leave Work

Several years ago I loved reading The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes.

For my reading tastes it was the perfect combination of science, history, politics and World War II.

One thing that struck me, however, was how time and again during the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-centuries brilliant physicists like Niels Bohr would get stuck on a problem for months or even years. After working tirelessly they finally were compelled to take a vacation and—boom (metaphorically)—the solution would come. Remarkably, the author never pointed out the pattern.

Wired recently ran a photo essay that chronicles the genesis of eight innovations. Again, the author fails to point out that only one (maybe) occurred at work. The idea for television came while plowing a field. Netflix while at home. Post-It Notes in a church choir loft. Harry Potter on a stuck train. They could have also mentioned that the idea for bar codes came at the beach.

Away from the pressures of the office or laboratory where the left brain is working on overdrive, the right brain (where ideas often come from) can’t get a word in edgewise. On vacation, on break, in the shower, the right brain has a chance to breath. And the result can be a beautiful thing.

The point is clear: if you want to solve a stubborn problem or need a great, innovative idea—leave work.

Posted by Andy Le Peau at April 7, 2008 3:33 PM Bookmark and Share

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book cover"Some publishers tell you what to believe. Other publishers tell you what you already believe. But InterVarsity Press helps you believe," says J. I. Packer. Andy Le Peau and Linda Doll describe how this came to be a hallmark of InterVarsity Press in Heart. Soul. Mind. Strength, an anecdotal history spanning the sixty years from the founding of IVP in 1947 to the present day.