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Designing Better Libraries by steven j bell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

More On Meaning And Creative Showering

No, this isn’t a post about how you get meaning from your creative showering. I want to just follow up on two different posts with some new thoughts and links for you.

My most recent post shared some insights from the retreat I attended along with my colleagues in our public services units. In that post I talked about a conversation I had with my co-worker about meaning, and how an article I later came across shared research that indicated that people derive more meaning and happiness from experiences than they do from material objects. Then I came across this NYT article on virtually the same topic discussing similar research that documents that individuals derive more happiness from experiences than material objects:

Current research suggests that, unlike consumption of material goods, spending on leisure and services typically strengthens social bonds, which in turn helps amplify happiness. (Academics are already in broad agreement that there is a strong correlation between the quality of people’s relationships and their happiness; hence, anything that promotes stronger social bonds has a good chance of making us feel all warm and fuzzy.)

So with all the research pointing to the connection between meaning and happiness/satisfaction, that further reinforces that we can offer our user community members something of value whenever we deliver a great library experience.

Further back I wrote about the importance of capturing your good ideas – even when they come in the shower (and yes, there’s a special notebook for that). I mentioned that some research did show there is something to be said for showers as a creative place. For some reason, many individuals will indicate they came up with a good idea in the shower. Over at the Heart of Innovation blog, you’ll find a list of 20 reasons why people get their best ideas in the shower. Some make a lot of sense, and others are questionable – but intriguing – like showering with a partner and turning the shower into a brainstorming session. But I think it still comes down to reason number 20: Showering is easy. Not a lot of thinking is required to make it happen, which frees your mind to think about other things.


Pingback from Library Thinker Series: What is a Library? | Information Tyrannosaur
Posted: November 16, 2010 at 1:15 pm

[…] Stephen Bell discussed how experiences give us more happiness than things. […]

Comment from Michael Plishka
Posted: November 22, 2010 at 6:38 am

There’s research that shows that one of the advantages to showers is that it’s the disconnect from the problem that actually helps ideas percolate into, through and from the subconscious. It’s a form of the ‘relaxation response’ (the recovery side of the ‘fight or flight response’). Similar insights occur when in that hazy time between sleep and wakefulness; or when meditating or walking in the park, etc. In other words it’s when we’re not thinking about anything that our brains can connect the disparate dots and things can come together. Distance from the problem can be a good thing.

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