Researchers at Stanford learned that walking unlocks creative genius in a study perfectly titled “Give Your Ideas Some Legs: The Positive Effect of Walking on Creative Thinking”.
In other words, the researchers “discovered” a phenomenon that Steve Jobs unearthed long ago. Indeed, Jobs was a true believer and practitioner of the discipline of walking. His walking meetings were common knowledge.
The researchers examined creativity levels of people while they walked versus while they sat. They found that a person's creative output increased by an average of 60 percent when walking. That’s not all. The study also noted that creative juices flowed more easily when a person sat back down after a walk.
Now just imagine what the Wolf would have been like if Leo and Matthew McConaughey had walked instead of sitting down for the iconic meeting pictured above.
It makes perfect sense too. How is creative innovation going to strike when this the process we usually refer to for creativity is laced with inefficiencies galore?
Here is a typical process that is wrongly believed to jump-start creativeness.
You recline in your chair.
You then try to massage ideas out of your head.
You laboriously reach for a warm beverage, hoping to coo the genius out of you.
As your brain is numbed by the freezing air conditioning.
Of course this isn’t good for creativity.
The study established that walking either indoors or outdoors piqued creative inspiration. So it really doesn’t matter whether you walk by a picturesque valley, on a treadmill or in your bathroom. Just walk.. Based on the study, creativity levels were always drastically higher in walkers compared to sitters.
We’ve already had a plethora of research that has told us of the long-term effects of aerobic exercise on long-term cognitive function and the release of “happy hormone” endorphins. But this research is different as it focuses on a non-aerobic activity that many people can easily manage.
Coauthors of the story Oppezzo and Schwartz wrote in the study published in the Journal of Experimental that "Many people anecdotally claim they do their best thinking when walking. We finally may be taking a step, or two, toward discovering why".
It’s time to do away boardroom meetings. Walkin’ and talking’ is the way to go.