Do you know the tale of the lustful loan shark?
In a tiny Italian town many years ago a businessman owed a large sum of money to a lustful loan-shark. This loan-shark was an older, unattractive looking man who lusted after the businessman’s daughter.
In his quest for the daughter, the loan shark offered the businessman a deal to wipe out the debt. He said he would 100% cancel the debt if he could have a 50-50 chance to marry the businessman’s daughter.
The loan-shark proposed to place two pebbles in a bag, one white and one black. The daughter would then reach in and pick out a pebble.
If the pebble was black, the debt would be forgiven and the daughter would have to marry the loan-shark. If the pebble was white, the debt would also be forgiven and the daughter would not have to marry the loan-shark.
Initially the businessman said no chance, disgusted that his daughter might have to marry this reprehensible loan shark.
But the daughter pleaded with her dad not to have his business foreclosed because of the debt, and that she was willing to take the chance. She urged him to make the deal.
Reluctantly, her dad made the deal with the loan shark.
The next day, with several townsfolk around, the gamble took place. Standing on a pebble-strewn path in the businessman’s garden, the loan-shark bent over and picked up two pebbles to place in the bag.
But while the loan shark was picking up the pebbles, the daughter noticed that he picked up two black pebbles (not one black and one white pebble), and placed both black ones in the bag.
He then asked the daughter to reach into the bag and pick out one of the pebbles.
The daughter naturally had three choices:
- Refuse to pick any pebble from the bag.
- Take out both pebbles and expose the loan-shark for cheating.
- Pick a pebble from the bag knowing it would be black and have to marry the loan shark.
What did the daughter do?
She drew out a pebble from the bag, but before looking to see what color it was she ‘accidentally’ dropped it into the midst of a multitude of pebbles laying on the ground. Then she said to the loan-shark:
“Oh, how clumsy of me. Just look into the bag for the pebble that is left and you will be able to tell which color pebble I picked up and dropped.”
The pebble left in the bag was obviously black, and since the loan-shark didn’t want to be exposed as a cheater, he had to play along as if the pebble the daughter dropped on the ground was white. So he went ahead and cleared the father’s debt.
You won’t likely be faced with a situation like this, but the story is a cogent reminder of the power of creativity, and how it can have a significant and long-lasting impact on our lives.
But can we do anything about it? Is creativity intuitive, or can we do things to foster it?
The answer is we actually can do many things to enhance our creativity. Next week I’ll share several, but today I’ll preview one… take longer showers.
Over 75% of people surveyed say their most creative thoughts occur in the shower. Physiologists say it’s the uniqueness of the shower environment.
Cascading water creates a soothing “white noise” that allows our minds to wander more freely because there are no other auditory stimuli. In essence, the streaming water creates a “noise floor” that frees up mental bandwidth, which would otherwise be used to sense and process the constant influx of other sounds.
Also, the warm shower water dilates our blood vessels, increases our blood flow, and relaxes our muscles, all of this stimulating our brain to a higher level of creativity.
So the next time you are feeling uninspired, walk into the bathroom, turn on the hot water, and enter your Creativity Crevice… otherwise known as a shower.
Then remember the words of Nolan Bushell:
“Everyone who has taken a shower has had an idea. It’s the person who gets out of the shower, dries off, and does something about it that makes a difference.”
– Greg Hague
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“Somebody just gave me a shower radio. Thanks a lot.
Do you really want music in the shower? I guess there’s no better place to dance than a slick surface next to a glass door.”
– Jerry Seinfeld