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Science Proves That Disorganized People Are More Creative And Productive

Science Proves That Disorganized People Are More Creative And Productive

If you are like most people, you probably imagine people who are organized are more productive compared to disorganized people. Can’t blame you for thinking that way—that’s what society has led us all to believe. But, an increasing number of experts are now saying that’s not really true.

Apparently, people who are disorganized and messy aren’t necessarily less productive or lazy. They’re just bold and more spontaneous. Actually, messy people are more imaginative. Eric Abrahamson and David H. Freedman, authors of A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder, explain:

“Mess isn’t necessarily the absence of order. A messy desk can be a highly effective prioritizing and accessing system.

On a messy desk, the more important, urgent work tends to stay close by and near the top of the clutter, while the safely ignorable stuff tends to get buried to the bottom or near the back, which makes perfect sense.”

In other words, a messy desk can boost efficiency, depending on the person. A study by Kathleen Vohs of the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management seems to concur. According to the study, a cluttered environment helps increase not just efficiency, but also creativity.

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In one experiment for the study, Vohs divided 48 participants into two groups and asked them to come up with new ways to use a ping pong ball. One half was placed in a messy room and the other half in a tidy room. Although both groups came up with the same number of ideas, a panel of independent judges determined the ideas produced by those in the messy room were far more innovative.

Vohs explained the finding thus:

“Being in a messy room led to something that firms, industries and societies want more of: Creativity. Disorderly environments seem to inspire breaking free of tradition, which can produce fresh insights. Orderly environments, in contrast, encourage convention and playing it safe.”

So, why are we so obsessed with being orderly?

From a young age, we are taught (more like coerced) to clean up our rooms and clean up after ourselves always. When we grow up, society tells us a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind. We are made to feel bad about ourselves for being disorganized or messy.

Society expects us to maintain order, in every sense of the word. Disorganized people are labeled as lazy and ill-bred. But the neat, orderly world we strive for is all an illusion. Organization is a cheat we use to fool ourselves that life isn’t the random, unstructured, chaotic mess we secretly know it to be.

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Think about it for a moment. In our attempts to establish order, we often create more disorder. When you buy new shoes and new clothes for every possible occasion and season in the year so that you appear socially appropriate or fashion conscious, your closet inevitably begins to overflow.

When you tidy up your desk so that you’re not accused of having an “uncluttered mind” at work, it slides into a mess. You clear out all those pesky piles of paperwork, pens, and clips so that your desk is tidy once again, and still, two weeks later the mess is back.

We’re all struggling to keep everything neat and orderly, and we’re all doomed to fail. No matter how hard we try to keep our space neat and tidy, everything will always fall back into disarray. You see, disorder has nothing to do with your organizing skills; it’s has to do with the universe’s tendencies.

Physicist Adam Frank explains:

“The hard truth is that the universe itself is dead-set against our long-term efforts to bring order to the chaos in our lives. That’s because the universe loves chaos.”

That chaos, that disorder, that messiness, that randomness—for physicists, it has a name: entropy.

The laws of entropy ensure disorder is restored

Scientists first discovered the laws of entropy back in the 1800s when they were trying to squeeze as much efficiency as possible from their shiny, new invention—the steam engine. They uncovered a radical, somewhat depressing cosmic principle: The universe always moves from order to disorder, from low entropy to higher entropy. That’s how it has always been and, in all likelihood, how it will always be.

So, while you might be able to reduce chaos and maintain a semblance of order in one small space you control, like your home, the activities you do to maintain that order create more mess for the rest of the universe. For example, that trash you throw away goes to a landfill and contributes to pollution. See?

Disorganized people might get a bad rap in society and be dubbed lazy, but they are not really lazy. They’ve just seen the light and decided to go with the flow instead of swimming against the current. They would rather fill the bulk of their limited time in this world with what they perceive as more meaningful tasks for them than spend time on tedious, recurring activities like tidying up.

Maybe we should all follow their lead and say “yes” to the messiness and the chaotic nature of the universe more often, instead of being dictated by properness. As Jim Morrison once said, “I am interested in anything about revolt, disorder, chaos… It seems to me to be the road toward freedom.”

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Freedom—at last!

Contrary to what conventional wisdom might tell us, the path toward creative freedom, freedom of the mind, is to embrace disorder. Once you embrace disorder, it can bring spontaneity and tremendous joy and satisfaction in your life because you are now living in harmony with the universe.

You might worry that you won’t be productive at work if you are messy and unorganized, but that is not necessarily true. Disorganization is often associated with genius. Many famous people, like JK Rowling, Roald Dahl, Alan Turing, and Albert Einstein, achieved greatness in spite of their messiness. We might even argue they achieved greatness because of their messiness.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being organized. It’s just that we also need to recognize there’s nothing wrong with being disorganized either. Being disorganized is the default state. It’s a beautiful thing.

Featured photo credit: melodramababs via flickr.com

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Last Updated on June 21, 2018

Science Says Screaming Is Good For You

Science Says Screaming Is Good For You

There are many reasons why people might scream – they’re angry, scared, or in pain (or maybe they’re in a metal band!). Some might say that screaming is bad, but here’s why science says it’s good for you.

“For the first time in the history of psychology there is a way to access feelings, hidden away, in a safe way and thus to reduce human suffering. It is, in essence, the first science of psychotherapy.” — Dr. Arthur Janov

Primal Therapy

Dr. Arthur Janov invented Primal Therapy in the late 1960’s. It is a practice that allows the patient to face their repressed emotions from past trauma head on and let those emotions go. This treatment is intended to cure any mental illness the patient may have that surfaced from this past trauma. In most cases, Primal Therapy has lead Dr. Janov’s patients to scream towards the end of their session, though it was not part of the original procedure. During a group therapy session that was at a standstill, Dr. Janov says that one of his patients, a student he called Danny, told a story that inspired him to implement a technique that he never would have thought of on his own.

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How it Started

“During a lull in our group therapy session, he told us a story about a man named Ortiz who was currently doing an act on the London stage in which he paraded around in diapers drinking bottles of milk. Throughout his number, Ortiz is shouting, ‘Mommy! Daddy! Mommy! Daddy!’ at the top of his lungs. At the end of his act he vomits. Plastic bags are passed out, and the audience is requested to follow suit.”

It doesn’t end there, though. Dr. Janov said that his patient was quite fascinated with that story, and that alone moved him to suggest something even he believed to be a little elementary.

“I asked him to call out, ‘Mommy! Daddy!’ Danny refused, saying that he couldn’t see the sense in such a childish act, and frankly, neither could I. But I persisted, and finally, he gave in. As he began, he became noticeably upset. Suddenly he was writhing on the floor in agony. His breathing was rapid, spasmodic. ‘Mommy! Daddy!’ came out of his mouth almost involuntarily in loud screeches. He appeared to be in a coma or hypnotic state. The writhing gave way to small convulsions, and finally, he released a piercing, deathlike scream that rattled the walls of my office. The entire episode lasted only a few minutes, and neither Danny nor I had any idea what had happened. All he could say afterward was: ‘I made it! I don’t know what, but I can feel.’”

Delving deeper

Dr. Janov says he was baffled for months, but then he decided to experiment with another patient with the same method, which lead to a similar result as before. The patient started out calling “Mommy! Daddy!” then experienced convulsions, heavy breathing, and then eventually screamed. After the session, Dr. Janov says his patient was transformed and became “virtually another human being. He became alert… he seemed to understand himself.”

Although the initial intention of this particular practice wasn’t to get the patient to scream, more than once did his Primal Therapy sessions end with the patient screaming and feeling lighter, revived, and relieved of stresses that were holding them down in life.

Some Methods To Practice Screaming

If you want to try it out for yourself, keep reading!

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  • Step 1: Be Alone — Be alone. If you live in a place that you can’t be alone, it might be a good idea to talk to your family or roommates and explain to them what you’re about to do and make sure they’re okay with it. If you’re good to go, move on to step 2.
  • Step 2: Lie Down — Lie down on a yoga mat on your back and place a pillow underneath your head. If you don’t own a yoga mat, you can use a rug or even a soft blanket.
  • Step 3: Think — Think of things that have hurt you or made you angry. It can be anything from your childhood or even something that happened recently to make yourself cry, if you’re not already crying or upset. You could even scream “Mommy! Daddy!” just like Dr. Janov’s patients did to get yourself started.
  • Step 4: Scream — Don’t hold anything back; cry and scream as loud as you can. You can also pound your fists on the ground, or just lie there and scream at the top of your lungs.

After this, you should return your breathing to a normal and steady pace. You should feel lighter, like a weight has been lifted off of you. If not, you can also try these other methods.

Scream Sing

Scream singing” is referring to what a lot of lead singers in metal or screamo bands will do. I’ve tried it and although I wasn’t very good at it, it was fun and definitely relieved me of any stress I was feeling from before. It usually ends up sounding like a really loud grunt, but nonetheless, it’s considered screaming.

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  • Step 1 — Bear down and make a grunting sound.
  • Step 2 — Hiss like a snake and make sure to do this from your diaphragm (your stomach) for as long as you can.
  • Step 3 — Breathe and push your stomach out for more air when you are belting notes, kind of like you would if you were singing.
  • Step 4 — Try different ways to let out air to control how long the note will last, just make sure not to let out too much air.
  • Step 5 — Distort your voice by pushing air out from your throat, just be careful not to strain yourself.
  • Step 6 — Play around with the pitch of your screams and how wide your mouth is open – the wider your mouth is open, the higher the screams will sound. The narrower or rounder your mouth is (and most likely shaped like an “o”), the lower the screams will sound.
  • Step 7 — Start screaming to metal music. If you’re not a huge metal fan, it’s okay. You don’t have to use this method if you don’t want to.

If you want a more thorough walkthrough of how to scream sing, here’s a good video tutorial. If this method is too strenuous on your vocal chords, stop. Also, make sure to stay hydrated when scream singing and drink lots of water.

Scream into a pillow

Grab a pillow and scream into it. This method is probably the fastest and easiest way to practice screaming. Just make sure to come up for air.

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Always remember to make sure that you’re not going to disturb anyone while practicing any of these methods of screaming. And with that, happy screaming!

Featured photo credit: Sharon Mollerus via flickr.com

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