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Balance

Dan Crane

By Dan Crane

A few years ago, I had lunch with the guy who created MacGyver. No, he didn’t teach me how to defuse a bomb with a stick of bubblegum and a paperclip. He did, however, teach me something interesting about creativity and energy.

“Whenever I have a script to write,” he told me, “I’ll write a question on my whiteboard. For example: 'What happens in Act Three?' Or, 'How would MacGyver escape having to have lunch with this young man?'”

I didn't know what to say to that. I said nothing.

“After that,” he said, “I’ll go build a model airplane.”

It might not surprise you to learn that the guy who created MacGyver builds fleets of model airplanes; but it might surprise you that he does it instead of writing scripts. Let me repeat: INSTEAD OF WRITING SCRIPTS.

He explained: The mind, he proclaimed, does its best creative work while at rest. Posing a question, then going away to do something else, was a way to level off, rest the mind, and let the subconscious take over. Basically, it’s like meditation—with the help of model airplane glue.

“It’s why people say they do their best thinking in the shower,” he said.

After our lunch, I went out and bought a model airplane. One day, I swear I’ll get around to building it.

 

Is there enough play in your work?

 

Dan Crane is a journalist, author, comedian, host, musician, and retired competitive air-guitarist. He is the author of To Air is Human: One Man’s Quest to Become the World’s Greatest Air Guitarist.