The Wall Street Journal Online posted an interesting article that looks at creativity and attention deficit. The basic idea is that distractions can lead to creative discoveries.
Such lapses in attention turn out to be a crucial creative skill. When we’re faced with a difficult problem, the most obvious solution—that first idea we focus on—is probably wrong. At such moments, it often helps to consider far-fetched possibilities, to approach the task from an unconventional perspective. And this is why distraction is helpful: People unable to focus are more likely to consider information that might seem irrelevant but will later inspire the breakthrough. When we don’t know where to look, we need to look everywhere.
My wife always busts my chops because I am an unrepentant eavesdropper. I can’t help but to listen to interesting conversations that are happening in my vicinity. Maybe that is just a sign of my creativity, and not some moral deficiency.