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Genius Dress Code

Save Your Brain Cells for Stuff That Matters


In his classic book on Creativity, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi walks us through the science of what makes extraordinary creators so extraordinary.

Of course, one of the key facets of being a truly great creator is the willingness and ability to FOCUS your attention, eliminating distractions.

As Csikszentmihalyi puts it: “It is practically impossible to learn a domain deeply enough to make a change in it without dedicating all of one’s attention to it.”

In the process of giving their craft THAT much attention, some of the best creators out there might look a little weird.

For example, Csikszentmihalyi tells us about Albert Einstein. He always wore the same sweater and baggy trousers. Was he deliberately trying to be eccentric? No. He just had better things to think about than what he was going to wear that day.

Csikszentmihalyi walks us through the math. If you spend 2 minutes per day deciding what to wear, you just burned 730 minutes or 12 hours for the year. Then, he tells us, add up all the other little things you do that take time and interrupt deep thinking and you get a better idea of why Einstein “preferred to play it safe and wear the same old clothes.”

Of course, Einstein isn’t alone. Open Steve Jobs’s closet and what would you find? Dozens of the same black turtlenecks and dozens of the same 501 jeans.

Obama once said that he only wears grey and blue suits because he has too many other important decisions to make in a day to worry about what he’s wearing.

Google Mark Zuckerberg and click on “Images.” Unless he’s at an event that requires him to dress formally, what you’ll find is him in a lot of gray t-shirts and a hoodie.

It seems we have a genius dress code. Wear the same thing every day. (Hah.)

Seriously. Let’s simplify and save our brain cells for stuff that matters!