The Breakout Principle
Herbert Benson, MD, and Willkam Proctor
Scribner, NY, NY 2004 (paperback)
Every profession and occupation suffers from it: sport figures, writers, scientists, even religious clerics. “It” is the problem that crops up in everyone's life, for some more often than others, where no matter how hard you work, no matter how much you study or practice or run scenarios, there's a situation that you have to do something about which is very critical, and a wrong decision could harm you in many ways, a situation that seems utterly unsolvable, beyond the scope of your powers, and no matter how much you think about it, has no good answer.
Whether it's a baseball player's slump, writers block, a piece of computer software code that just won't behave, or a family situation that's been keeping you up nights for months: you've worked on it and worked on it, going around in circles trying to find an answer, but nothing works. Then you make some very rude remarks, and go golfing. But even then your mind is still on the problem, and your golf game suffers. You go home and try to attack the problem again, but no go. Finally and completely giving up for the night, you decide to drown your sorrows in a very long, hot shower. And all of a sudden, there you are, jumping out of the shower to write down the answer that suddenly popped unbidden into your head. This is what Benson and Proctor call the “Breakout Principle.”