Eureka! yelled Archimedes on discovering the principle of fluid displacement while soaking in the bath; inspiration struck Sir Isaac Newton on the head as he sat in a field pondering gravitation, and Post-it note inventor Arthur Fry had his epiphany in church, when his bookmark fell out of his hymnbook. It's no coincidence that these great intellects had their moments of inspiration in a place where they were free to think, their minds unfettered by the constant demands of others.
Original thoughts, creativity and problem-solving all come easier when the body is relaxed and the mind free to wander. It's fact Neuroscientists have isolated the brainwaves that occur when someone has an original thought, an 'aha' moment, as they call it. The aha! brainwave is a feeble one, easily overwhelmed by stronger thought traffic. Finding sanctuary is essential for the weak signal to connect and the eureka thought to occur.
Allowing the space for those moments is a priority for the four leaders pictured here; they were photographed for MT in the places where their minds work best. Bryan Sanderson, chairman of Standard Chartered, BUPA, the Learning & Skills Council and Sunderland FC, spends much time juggling his four hats. 'It's important to find peace to think,' he says. 'When I first went to Singapore, I bought an old Chinese painting of eight fish.