“Our brains can make cognitive leaps when we are not completely obsessed with a challenge, which is why good ideas sometimes come to us while we are in the shower, or taking a walk or a long drive” write Tom & David Kelley, IDEO founders in their latest book:
What the brothers are suggeting is that we take a mental vacation to help our ideas come together more quickly. This is why when you are with teams working on strategy, if you approach the problem or new futures from a side door, you’ll get better results. Daydreaming is one of those regularly utilized side doors.
When you daydream about something you long for, be it a creative project, a challenge, or an idea, your brain goes into underdrive, building that dream world in your subconscious with the help of your imagination. “A daydream, in this sense, is just a means of eavesdropping on those novel thoughts generated by the unconscious. We think we’re wasting time, but, actually, an intellectual fountain really is spurting,” writes Jonah Lehrer in a New Yorker article on the merits of daydreaming. According to a recent study led by the Harvard psychologists Daniel Gilbert and Matthew A. Killingsworth, people let their minds wander forty-seven per cent of the time they are awake. Daydreaming gives us an ability to merge ideas from the subconscious world and bring forth solutions. Often cool and unexpected solutions.
This year why not goal set from this oblique view?
Try this: When you go out, carry a blank journal and pencil with you. Then, ask the universe for a sequence of signs, tips, clues about your next step. As things happen during your day that stand out as unusual, jot them down or draw a picture of that experience or thought. What I mean by stand out is that you might be turning over a problem or idea, when suddenly you hear a song that seems to respond to what you were thinking. Or someone says something unusual and your brain highlights it as “huh, that’s weird.” Or you see a bumpersticker on a car that seems meaningful to you. The situation feels like what is sometimes called a “waking dream” or synchronistic experience.
At the end of your day, look at your list or pictures of odd things and add them up. Make meaning out of them. If they don’t make sense right away, go do something else for while, and come back to it later. Eventually it will become clear and you’ll be able to take steps towards achieving those things. What I love about daydreaming a new direction or change is I can count on myself doing it almost 50% of the time and when I daydream about the things I want more of, those positive things, it pulls me into a better frame of mind and opens the door to more possibilities.
With the change of the year, comes the opportunity to turn up the heat on your relationship with the daydreaming you.
Love to your and yours, have a happy and safe holiday week!