Some call it wasting time; some wishful thinking. Me? I think daydreaming can trip off your most creative state of mind and, in my corner of the world, it’s the best way to come up with the next big idea.
Actually, I suspect everyone needs to give themselves ‘permission’ to daydream. A critical way to problem solve, visualize or find energy, daydreaming allows us to connect to the most complex regions of our brain. Growing up I remember being told to stop wasting time. Teachers shook their heads at those of us who stared out windows from time to time. Today, I’m a firm believer that daydreaming can be a neat remedy to writer’s block or to avoid the walls we creatives often hit.
Our brain needs to be freed sometimes to roam around and see things in another dimension. And daydreaming is the best way to expand that special part of our brain we call insight. When scientists researched intuitive understanding, they found that instead of daydreaming being the antithesis of ‘work’ —it can be the most important type of productivity. The change in alpha brain waves scientists view in the visual cortex, confirm that busy is being done when we think we are only ‘daydreaming. When an idea strikes ‘out of the blue’, it really describes the stores of knowledge, memory, and experience we’re able to access only when we’re daydreaming. Those lightbulb moments are actually thoughts making connections our rational mind can’t see.
Some of the most innovative companies in the world offer their key employees time and space to think creatively – daydream.
Einstein, who did his best thinking on long, rambling walks, knew that without imagination, knowledge was just a set of random facts. He once said: "When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come close to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge."
When faced with a new creative project, I’ve been known to do some yoga moves, leaf through magazines, wander through social media and yes, look out the window. It may look like procrastination and, okay, sometimes it is. But coming up with original ideas, is work, people! Out of the box creative demands out of the box thinking. Unlike the learned mechanics of graphic design, guidelines for public relations or marketing manuals, there’s no magic wand for the Big Idea.
If, as I suspect, a visionary is just an upscale word for daydreamer, give yourself permission to let your mind wander. Explore possibilities without your inner censor. Free associate. Success belongs to those who can dream up ideas and make them happen.
As Ferris Bueller said, ‘Life moves pretty fast some times. If you don’t look around sometimes, you could miss it.’
Go ahead. Get lost – in thought.