Some call it wasting time.; some wishful thinking. To me, daydreaming is critical to a creative state of mind. And, in my corner of the agency, it’s how we roll. Actually, I suspect everyone needs to give themselves permission to daydream. An effective 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. In school, teachers shook their heads at those of us who stared out the window. Today, I’m a firm believer in daydreaming. Why? It's a neat, even clever remedy break through writer’s block or the walls we artists sometimes hit.
Our brains need to be set free sometimes to roam around and see things in another dimension. 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 productive type of it. The change in alpha brain waves scientists view in the visual cortex confirm the busy work 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 minds can’t see.
Some of the largest, 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, and yes, look out the window. It may look like procrastination. 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 bullet to 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.’ So, go ahead. Get lost – in thought.