They who dream by day are more cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only at night. – E.A. Poe*
We have written about dreams before, and for good reason. What else in life can offer so much pleasure and escape from the confines of reality, yet not cost a dime or leave a scar (assuming you don’t identify as a somnambulist.)
In addition to imaginative conjuring during the witching hours, it’s high time to celebrate the brain activity that occurs when eyes are open, yet focus on the external world is relaxed. We may think daydreaming is a small part of our cognitive motoring, but it actually accounts for up to half of all our waking thoughts.
So rather than spend half your life with your mind-wandering in a state of semi-conscious incapacitation, exercising a bit of discipline on your flights of fancy can prove most rewarding. “Deliberate daydreaming” is both good fun and 132% necessary to generate ideas that can propel the world forward. Especially as we enter a crucial period where our very lives depend upon solving big issues like economic inequality, climate change and how brick and mortar stores can overcome the amazon death grip.
Constructive daydreaming involves an intentional shift in focus away from whatever is in front of you (computer monitor, packed subway train, half-eaten fruit salad) to the “default mode network” of the brain, which can spark better ways of problem-solving. Pre-loading an area of interest before taking off for la-la land can focus one’s dreaming, making for time spent (somewhat more) wisely.
Of course, some people view daydreaming as a form of procrastination and insist that it’s bad for business. The suits in corporate are apt to chastise an employee with their feet up, pencil slack, and a thousand mile stare on their face. But don’t let the nabobs of negativism get you down. Instead, hand them this article from a Harvard-branded “strategic facilitator” and tell them to leave you alone for the next several days.
And if you want to increase your Autopilot Cogitation Potential® a hundred fold, we suggest you pack your thoughts and fly to Daydream Island Resort, reopening this month after being whacked by Cyclone Debbie two years ago.
Finally, a word of caution: if you find it difficult to emerge from the spaced-out state once you enter it, you may have developed a condition known as “Maladaptive Daydreaming.” If you’re finding yourself drooling onto your desk, or idling at a green light until the driver behind you knocks on your windshield with a crowbar, there’s help for you here.**
*While some might question the benefits of daydreaming like Mr. Poe, his work was certainly the better for it.
**Like all addictions, compulsive fantasizing must be self-diagnosed.