Have you ever been accused of being a daydreamer?
If so, you were probably given a bad rap because it was a way of criticizing you for some perceived “non-doing” state.
Daydreamers slip into a short-term detachment from their immediate surroundings. They find themselves in a trance-like state imagining they were somewhere else. Some call this fantasy, others idle minds, but in reality it is often some of the most productive thinking we ever do.
Why then does daydreaming matter? It is the
- Driver of creativity. When our analytic mind is disengaged we begin to make connections between disparate pieces of information. And the boarder our interests the greater our creative ideas become. A characteristic of some of the most innovative leaders is that they have very eclectic interests, read widely, love the arts, travel extensively, and are curious about more than their immediate business areas.
- Explorer of new worlds. The focus in daydreaming is on the future. For a moment we let go of the constraints of the present and muse over what the world would be like in some imagined future. I heard of one CEO who asked her leaders “What would we be doing if we had an unlimited budget, no regulatory constraints, and had leaders that supported our ideas?”
- Engager of empathy. While daydreaming we turn off the analytic functions of the brain and cycle into our empathic self. We start allowing ourselves feelings that are typically suppressed. If we pay attention to this data we become more self-aware and connected to others. It gives our leadership a human touch.
Instead of viewing daydreaming as a self-indulgent act we need to make it a regular part of our daily schedule.
So kick back, switch off the conscious mind, and let your thoughts roam freely. After five minutes of this activity jot down the key ideas and feelings that bubbled to the surface.
Who knows what fantastic innovation will emerge and inspire new action.