During a VIP dinner at our last Sales Leadership Conference in Chicago, I asked senior sales leaders what they have done to reward themselves and find relief from the stress caused by tough economic challenges. One executive revealed that he has treated himself to classical guitar lessons. As a child he dreamed of learning the instrument but never found the time to act on his dream. His journey into the world of artistic expression has opened his mind to a state of bliss that he is able to apply to his business, which enhances his performance. He explained how the serenity of music helps him stay calmer during days filled with chaos.
One of the most interesting ideas for rewarding oneself came from a sales executive who decided to spend more time daydreaming. He realized that we live in a culture obsessed with efficiency, where we fill every waking moment with work. He cited a recent article that explained how daydreaming can lead to epiphanies, valuable insights, and creative problem solving. I did some research and discovered that daydreams can turn into a powerful achievement tool. Here are some facts:
1. The Invention of Post-It Notes sprung from a daydream
2. Albert Einstein found that when he allowed himself to disengage from the confines of disciplined study, his thoughts became unbounded, which helped him refine the Theory of Relativity. He once explained that he got the idea for his theory of relativity by gazing at sunbeams on a summer day, and fantasized about what it would be like to ride on them.
3. Brain imaging technology shows how daydreams activate our brain. Professor Kalina Christoff of the University of British Columbia in Canada found that during periods where the mind wanders – without us being aware – the brain is very active and productive. When we focus on a trivial task – brain activity drops.
4. Daydreams can be harnessed through guided imagery to improve a wide variety of health disorders. One of the pioneers is Belleruth Naparstek, a psychotherapist, an innovator in guided imagery, healing, and intuition and the author of the book Guided Imagery
While daydreaming is not recommended while we’re engaged in conversation, for example, it pays to let the conscious mind shift into neutral. Many scientists argue that daydreaming has a purpose; it is a productive, cognitive event that plays a critical role in creativity.
Such successful actors as Harvey Keitel and Meg Ryan have incorporated dream work into their careers, which allows them to perform with greater authenticity. Meg Ryan once said that inspiration doesn’t always come from the outside; it can come from going inside our minds. The French filmmaker Louis Malle once described how he engaged in a series of daydreams that led him to create a script for a new movie. Such creative business leaders as Sir Richard Branson daydream in order to leapfrog their daily preoccupations and create mental bridges to new possibilities.
Daydreaming is like surfing a cloud that’s bursting with possibilities - they are hidden while our conscious mind is held captive by reality. Like Einstein's daydream of surfing a ray of light transformed the modern world, we have the potential to transform our lives with one productive daydream. Inject more daydreams into your life so you'll have a better chance of living the life of your dreams. As Henry Wadsworth Longfellow suggested, “Sit in reverie and watch the changing color of the waves that break upon the idle seashore of the mind.”
"Daydreaming is like surfing a cloud
that’s bursting with possibilities -
they are hidden while our conscious
mind is held captive by reality."