The Creativity of DaydreamingJul 02, 2010
by Dennis Blank
photo via pixabay
The New York Times Tricks Me Into "Visualizing"
Dear Coach Lou: Well, if you ever want to leave a place without regrets I recommend that you arrange for the temperature to hover in the mid-90s with similar humidity levels for the last 3-4 days of packing, and let it peak on the day you are leaving town. Man, I pulled out of the driveway and never even turned my head I was so glad to get out of there. Plus it was kind of weird. I'd had several months to say my goodbyes in New York after I left my job in October, so this return visit for six weeks was a non-sequitur in the quest for Life 3.0. I did have a chance to see some friends, which was fun, but it was all about the past and I'm ALL ABOUT THE FUTURE BABY!
As I write this I'm on the deck of our cottage overlooking a little spring fed, crystal-clear lake, ringed by the low hills of the Pioneer Valley of central Massachusetts. I'm no longer so distracted by the past, as was brought on by the move and the need to sort through all the old photos and mementos. Instead, I am warmed by the new summer sun by day, and caressed by gentle mountain breezes in the evenings. Each offers its own unique range of distractions, but there is ample time to think about the next steps I need to take in life.
I think with a clear head here, too. Upon emerging from the lake one is not just refreshed and rejuvenated, it's as if you'd never been old or tired. The body, the mind and the whole world are young and clean and new again.
So far, I am somewhat embarrassed to admit, that has mostly meant cutting back on my activities. I'm taking a summer break from writing The Daily Blank so I can use the time to work on some other writing that has been getting sort shrift. Also, I have decided that I am not going to go to Burning Man this year. As I started looking into the logistics it became apparent that it was going to require much more work to get ready than I am willing to put into it this year. I'm already planning trips to Detroit, Vermont, Ohio, Las Vegas/San Francisco, and Santiago, Chile in the next six months. Burning Man is going to have to wait for '11. I can't use up all the fun this year.
There was an interesting piece in the New York Times this week about the benefits of day dreaming. Many scientists now believe that we are prone to uncover more creative, problem-solving solutions when we allow our brains the time and freedom to daydream. It may also help us better focused on long-term goals. I plan to test this theory very, very thoroughly this summer.
You make me smile. I remember feeling the same way when I left Ohio. I never looked back and yet I know I still have lots of friends there who will let me drop in when I need to re-connect. Now it is BACK TO THE FUTURE!
It sounds like where you are now is the beginning of Life 3.0. All the rest of that stuff from October on was just getting you ready for this. How serene it sounds and yes, day dreaming is creative, a lot like visioning. Wow those researchers in the NY Times are really smart. I wish I had known this stuff years ago. I always thought I suffered from "Shiny Object Syndrome" but now I know I was just letting my mind slip into creative day dreams.
While you won't be attending Burning Man and maybe losing your mind altogether, you are filling in the time with lots of wonderful trips and exposure to who knows what? I personally am glad you aren't going because that still gives me a chance to go with you next year.
Oh, yeah, now the coaching part. What I am happy to hear is that you will continue working on some writing and maybe someday you will let me know what that is. And from your blog it is obvious that you get very energized by things you observe outside of your normal element, so hopefully you will weave some stories from your travels into your writing.
Finally, I sense the hammock swaying, the crickets chirping and the lapping of water on the shore. Put your feet up and let your mind wander. Make a note of what you discover on those trips too.
Coach Lou is a co-founder of Chain Reaction Partners, an executive and leadership training consultancy in Boulder, Colorado. d'blank is the author of The Daily Blank blog.