Daydreaming has a bad rep in this world and no matter how many studies get published, it continues to maintain its position in the list of things non – productive people do.
Daydreamers are often equated with degrees of laziness. These are those everyday people who you write off as Major Tom or space cadets just because they have their spans of zoning out into their own world.
Even though each one of us spends roughly 50% of our ‘wide awake’ life in a mind wandering state, there are dozens of studies that link day dreaming to being unhappy and not satisfied in life. So does that mean each one of us is living our life wrong? Does this really play that big a role in the underachievement of our personal goals?
“Daydreaming is looked upon negatively because it represents ‘non – doing’ in a society that emphasises on productivity. We are under constant pressure to do, achieve, produce and succeed.” – John McGrail, a clinical hypnotherapist in Los Angeles.
Humans are forever testing their limits and in another radical new theory of human intelligence says that having your head high up in the clouds might actually be beneficial as it helps people engage with the pursuits that mean the most to them on a personal level rather than just professional.
So does that mean daydreaming can actually boost your productivity?
Daydreaming is something that everyone does – it is God’s way of saying that you need to keep in touch with yourself in this ever demanding world. Remember the quote, “each one of us is born for a reason”?
There are billions of people out there and each one has a unique ‘this is it’ moment, which may or may not align with what you’re currently doing. Sometimes it is about yourself and not just about living up to other’s expectations. Giving yourself a couple of minutes to think and dream away to glory isn’t as bad as it is portrayed.
A good shake, a perk up call to shed the slack and take control – that’s exactly what daydreaming does for you.
You could have dozens of people around you to give you motivational talks on how you can be the best at what you’re doing or how you could improve your overall productivity; but let’s be honest here for a minute – who knows you better than yourself?
This isn’t to say that your regular desk job is not good enough or that you didn’t think it through when deciding the path for your life; it is just to say that dreams, personal goals change with time and we need to be more open to accepting them.
I could be sitting here and writing for a multinational company because “Hey! This is what I dreamed of about 5 years back” or I could be actually sitting at my desk, thinking of ways in which I could write better, be better and be my own boss!
People around tend to curb your dreams by constantly telling you how you need to focus on one thing at a time. Honestly, they are not wrong – you need to focus on one thing to be able to give it your best shot – keeping your feet in different boats at a time might just get you drowned in that beautiful water body called ‘profession’.
Spacing out for 5 minutes – thinking only about yourself, where you see yourself 10 years down the line or your retirement plan isn’t going to really affect the quality of your current task. Why, you ask? Well, because if it is the lavish retirement plan that you’re dreaming of, you’re clearly going to have to put your best foot forward doing what you do.
Didn’t daydreaming just pull you out of that stuffy life of yours? The humdrum routine that was getting the best of you and lowering the oh-so-hyped ‘productivity’?
“Daydreams allow you a range of possibilities, which in the hard cold light of reality, aren’t possible.” – Stuart Twemlow, Director – The Hope Program, The Menninger Clinic, Houston.
Unlike the detriments often listed with daydreaming, here are a few reasons that might just nudge you to “dream on”:
- It helps you relax – taking you away from your stressful routine to a place high up in the mountains (even if it is only for a couple of minutes), can be far more relaxing than having to stare at the screen non – stop.
- It kills boredom – didn’t I just mention that trip to the mountains? That 15 km trek along the beautiful view? Sure shot way of snapping out of your mundane routine.
- It motivates you – don’t you want that lavish retirement plan of yours to materialise? Get to work and show them who’s the best!
- It helps you keep in touch with yourself – it takes you back to your beliefs, values and personal goals that have been ignored for a long time thanks to this demanding world.
Wondering when was the last time you day dreamt? The last “Aha!” moment you captured?
I don’t blame you if you can’t really place it because there are so many times that we are so busy doing what we are doing, we ignore or slap ourselves out of the mind wandering state to be able to deliver the productivity expected from us.
But now that you’re partially convinced about daydreaming not being that bad an activity, here’s how you can make sure to not miss the next ‘Aha!’ moment in your life:
- Be curious – Did you just suddenly dream of excelling at a course in a top B school? Time for some retrospection. Don’t take your daydreams lightly; they might be trying to guide you to your personal goals.
- Dream on – Let your mind wander! Let it take the steepest roads you can possibly think of; it only lets you know the potential you hold. Talk about creativity?
- Coincidences matter – Two daydreams that were linked to one another? A successful career in writing and the lavish retirement plan. Keep your mind open to coincidences; you never know what you might stumble across.
- Trust your gut – If it tells you to take the turn on your right, do it. There is no way you can go wrong in dreams. Take the chance, try it out and if it all works out, don’t wait anymore.
If you’re someone who’s probably going to take more than just a quick read to believe in day dreaming all over again, head over to Amazon right away and order a copy of Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined, by Scott Barry Kaufman, NYU Psychology Professor.