A few days ago, I wrote a post about how Good Things Take Time and mentioned business author Tom Peters.
Although his writings are almost exclusively in the fields of business, management and leadership, one of his consistent pieces of advice that might sound counterintuitive is that one of the most important thing a manager/leader can do is daydream.
In fact, sometimes he goes as far as to suggest that a good leader should be daydreaming 50% of the time. I guess that would make me a superlative leader!
Kidding aside, the underlying premise is the simple psychological reality that ”brilliant” things tend to happen at pretty much any time other than when you specifically sit down with the intent of making brilliant things happen.
It’s a variation on Lateral Thinking and is based on the assumption that the most challenging problems require something above and beyond fundamental logic to solve.
The modern-day buzzword we often hear is ”think outside the box” but even that falls a bit short of being accurate… because what we really end up doing is completely eliminating the notion that there even is a box to think inside or outside of.
Uniquely creative and "inspired" ideas rarely come from a place of linear logic.
My friend Gabe might well be extremely driven and brilliant but he does himself a disfavor by staying locked in the paradigm that all problems can be overcome via simply applying enough elbow grease to get the job done.
Of course, that's simply how the traditional "Protestant Work Ethic" works, and that line of thinking is often what underlies what we now think of as Modern Capitalism. Which isn't actually capitalism, but that's a whole different story.
What has somehow been lost in translation was the value of loafing about and daydreaming.
I was a "dedicated" daydreamer as a kid, and my pervasive tendency to go there was typically labeled as some blend of laziness and unwillingness to "apply myself," mixed with that thing the psychdocs now like to call "ADHD."
What's noteworthy (at least to me) and was always overlooked was the fact that pretty much all my A+ school papers (at University, as well) tended to be based around ideas and inspirations that arrived in my head while staring out the window at little whirlwinds of fallen leaves dancing across the yard, or while jogging around the local golf course, or some similarly "useless" thing.
There's a certain irony in the fact that we (as a culture) so highly value creative solutions to our problems while at the same time often negatively judge the processes (or, more aptly, LACK of) that give rise to those solutions.
All these years later, we finally see companies have game rooms, gyms, basketball courts, paintball and other such things on their campuses... because someone finally grew wise to the truth behind the old saying:
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
Indeed, it does.
My "writing lab" this afternoon
Now, up top I remarked that this applied to management, but I believe it applies to any and all forms of creativity. For example, the majority of this post was "written in my head" this afternoon while I was scrubbing lichen and moss off the wooden deck railing at the back of our house.
I seldom write anything because I sit down in front of the screen with the intent to write anything.
For me, the value of daydreaming is that it creates the "inner space" in which inspiration and ideas start flowing. Since I don't have a lot of deck railings to scrub, most often the ideas come while I am cooking... particularly breakfast, since my brain is still pretty fresh and receptive around breakfast time.
Some might argue that daydreaming is basically "doing NOTHING" — my mother would certainly have agreed — but it's really not "nothing." Our brains are actually working quite actively while we're "doing nothing."
And now... I'm going to return to my daydreaming!
Thanks for reading, and have a great week!
How about YOU? When do your best ideas come? Do you enjoy daydreaming? Or do you just see it as a waste of time? Comments, feedback and other interaction is invited and welcomed! Because — after all — SOCIAL content is about interacting, right? Leave a comment — share your experiences — be part of the conversation!
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Created at 20210322 22:38 PDT