Dreamtime: You Need It To Grow

February 20, 2009

You’re a marketer, a manager, a small business operator trying to handle a dozen different chores, or maybe you’re toiling in some corporation and hoping to climb the ladder.

No matter what you do for a living, I bet I can describe your day: Rush in, fire up the computer, check your schedule for the day’s tasks; have a meeting or two; get rolling on the stuff that’s piled up since you last left. Grab a quick lunch. Maybe read some back stuff that’s been untouched for a while. Back to work.

Suddenly it’s over and you’re joining the commute back home.

Any dream time in there? Not likely.

The result is that you’re a kind of drone, spending all your time on tasks, instead of creating or thinking. This has always been a problem with industrial society, but it’s become even bigger in the modern world with all its gadgets that can occupy your time.

But if you want to grow as a person, a business operator, or in your career, you’ll need to take some time each day and spend it dreaming.

Ideation, problem solving, thinking, mulling — dreaming — is what your job is really all about. It’s the strategy part of your life: The rest is mostly just implementation and follow through.

Here are several tools to use when you want to build dream time into your daily life:

Self hypnosis: This isn’t the stuff of stage shows. It’s really just extreme relaxation — a flow state, or “being in the zone” that allows the subconscious mind to go to work, usually in a very visual way that’s almost like a movie running in your head. But instead of simply watching the movie, you can be the director, using it to address a specific problem or subject. In self hypnosis, you carry on a conversation with your subconcious, which is always working, whether you realize it or not. Often this subconscious is a kind of mental avatar that helps you work out a solution to a problem, or simply lets you be creative. If you decide to try this, it’s best to be hypnotized first by a professional so you can get into a hypnotic state quickly.

Meditation: Many people like this, especially now that yoga’s popular again. Meditation is in a sense the opposite of self-hypnosis in that it lets you “empty your mind” so that thoughts can just bubble up to the surface. You’ll never completely empty your mind, of course, because the mind doesn’t like to be empty: it’s wired to solve problems, so will immediately work on anything that’s bothering you. But meditation allows those thoughts to rise to the surface and often dissipate. It’s a way of clearing the mind of negatives or clutter.

Exercise: Many people pick a time during the day when they can run, walk, work out, or whatever they do for exercise. But not many convert it to dream time. It’s suited to it though, because in most exercise you are going through repetitive actions that don’t require thought, which frees up your mind for other things. I’ve known several poets, writers, and others who do their best work when they’re exercising: all have shared one thing. They direct their mind to a specific task. So stop watching others while you’re working out, and start dreaming.

Creativity techniques. There are many creative thinking techniques that can be employed if you simply let yourself use them in quiet moments, or dreamtimes. To do so, you have to put yourself in a creative state: calm, uninterrupted, and open minded. This is what the athletes call in the zone, or what cognition experts call a state of flow.

The main thing with any of these methods is consistency. It’s difficult to dream at first because you’re not used to it, but like any muscle, the brain responds much faster if it’s used regularly. So, yes you’re probably busy, but you have to keep using your dreaming muscles if they’re going to work optimally.

You’ll find after a while that it responds quite rapidly when you’re ready for your dream time.