Monday, January 30, 2012

How to become a daydream achiever

Throughout my undistinquished and limited scholastic career there was always one constant I can remember. Every report card I carted home to my disappointed mother always seemed to be annotated with this....."Edward could do much better but he spends too much time in class daydreaming". Lucky for me, as Mark Twain said...'I never let my schooling interfere with my education'.

My teachers were in full agreement that the only thing that seperated me from doing my mother proud was my lack of discipline and interest. I'm sure if they could of they would have advised mom to lower her expectations with this child. But little did they know that while I was daydreaming about riding my bike or that pretty little thing across the aisle, I was actually developing my creative muscle. I was growing more neuron connections for future use.

"our brains are much more activated when we daydream"

That is the findings of a recent study published by the prestigous Academy of Sciences. They discovered that the activity of numerous regions of our brains increases as our minds wander. Previously they had believed that our brains went quiet or at least in some kind of slow motion when we daydream. The common belief was that mind-wandering was associated with laziness.....FOOLS!

"We spend almost half of our waking hours mind wandering" (unless you are me, in which case it can be much longer)

Isn't that amazing? Half of our waking hours the light is on but no one is home?   (46.9% for you serious types)  This can be both good and bad. We can be worrying about the future or ruminating about the past. That's what I call..'Mind Wandering Trouble'. No good can come from this. As some wise guy once said...worry is using your imagination to make things worse.

The there is 'Mind Wandering Neutral'. This is when you are listening to music or watching the idiot box. You are letting an outside influence do the thinking for you.

So what's good about mind wandering you ask? Good question grasshopper and fortunately for you I have an answer. I call it 'Mind Wandering Fun'. This when you are conjuring up good ideas, day dreaming about a beautiful future or planning some venture.

So the good or the bad depends on what type of mind wandering your are doing. Most folks let the mind wander in which ever direction it wants to go. But I got the idea that if the mind wanders almost half of our waking hours, why not try and direct and harness its powers to my advantage? Brilliant, huh?   And so was born......

A mini course in 'Mind Wandering Fun'

1. I have discovered that the best way to direct your wandering thoughts is to give your mind a question. The answers to which will be to your benefit. So for instance, I started out with the question...How can I use mind wandering to my advantage?

2. Write your question out on an index card. This is really important because without a visual reminder your mind might lose its way and end up in mind wandering trouble.    Even if you have the card as a visual reminder that tricking mind of yours will still wander off.   However, every time I see the card it brings me back on thought. 

3. Jot down on the back of the card all the ideas or answers that come to you.   In the car I use a digital voice recorder to record my ideas.

4. Put the card where you will see it often. I put one in the car, another by my computer and another on the bathroom mirror. (my son see's them and thinks I'm nuts but oh well it works) Without the constant visual reminder your mind will lose its way. Maybe that's why people have told me in the past....have you  lost your mind Eduardo!

5. It's important that you take note of ALL your thoughts and ideas ASAP. It has been my experience that if you don't record ideas they are so easily forgotten. Also, its like if don't immediately record your ideas you get cut off from the source they came from.

6. Stay with one question until you've either found what you were looking for or you get bored with it. If you get bored with it...change it to another question. You can always come back to the original question later with fresh eyes.

7. I sometimes end up with 4 or 5 cards different cards filled with ideas generated from one question. I then take them and review them to see which ideas I like the best (the evaluation step). However, most the time I'll come up with one idea that soars above the rest and I know it the moment I get it.   

That's it 7 easy steps. I wrote my book using this 'Mind Wandering Fun' technique.   I just wrote out the chapter name on a card and started collecting ideas for the chapter. From there it was easy to organize the thoughts and write the chapter.

I generate ideas for businesses using the same technique. I plan my talks the same way.   It's fun, its easy and it works! I hope you try it because I wouldn't want you to let your mind wander....and lose it!

When I'm daydreaming for ideas it helps me to be doing some automatic physcial activity.   Driving works really well but then there have been times when I got so deep in my mind wanderings that I missed my destination and kept on trucking down the road.  When I'm stuck for ideas I sometimes just go for a drive to nowhere in particlular. 

Walking works wonder as well.   Some of my best ideas came while walking on a tropical beach.  Isn't that beautiful.  That's why I must take a Mexican vacation every winter.   Oh, I know what you are thinking....wouldn't it work as well in a cold Canadian environment?   It might but I'm not going to chance it

The dirty little secret you must not tell anyone (especially women)

I also find doing activities like; cutting the grass, vacuuming and even washes the dishes by hand provides the physical distraction that frees my mind to wander.   So you can see why that information must not fall into the hands of women....what good can come from that?

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