Call somebody a daydreamer and you might as well be alleging they’re a total waste of space. The word is so often used in the pejorative, that the positive and significant aspects of daydreaming have been totally forgotten.
I claim that daydreaming is a special ability to rise above the ineffective frenzy and pointless busy-work that characterises most people’s work day to a moment of crystalline, lucid, clarity of thought in which pure possibility and potential can be explored, examined, visualized, rehearsed and vicariously experienced. Far from being zoned-out space cadets, those that can daydream at will are those that have the special ability to exercise extreme focus and concentration on imagined ideas, free from the clutter and disruptions of their real life.
What a fabulous ability that is! To leave your body and your reality momentarily, in order to think of new things, better ways, a brighter future and things that never existed, but could. I would go as far as to claim that the ability to daydream can and should be taught, or more correctly “re-taught”, because I believe we all have the ability as children, but lose it as we grow older. I think a world full of people that can daydream can also solve some of our most pressing problems, without the constraints of the status quo. What is daydreaming if not the ability to be free from all constraints and exercise the myriad possible ways that things could be?
Employers in the time-is-money world see daydreaming as a waste of both, but they fail to appreciate the value in the thoughts being thought through. If only they knew! They don’t see that this time spent daydreaming may transcend money. On the other hand, some see daydreamers as a threat because for a small moment in time, they are unshackled and not following orders. They might even be planning something that causes big changes! In the face of such attitudes, the very act of daydreaming is an act of supreme, heroic courage.
Human progress depends upon the daydreamers. Daydreamers daydream the future. They daydream solutions. They think them through in intricate detail. Daydreamers often invent.
Daydreaming is like meditation and helps you to relax. Daydreamers are better at managing conflict, having played the arguments out in their heads before the confrontation. Daydreaming refreshes you and helps you to be more productive, since the daydream is like as very small vacation from the situation you are in. Daydreamers are seldom bored and can escape their boredom at any moment. That has to be good for mental health.
Daydreamers have better relationships because they are able to live their relationships with their significant others, even when they are apart. Being able to imagine being with their loved ones is a boost for their relationships when they are together in reality.
Most importantly, the daydreamer is a clear thinker in the real world, because they have used their daydreaming time to sort out the contradictions and confusions. Clarity comes from doing the hard work of thinking things through in their daydreams.
To quote one of my all time favourite comedians, Steven Wright, “I was trying to daydream, but my mind kept wandering.” Hold that thought. 🙂