Daydreaming has become a challenge for me. I used to do it easily as a child, especially while sitting in school imagining I was somewhere else. Perhaps my logical brain is getting in the way. According to Albert Einstein, “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” How can we increase our imagination, and why should we bother to do so?
Are you still a daydream believer? I can only recall a few memories of using my imagination as a child. One involved staring at the ceiling of the church during Sunday mass, imagining the roof opening and toys pouring down from the rafters landing on the altar. Another involved crawling on the sidewalk in New York City at night on the Fourth of July, imagining myself as a soldier avoiding the spray of bullets and bombs as the fireworks exploded around me in every direction.
If we were to maintain this childhood skill throughout adulthood, just IMAGINE all the problems we’d be able to solve at work and in our relationships. Albert Einstein was a Daydreamer and a Doodler. Both activities helped him come up with solutions and tap into other concepts that he might not have otherwise considered. When we doodle, we force our brain to turn complex concepts into simpler visual elements. You don’t have to be an artist or be ‘good’ at drawing to make doodling work for you. Simple scribbles can sharpen your creativity, and boost productivity, focus and mood. Lots of people doodle in school, during meetings and while on the phone. It helps us listen better. Sometimes those images in the margins of the page reveal subconscious thoughts that turn into golden ideas.
Did you ever wonder why you get so many ideas staring at the sky or looking out at the ocean? The color blue is known to enhance performance on creative tasks. So all that cloud gazing we did as children actually helped develop our creativity. Perhaps when considering redecorating the home office, explore shades of blue. Otherwise stare out the window multiple times per day to stimulate the brain.
Most of my creative ideas come to me when I am walking or driving, not when I am stuck sitting at the computer. The movement helps us meander gently through our minds. You can follow a curve of thought as it bends your brain until you find yourself on another plane of reality where inspiration awaits in hidden chambers of the psyche. Wander and get lost because you will always see something new. Everything is new to children, but we adults get stuck in our routines. Walk down a different street or drive to another town just to see how the change of scenery inspires something new.
When children see a sloping lawn or incline, they see an opportunity to either roll down the landscape which becomes an alpine slide, or climb up the grassy hill which becomes a walled fortress. But as adults, we simply see an opportunity to get hurt or dirty. We can still be playful and not pull a muscle. Playing board games or reading magical realism, myths and fairy tales can help us awaken creativity and expand our perception.
So go ahead and get your head in the clouds. Seek out some pockets of blue as you imagine the shifting shapes becoming a parade of platypuses. Meander through your neighborhood on foot, or drive to a new city altogether to explore while using your five senses. And instead of capturing everything on Instagram, try doodling the new places you’ve experienced. Be like Einstein. Awaken your inner genius.