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Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Power of Daydreaming - Guest Post from Tim Tyrell-Smith

The response to my Twitter-based request for guest posts has been incredible, with several cool strategic and creative thinkers writing their perspectives for Brainzooming.

Today's guest post is from
Tim Tyrell-Smith, a 20-year CPG marketer and, during the wee night hours, an author of two blogs. The first, Quixoting™ - A Quest for New Ideas, presents the contents of his idea book and inspires others to take action on their ideas. The second, Spin Strategy™ - Tools for Intelligent Job Search, was the first idea he acted on from his book, covering the strategy and psychology of successful job search and includes a website and a LinkedIn group. You can also follow Tim on Twitter in two places: @Quixoting and @SpinStrategy.

Wow - a full time job, two blogs, Twittering under multiple identities. Sounds familiar, so I'm not sure when Tim has time to daydream, yet I'm really excited he took time to share his perspectives on its creative role with us today:

It can happen when you are supposed to be doing other things. It can happen while you are doing what you are supposed to be doing. For those of us busy thinking almost all day long, daydreaming can be an easy exercise to provide some quiet time upstairs. Think of it as slowing to a jog in the middle of a running race or letting your car's idle push you along a normally busy freeway.

The power of daydreaming is what it lets your brain do: create - on its own time and in its own quantity.

Ever try creating really hard? You clench your teeth and tightly close your eyes only to find emptiness on the page where the ideas were supposed to show up? We've all had creative blocks from time to time, but when the brain stops all together, it's time for a little R&R.

Sometimes my kids catch me staring off into the window behind them. They say, "Dad? Hello. Are you in there?" For a few blessed seconds, my brain was cycling at its own pace with no pressure to solve, compute, or judge - a rare break from synapses constantly snapping.

So I'm going to suggest something: Our brains have two optimum speeds - really fast and barely moving. I know mine works this way, and it's important to appreciate the differences.

Really Fast

Really fast feels really good on most days. On the right projects when your heart is lined up with your brain, there's nothing like it. Yes, your brain can work without your heart, but I don't think the content is as good. These are the days when your brain is most productive, leaving the table, whiteboard, or computer screen covered with the residue of great production. Think of a great thoroughbred halfway through the Kentucky Derby; like that thoroughbred, your brain is meant to run hard.

Barely Moving

Here I'm not talking about sleep. Sleep is sleep. While evidently very beneficial to maintain sanity, sleep is not my focus, although I've had some amazing dreams!

The time I'm referring to is called daydreaming or quiet production. It's the time when you let the brain do what it wants without cracking a whip against its hindquarters. There is no race this time, only the soft shifting of the brain, side to side. I do this sometimes when I drive and keep the music and cell phone off. The only problem with this example is that you might miss your freeway exit from time to time. Let your mind go for a walk and you'll see some great sights. It's how I get what are my best ideas. There and in the shower, of course.

So, whether you plan a good daydream time or have it come upon you without warning, please do me a favor. Enjoy it.

And know that your brain thanks you for a brief moment's rest. -Tim Tyrell-Smith

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