Daydream Into Action



Daydreaming is a short-term detachment from one’s immediate surroundings, during which a person’s contact with reality is blurred and partially substituted by a visionary fantasy, especially one of happy, pleasant thoughts, hopes or ambitions, imagined as coming to pass, and experienced while awake. (Wikipedia)

Daydream: a pleasant visionary usually wishful creation of the imagination (Merriam-Webster)


According to these definitions of daydreaming, I don’t daydream. I have no visual imagination. When I “see” in my “mind’s eye”, the only things I ever see are blackness or lights. Mental images are not part of my brain’s processing capabilities. So, any definition of daydreaming that includes images doesn’t include me.

Scott Barry Kaufman’s prompt for Quest 2016 (What recurring daydream for 2016 inspires you to do business as unusual like never before?) has, therefore left me with a dilemma: make no response, or somehow twist this prompt into something I can use.

There is a theme emerging in the Quest 2016 community of people rejecting the premises of the prompts. I love witnessing the manifestations of this theme. When I am in a group going through a guided processes of any kind, but especially a process that involve self-reflection or personal growth, I get antsy when I see people following the teacher without question.

I am uncomfortable with unquestioning obedience to authority. Too much of history shows decent people doing bad things because they didn’t question authority and just did what was asked of them.

And, when it comes to personal growth, one of the most miraculous transformations to witness is when someone realizes that the rules they have internalized from some authority figure do not work for them and they not only generate new rules and standards for themselves but start to live from them. I love that as a coach, I am professionally obligated to take time to celebrate these moments with my clients. They are too precious to let slip.

When I drift into intellectual reverie, I often find myself musing upon life, the universe, and everything. I find myself in philosophical reflections, and wishes for a better world. And my version of a better world is where people see each other fully and love each other and our natural habitat with deep understanding and compassion.

And this daydream not only can inform my business, it must. My work is to help people show up in the world taking actions in alignment with their goals, standards, and sources of meaning. To do this, I must see them fully and help them see themselves fully. I must bring deep compassion to my work. I must hold forth the vision of my clients as creative, resourceful, whole, capable people and walk beside them into their own self-understanding.

Every action I take from designing a flyer to celebrating transformative actions taken by my clients can be informed and inspired by this dream of a world where seeing each other fully, deeply, and with love is a cultural habit.

Scott Barry Kaufman is one of the writers I read personally. He is scientific director of the Imagination Institute in the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania. He conducts research on the measurement and development of intelligence, imagination, and creativity. He is author of Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined (Basic Books 2013) and co-author of the upcoming book Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind (Perigee Books 2015). He is also host of The Psychology Podcast, co-founder of The Creativity Post, and he writes the blog Beautiful Minds for Scientific American