Why daydreaming works for your career
How structured daydreaming can help you get ahead in life
Writer’s note: This post was originally published in Medium’s “We Need to Talk” blog series on June 25, 2019.
I was a pretty good kid in school, but there were two things I would occasionally get report card checks for: talking and daydreaming. The latter one was especially pronounced in third grade with a teacher I absolutely could not stand. She did horrible things like twist your earlobe if you couldn’t answer a multiplication question correctly.
Instead of dealing with these antics, I just ignored her completely and tuned out into another world. I think she hated the silent treatment more than students who mouthed off, so I used it as a defense mechanism. My parents were concerned about me zoning out in her class, but I have no regrets.
As an adult, zoning out has kept me out of countless arguments and fights — although it was classified as “icing people out” by one particularly racist supervisor I like even less than my third-grade teacher. After countless accusations that I sometimes acknowledged and other times remained silent about, I walked off. It was one of the smartest and most peaceful career decisions I have ever made. And it was structured daydreaming that got me to turn in my two-weeks notice.
Structured daydreaming (focusing on real-life goals that could very well happen in the coming months) could leave you feeling driven and optimistic about your future.
When daydreaming hurts and helps
Daydreaming can look to others as though you are ignoring them. They’re not wrong. But in its defense, daydreaming has some perks that creative writers, entrepreneurs and other dream seekers are familiar with.
That’s why a Harvard study recently caught my attention. Harvard researchers studied 2,200 adults (ages 18 to 88) via regular texting, asking them what they were doing and thinking. What I found interesting was approximately 46.9% of them were off in another world, pondering on positive topics like work promotions or being on a small island.