Our brains are working frantically all the time even when you’re not aware of it.  The conscious mind controls our brains for only 5% of the time.  The other 95% is powered by our subconscious.

We know that the resting brain is never silent.  It’s ticking away through a variety of material gathered from your physical, emotional and mental pickings.  In fact, blood flow through the brain is only marginally less than when the brain is focused on a task based activity.  That’s a lot of action for a brain which is supposed to be idle.

Various theories have been proposed and their common link is that the resting state is the stage at which the brain builds its connections, creating memories, visioning the future and making sense of what has happened throughout the day or week.

Daydreams allow us to explore in safety.  We relive past events and change the endings.  We plan for the future and test out various choices.  We imagine wonderful worlds and experience the feelings associated with them.   A report in Psychology Today says that people who daydream about people and things close to them are more likely to have a higher level of life satisfaction and personal fulfillment.

Scientists have now created a virtual model of the brain that daydreams like humans do.  “They hope the model will help them understand why certain portions of the brain work together when a person daydreams or is mentally idle. This, in turn, may one-day help doctors better diagnose and treat brain injuries.”

So what does this all mean for you as leader and change manager?

It means that a little daydreaming now and then won’t hurt your team and might actually help it.   Daydreaming about current experiences can help your team members anchor them within their memories and aid their learning.  Daydreamers are actually contributing to their own sense of wellbeing and fulfillment at work.

As leader, you can build in opportunities for “structured daydreams” by encouraging your team to “picture the change” and experience it within the safety of their own minds.

Next time you see one of your team members staring blankly out the window, ask them what’s on their mind.  You might be surprised.

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