All those who wander are not lost…

I read an interesting blog by Jonah Lehrer on The New Yorker’s website awhile back that got me to thinking about daydreaming. The June 5, 2012 blog entry addressed a 2010 publication by two Harvard psychologists that lauded the virtues of daydreaming. In this blog entry Lehrer also discussed other studies that have likewise found utility in daydreaming.  The bottom line is people’s minds wander 47% of the time they are awake and it is a good thing.

Of course, you don’t want daydreaming to occur during tasks that need a high level of concentration (such as heart surgery or navigating a vehicle), but if you are trying to tap into creative problem solving or your innovative mind - please do wander.  The research has found that daydreaming (and night dreaming as well) allows the subconscious to mull over things and produce the type of ideas and solutions that often do not come as easily when intense focus is utilized.

As Jonathan Schooler from the University of California at Santa Barbara stated to Lehrer:

“We always assume that you get more done when you’re consciously paying attention to a problem.  That’s what it means, after all, to be ‘working on something.’ But this is often a mistake. If you’re trying to solve a complex problem, then you need to give yourself a real break, to let the mind incubate the problem all by itself. We shouldn’t be so afraid to actually take some time off.”

Want to be an Einstein?  Then you must allow yourself to wander my friends.  In regard to daydreaming remember the saying – all those who wander are not lost.  Not lost indeed…they are subconsciously finding. ;-)

Day one thousand one hundred and thirty-eight of the new forty – obla di obla da

Ms. C

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About Ms. C

I teach at NDSU...but I remain a student of life with all the enthusiasm that entails. My favorite saying is, "Sometimes you have to take the leap and build your wings on the way down." In the new forty that is what I am doing...building my wings.
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One Response to All those who wander are not lost…

  1. Dan C says:

    I loved this article.

    I just want to point out that the original saying is “not all those who wander are lost.” It is from a poem by J.R.R. Tolkein.

    Thank you for an inspiring piece of thought.

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