You ever just zone out in class and try to think of the million dollar idea that could get you out of all the debt you’re accumulating while you fail to pay attention? Same. At least once a day I sit in class and daydream about different ideas that could make me rich. Some people might say this is a bad thing because I’m missing information from class, but I challenge this is a good thing and I want to explain why you should never stop dreaming in college.
First let’s think about actual dreaming and how great it is. You get to see things that might never happen in real life, whether it’s good or bad, and it’s a miraculous feat of your brain no matter what. Now, sleep dreaming is important because it improves memory, lowers stress, and promotes creativity which carries over to daydreaming in college:
Sometimes projects call for creativity, like the one time I had a group project and we had to think of a new product and an entire marketing plan behind it. We knew how to do the planning, but we needed the product, which was the hardest part. Eventually we came up with the Friendzone App; basically an app to meet people of any gender in your area based on mutual interests with the strict purpose for friendships, not romantic intentions.
This idea was the spawn of a lot of daydreaming. For my part it came fro
m when I interned in Missouri over the summer and didn’t know anybody there. I just wanted a friend to show me around and grab a beer with and I wished there was a match.com for friends. My daydreaming helped take this abstract concept and make it more concrete and tangible (By the way, for those intrigued by the idea, I have the marketing plan and friends who are looking to start it up, so if you’re looking to invest let me know)
When we let our minds wander we do our best work, which is what creative people are able to do and creative people are often more successful, but daydreaming also improves your working memory.
Improves Working Memory
A study done at the University of Wisconsin (Ayyy!) shows daydreaming correlates with higher functioning in working memory. Additionally, daydreamers’ minds wander because they have too much extra capacity to focus on the tasks at hand. This means you can multitask and retain more information in the face of distractions.
So you can leave class, talk to a friend, pick up eggs at Kwik Trip because they’re only 99 cents compared to other superstores, and then still remember to fill out the job application your professor told you to do. Next time your teacher tells you to get your head out of the clouds just respond, “I’m strengthening my working memory!” and later you’ll be able to successfully encode that information and remember it for a later.
Along with improving your working memory, sometimes you just need to daydream to get your through the day and keep hoping you’ll come up with the next great idea. Until then, you can rejoice in the fact daydreaming also improves your mood.
It Improves Your’s and Others’ Moods
One day I sprinted home, burst through the door, forced my roommate Ryan to stop doing dishes, and sit down to help me plan our future brewery. I was so excited about this “million dollar idea” it rubbed off on Ryan and his exact words were, “I’m loving all this positive energy right now!”
It’s true, I thought of a brilliant idea for a brewery which I would share here but you may take it and that just wouldn’t be fair. I had the idea, the target audience, and the entire marketing plan laid out within an hour and a half. I was stoked! But I forgot one thing…I have no clue how to brew beer. Yeah I know, I can sit and learn the art and trade and eventually make a beer I could sit down and say, “This isn’t the worst thing I’ve ever tried to drink,” but it takes years to perfect that craft and I have student loans to pay off now!
My point isn’t the fact my dream of owning a brewery may never come true, but I did have a dream of doing so and that dream improved my mood, and Ryan’s, significantly. We felt like we could conquer the world after building this dream together and from that moment on in the day we felt motivated and got all of our work done faster than ever.
This is the main reason I dream, to improve my mood. I like to think of what-ifs, potential outcomes, and happy memories and when I think about these I immediately feel better and when one person feels happier it rubs off on others. Another reason I daydream is because of the potential that can come. There’s the old saying if you can dream it, you can do it, but I was once told, “If you don’t dream it, you won’t do it.” It’s a life lesson I learned from Chris Rudolph at the American Family Dream Bank in Madison, WI, and it’s true, if you don’t conceive a dream first, you will never take the steps toward that dream.
So I have the dream of opening a brewery or a coffee and doughnut shop and because I have that dream it means there is potential for it to come true. Maybe not now or in the near future but so long as I’m dreaming, I’m happy and content and working my way toward success.