How utilization of nocturnal dreams – our sleeping intelligence – is deeply relevant for the corporate world
Our sleeping intelligence (our nocturnal dreams), is an immense resource for creative problem solving. For bringing about ideas and innovative products and solutions that the world would otherwise never have seen (yes, using your dreams proactively takes for you to recall them.
This is easy to learn, and it is more than simply documenting them, because what if there is nothing to document? (Do know that you dream 2 hours every night).
Throughout history numerous inventions have been made based on recalled dreams. Google (the underlying technical solution), Nike (the brand name), Paul McCartneys “Yesterday”-song (the melody), the periodic table (the idea of organizing all elements in terms of atomic number and elements having similar characteristics), are all examples of solutions coming out of recalled dreams.
Just as importantly, by tuning in on your dreams (learning how to recall them and trying to understand why you dream what you do), you increase your self-knowledge tremendously. E.g., by discovering what truly drives you. Maybe a deeply unconscious fear of not having what it takes, or conversely, a fear of not daring to be as resourceful as you in fact are.
In short, deeply unconscious psychological patterns greatly affecting your behavior as a leader and employee. Former President Barack Obama and deceased prime minister Winston Churchill are both examples of leaders who actively use (/used) the content of their dreams to get to know themselves deeply.
Sleeping intelligence, dream incubation and problem solving
Most people have tried going to bed with some kind of work-related or personal problem, and then waking up with a solution. In most cases this takes for us to recall our dreams, and since many can no longer recall their dreams, millions of great ideas and breakthrough solutions are lost at workplaces across the globe every day.
Recalling our dreams is an ability most of us lost early in life due dream power not being harnessed, due to our parents and society regarding dreams as “just dreams”.
Dream incubation in short is all about following specific steps to increase the likelihood that your nocturnal dreams will take up the challenge of helping you solve your specific business (or personal) problems, be it practical, or emotionally related. Or an important work-related or personal decision you are to take.
In a 1993-study, Deirdre Barrett (Harvard University) has found dream incubation to be immensely effective with more than half of study participants having a dream being about the problem incubated upon (already on the first night after having applied the method).
By learning how to dream incubate (also without currently being able to recall your dreams), employees and leaders will learn how to utilize this immense resource proactively.
Sleeping intelligence and deep personal insight as a leader and employee
Former President Barack Obama, and deceased prime minister Winston Churchill are as already mentioned both examples of leaders who actively worked with the content of their dreams. Both of them among other things used their dreams to early on discover that the main (unconscious) driver behind what they did was a deep and unconscious longing to finally be approved by their father.
When working with your dreams you get to know yourself deeply, which in turn leads you to become more authentic and, if a leader, lead from a very deep and very conscious place. It thus also helps you disentangle yourself from the status and power that normally comes along with having the title as leader.
When you understand that you are not just that (i.e., when your identity is not mostly bound up in being a leader), you for instance won’t fear being laid off to the same extent. This deep knowing of who you are, and why you lead makes you a much stronger, more authentic, more inclusive, and more compassionate leader.