Teens Who Bring Good Dreams to Life

y articles and videos are now posted on my new website: www.christineduvivier.com. You can find this article

Imagine you were asked to help improve the future prospects of Jill, a high school junior with a GPA of 2.0 who daydreams in English, History, and Spanish. What would you advise Jill to do?

a) Get screened for a learning disability and, if needed, take medication to focus.
b) Visualize a report card with all “A”s.
c) Both a and b.
d) Keep on dreaming.
e) None of the above.

If you answered, “keep on dreaming,” congratulations. You may already know that daydreaming can lead to better life satisfaction by improving relationships and boosting creativity. If not-- or if you answered a, b, c, or e, please read on.

Dream Relationships

Daydreaming may not be the first word that comes to mind when you think of ways to improve your love life, but this is one of the surprising scientific findings cited by author Jonah Lehrer in his article, “Daydream Achiever,” (Lehrer, p. C3). By imagining a variety of scenarios and testing them in our minds, we role-play internally and then take action in our real-lives to create the relationships we want.

Daydreaming and Creativity

Scientists have also found that daydreaming fosters abstract thinking, says Lehrer, by allowing us to make the new connections and develop the new ideas that are the heart of creativity. Ask Arthur Fry. Arthur was a daydreamer and one day in church, instead of listening to the sermon, his mind went off on a tangent. He started thinking about the paper scraps he used for bookmarks and how they were always falling out of his hymn book (Lehrer, C1).

Now it may be that Arthur missed an important message from his minister that day, but let’s all give thanks for his distraction -- it brought us the eternally useful Post-it® Notes.

Creativity and Economic Success

Fry’s creative new idea not only gave us walls covered with colorful reminders, it gave the 3M company more than $1 Billion a year in revenue, reports Greg Beato. This is just one example of the link between creativity and economic success.
Professor Richard Florida says that the “creative class” is now the fastest-growing part of our economy and will continue to be our decisive economic advantage in the future. The core professions in this class range from technology to sports to the arts and they develop best in communities that foster diversity—of ideas, cultures, interests, and abilities (Florida, 2002).

This is great news for all teens – but especially for those in what I affectionately term, “The Bottom 80,”TM—those who are not in the top 20% of their classes. I found that students in The Bottom 80 TM have the strengths and gifts to thrive in the dynamic world Florida describes (see http://www.positiveleaders.com/ for more details).

It could also be good news for students like Jill, the high school daydreamer in question at the start of this article. In a world where connecting diverse ideas is a crucial competitive advantage, you’d expect daydreamers to be revered. Sadly, though, this is not yet the case. Adolescents who daydream are often seen as unmotivated, underachievers, or problems that need to be “fixed,” tutored, or medicated.

What’s Right with Daydreaming Teens?

When you think about it, daydreaming is paying attention—it’s giving your attention to something more engaging than the reality in front of you at the moment. That’s what happens with ADD students, for example. Their distraction doesn’t mean they can’t focus on anything-- just the opposite, in fact: they actually hyper-focus, becoming absorbed in activities they find so intriguing that they cannot give attention to anything else around them according to expert Ned Hallowell, M.D. So what would you guess is a top strength in ADD teens? Creativity, of course.

Imagine what would happen if we stopped looking at what’s “wrong” with daydreaming students – and started seeing what’s right with them?* It is when they are not interested in a topic-- or they are more interested in something else-- that they daydream…and make creative connections, as Arthur Fry did on that fateful Sunday morning.

What if, instead of focusing on how to make these students listen in class, get better grades or go to a “great” college—we encourage them to bring good dreams to life?
This article originally appeared on Positive Psychology News Daily.The original article is here: http://pos-psych.com/news/christine-duvivier/200809121016.

My website: http://www.positiveleaders.com/

Images: Daydreaming Girl, Link, Post-It, Daydreaming Boy


Beato, Greg (2005). Twenty-Five Years of Post-It Notes. Retrieved September 6, 2008 from:
Duvivier (2007). Appreciating Beauty in the Bottom 80. University of Pennsylvania:
Capstone, August 1. Retrieved on September 3, 2008 from:
Florida, R. (2002). The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It's Transforming Work, Leisure,
Community and Everyday Life. New York: Basic Books.
Hallowell, E., & Ratey, J. (1995). Driven To Distraction : Recognizing and Coping with Attention
Deficit Disorder from Childhood Through Adulthood. New York: Touchstone.
Lehrer, J. (2008). Daydream Achiever. Boston Sunday Globe, August 31, pp. C1-3.

* Inspired by Dewitt Jones’ film, “Celebrate What’s Right with the World” (2007).

No comments:

Share This!