[YS Lounge] How To Use Your 8 Hours Of Sleep For Creativity And Problem-solving – Part 1

As entrepreneurs, we make many decisions throughout the day. Some of them are easy, like “Should the font on the button be Arial or Helvetica?” Ahh, that was easy! Or “Should we spend $5 on buying that royalty-free image? Yes, of course we should!” That was an easy decision too!

But some decisions are not easy: “Should we shift to a bigger office now?” or “Should we hire that developer?” or “Should we create our own Chat application or use a third-party plug-in?”. Or, on the personal front “Should I marry that girl or this one?”.

You see, we are faced with multiple choice questions every day of our lives. And we are not always sure about the best answer. In most of the cases we take biased decisions based on our past experiences and on the information available to us at that time.  But what if we could make better decisions by using an often unused faculty of our mind. What if we could use that faculty not just for making decisions, but also for creative problem solving?

What if we could get answers during the 6-8 hours we sleep? Sounds outlandish? No, it isn’t!

The human brain has got two hemispheres – the right and the left. The left hemisphere is the logical part, the one we use the most every day. It helps us take decisions, talk, reason etc. Want to read a book, solve a math problem, or conduct an interview? It’s the left hemisphere doing its job.

Have you ever written poetry, or composed a piece of music, or had a strong inspiration to do something? Or maybe you got a solution to a problem “out-of-the-blue”, when you were not thinking about the problem at all? That was through your right-hemisphere, the creative part of our brain. You might call it the sub-conscious mind, if you will.

With some practice, we can tap into the immense power of the right-hemisphere, and effectively use it to get “divine” solutions. These solutions are a win-win for everyone concerned, and are more effective because they transcend the biasness and myopia of the logical, left-hemisphere of the brain.

Dreams are doorways to your subconscious

Using your dreams is one of the best ways to access the right-hemisphere, the seat of creativity.

If you do some research, you will find countless artists, musicians, scientists, authors etc have received inspiration and break-through ideas through their dreams.

- Kekulé the popular figure in the history of chemistry dreamed of the tetravalent structure of carbon and circular structure of the Benzene molecule.

- Elias Howe, the inventor of the Sewing Machine solved a big problem in his dream – Where should the eye of the needle be? The solution was obvious – on top of the needle!

- Mathematical genius Srinivasa Ramanujan got solutions to many of his problems in his dreams.
-  Paul McCartney got the tune for “Yesterday” in one of his dreams
- Stephen King, the famous author got inspiration for his stories from his dreams.

So how can YOU use your dreams for solutions and problem-solving?  Here are some simple steps:

  1. Believe. It all starts with your belief. Even if you do not believe 100% that this is possible, have an open mind and be willing to give it a genuine try.  If you believe, you will be more open to receiving the answers.
  2. Maintain a proper sleeping schedule. If possible, sleep and get up at a fixed time, preferably sleep early, and wake up early.
  3. Write down the question you want an answer for. Before you sleep, you should know very clearly the problem you want a solution for. Writing it down makes it less fuzzy and helps you pin-point the issue. Read it a few times.
  4. Don’t worry about your worries. As soon as you hit the bed, and shut your eyes, put all your worries (except the one you have written down) in a huge imaginary metal box, shut the lid, and mentally fasten it using iron chains, and finally secure it with a lock! Tell yourself that you will not think about your problems any more today.  Open the imaginary box only in the morning!
  5. Ask.  As soon as you have locked your worries, think about the challenge at hand. Accept that you need a solution to it. And believe that your sub-conscious is powerful enough to provide the right answer/guidance. Submit your question, trusting to get the answer soon. With this as the last thought in your mind, go to sleep with a smile on your face. Important: As soon as you submit your question, do not start thinking about other things. Simply blank-out, and go to sleep.
  6. And ye shall receive. When you wake up the next morning, you will have recollection of a dream that will contain an answer to your question. It might seem to be a very obvious answer, or maybe an answer that you instinctively know is the right one. Or maybe in a day or two, you will be intuitively guided towards the right people at the right time. Or perhaps you suddenly get that “Aha! Moment!”, and the solution will be right in front of your eyes!
  7. Implement. Now, once you get the solution, it is important to trust the guidance of your sub-conscious and implement it.

Yes, it is as simple as that. But as with anything else, you need to practice the art of creative problem solving through your dreams. The more you practice, the better you will become.

We are all geniuses. But many of us do not realize that. Using your dreams for creative problem-solving will wake up that genius within you. And yes, as an entrepreneur you too can come up with ground-breaking ideas and solutions that can truly change the world.

(Most people claim that they do not dream, or dream very little. That is simply not true. We all dream. But not all of us are good at recollecting our dreams the next morning.  In the next part of this article, I will give some practical tips on effectively recalling your dreams.)

Happy Dreaming!

About the author:

Abhishek Agarwal is the founder of Revelri.com, a site that aims at making this world a happier place.  He is an Internet marketing strategist and has been doing business online for almost a decade. He is a strong believer in the power of dreams, the Law of attraction, positivity and happiness.

You will also love this amazing info graphic from Funders and Founders on “How to get up Early”

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