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It Came To Me In A Dream
It came to me in a dream. I was explaining the "add-subtract-change" problem solving technique to somebody. I had never heard of it before, but while awake I had been working on a book about problem solving. This new technique turned out to be a very useful technique when I tried it. It is an idea that has undoubtedly been thought of by others, but it was unknown to me until that moment.
I have had this happen before. I have had story ideas come to me in a dream, and solutions to problems. When I was younger, I even invented a way to sail my sled on the Lake Michigan ice in my dream. I tried it and it worked.
Maybe you have solved problems and had new ideas in your dreams as well. There is no doubt that it can happen, but how do we make it more likely, and more common? Try the following.
Getting Ideas In A Dream
- Think about it a lot. If a period of intense mental work on a problem precedes sleep, the subconscious mind has been "instructed" that this is important, and will continue to work on the problem during sleep.
- Write the problem down, and what qualities the solution may have, just before going to sleep.
- Practice with simple problems. See if you can get yourself to imagine a new kind of furniture, or a new poem in a dream.
- Keep paper and pen by the side of the bed. Write down any ideas you have when you wake up. The process encourages your mind to have even more ideas. A tape recorder is even better, because you can use it without a light and quickly go back to sleep.
- If you wake up without an alarm, you are more likely to remember your dreams. If you need an alarm for work, try problem solving in dreams over the weekend.
- As soon as you wake up, quickly review any dreams you can recall. This "sets" them in your mind before you can forget them. Then you can think back on them later, to see if there is anything useful there.
- If you don't need sound sleep, try sleeping on the floor or in another slightly uncomfortable way. The repeated waking up and going back to sleep gives you more opportunities to remember dreams. I took notes on nine dreams one night in this way, and had two good ideas from them.
You can get good ideas in a dream. You can also have good ideas and solutions to problems come to you the next morning after you wake up. Review the problem mentally in the morning to encourage this latter process.
Are these scientifically "proven" techniques. No. Try to measure the "value" of an idea scientifically. Try to say what counts as an idea, in order to see if the frequency increases when using these little tricks. Scientific proof in this area is difficult for now, but people have had productive dreams for thousands of years, and there is nothing harmful in trying to find an answer in a dream. Why not give it a try?
About the Author: Copyright Steve Gillman. For more ways to Solve Problems, and to get the Brain Power Newsletter and other free gifts, visit: