We dream for about 1 month each year we are alive – for those who value their time, utilizing dreaming can ADD a month of life to your conscious experience each year. More than that, it is an important conscious state that is highly informative and transformable. This entry is a little introduction to some ideas leaders can use to utilize this incredibly opportune state of consciousness intentionally.
Reason #1 – Dreams expose your true beliefs
The ceilings of our success in any area of our lives are the ceilings of our beliefs about that area of our life. We cannot exceed our self-image over the long-term unless our self-image changes.
Dreams can show you areas of cognitive resonance and dissonance – where a belief or value you have may align or conflict with each other. You may want to have more free time but believe you need to keep working constantly to bring the amount of money you want in. That represents an area of cognitive dissonance.
It can also show you areas where your self-talk is not rooting itself in your subconscious. If you are telling yourself you are calm and peaceful, but dreaming each night of anxious characters and situations, it might be best to pay attention to the anxiety and give it some attention instead of talking over it.
The notion that actions speak louder is crucial. By noticing recurrent dream elements (emotions, characters, situations, actions) you can very easily see the “real” beliefs you have about things and shift your actions accordingly.
Reason 2: Leaders “seed” empowering dreams by being extremely intentional about what they do in the last 2 hours before they go to bed.
At night is when we are often exhausted from the day, our will power has tanked, and most people’s addictions or poor self-soothing habits can come out.
When we continue these habits we are communicating a powerful message to our subconscious – “the most important bottom line things to do after all is said and done are these [bad] habits.”
It is when we are MOST exhausted and tired and have the least will power that our actions most deeply root in our subconscious, because that is when there is the least conscious filtering.
Now this is also a great opportunity, because realizing how important this time is can also give us the very inspiration we need to change our habits at night.
Self-soothe, but do so in an empowering way. Instead of binge watching netflix, watch a short piece that makes you feel great, and then turn the screen off. Meditate, make a healthy dessert with your blender, take a bath with young living essential oils, and set some strong intentions for the next day.
After a week or so you may notice your dreams completely changing – and this is a signal that your subconscious is rooting these new beliefs.
You can seed dreams into your subconscious by being very clear about what you do and let yourself think about 2 hours before bed. Turn the screens and distractions off and sit for at least 15 minutes and ‘let thoughts arise’ as you also go over your day. You can write down the important ideas and emotions and this ‘clears the palette’ for your dreaming mind.
Once the palette is open and receptive (that is, it trusts you have listened to it and won’t force those same things into your dreams so you pay attention), you can more easily seed things into your dreaming mind.
Through visualization or autosuggestion or even taking physical objects that are symbolic of what you want to dream about and putting them next to your bed you can ‘seed’ different elements of the dream. Ask your dreaming mind to send you information about a problem, or ask for an insight, and trust completely that it will bring it to you.
Reason 3: Use Lucid dreaming to rehearse situations or overcome mental obstacles.
Lucid dreaming is a wonderful state in the dream where you are aware of the fact that you are dreaming and can therefore freely interact with and modify the dream state. I believe leaders have vastly underutilized this incredible resource and in the future, lucid dreams will be a much more common resource of empowerment.
You can learn how to induce lucidity with practice, I am no pro yet, but have taught myself how to have 1-4 lucid dreams a month which have been invaluable problem-solving and joyful excursions into my greater awareness. You can too –This is one of my favorite books on the how to lucid dream.
You can directly ask a recurrent character: “what do you represent?” or “what do you mean to me?” and get enormous insight. You can modify trapped situations, you can visit a “wise all knowing elder-figure” that has the answers to your current questions – and your unconscious will create that figure and the answers. You can rehearse giving that presentation you want to perfect.
Dreaming offers incredible opportunities for learning and growth. The leaders of the future will make the most of this vastly underutilized source of insight. I invite you to start paying attention to your dreams today in a bigger way and learn how investing time in understanding and participating in your dreams can serve you immensely so you can serve others immensely.