Burning Question? Sleep on It

We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.” ― Albert Einstein

Last month I was at a dinner in the US, chatting with a great CEO I work with about a massive problem in his business. He needed to find a key person for a very, very important role, and had no-one in the pipeline. He knew he couldn’t succeed without the right person and was at his wit’s end.

That night, he decided to separate himself from the problem by deliberately putting it the back of his mind so that he could get some sleep. The next morning, like a package from Amazon, the solution arrived in his mind. Someone he had worked with, many years ago, would be perfect for the role.

Although he was already with another company, the CEO sent him a message and they talked later that day. To his delight the person was ready for a change. The timing could not have been better, and they are now thrilled to be working together.

The Law of Attraction

Many books have been written on the Law of Attraction: the ability to attract into our lives whatever we focus on – about leveraging the power of the subconscious mind. It can be shocking how problems can be solved if we just give our brains the space to solve them. Sometimes overnight, sometimes over time.

I recently worked on new keynote presentation and stayed up late trying to wrestle it into submission, but it just wasn’t working. I gave up at 11 pm and consciously decided not to think about it anymore, to let my brain work on it while I slept. In the morning, I woke up with the ideas and clarity I needed, and I could see exactly what I needed to do to make the presentation better.

Sleep on it

In The Superhuman Mind: Free the Genius in Your Brain, authors Dr. Berit Brogaard, PhD (Director of the Brogaard Lab for Multisensory Research, University of Miami) and Kristian Marlow, MA  (Fellow of the Initiative on Neuroscience and Law, Baylor College of Medicine) take a scientific look at how gifted individuals – like Nobel prize-winners, pro-golfers and authors – have gained conscious access to the potent processing power of the brain through ‘lucid dreaming’ – a hybrid of waking and dreaming – that activates the brain’s high-activity frontal area.

It comes down to asking the right, specific question and then letting your mind work on it while you get on with other things. Who can do the job? How can we double referrals? Fix the design flaw?

I guess there’s really something to the expression ‘sleep on it’.

The Challenge

  • What burning question to do have to answer now?
  • Can you invite and trust your brain to work on it while you sleep?