“I enjoy working about 18 hours a day. Besides the short catnaps I take each day, I average about four to five hours of sleep per night”—Thomas Edison
Besides only sleeping 6 hours a day, (he in fact mentioned that “he never slept more than 4 hours a night”) I was surprised that he had a tactic that he would use which would wake him up as he was falling asleep. He would then quickly write his thoughts in a journal and see if any of those written ideas would spark any other inventions.
He called it the “Genius Gap”, let me explain…
It’s known as the Hypnogic State. “Hypnagogia is the transitional state of consciousness between wakefulness and sleep. It's the opposite of hypnopompia, which is the transitional state that occurs before you wake up. During hypnagogia, it's common to experience involuntary and imagined experiences. These are referred to as hypnagogic hallucinations”.
Here’s the scoop. The story goes that Edison would take naps on a chair or sometimes lie down. While going into sleep mode he would also hold on to metal balls or even at times pennies. As he fell into sleep the balls or pennies would fall into a metal pan or the hard floor, which would make a noise and wake him up again. He would quickly get up and write down his thoughts in a journal.
What he would experience while falling asleep is step 1 of sleep, where we lose awareness of our surroundings, “but we’re still easily jarred to wakefulness. While you’re in this state, you can see visions and hallucinations of shapes, patterns, and symbolic imagery, hear noises including your own name or imagined speech and feel almost physical sensations that relate to what you spent the day doing like swimming in waves. You may feel like you’re floating, or falling which is why you sometimes wake up from Stage 1 sleep with a jerk. It was at this moment that Edison would find many of his insights and discoveries.”
In one of my interviews for Success Magazine, I got to speak to Jim Kwik, the best-selling author of Limitless. He mentioned that as he wakes up every morning he spends a few minutes writing in his journal. Before he does anything else he writes about his dreams and what he can remember through the night. He mentioned that those dreams have often led to some amazing ideas. Although he doesn’t go to the extreme that Thomas Edison went through it still seems to be effective.
The purpose of this message today is simple. I want you to start looking for your creativity. I want you to reconnect with your childhood imagination. I need you to understand the importance of knowing that you have no limitations of the mind. I don’t care if you start with a journal next to your bedside or if you go full-on Edison and start holding on to metal balls as you fall asleep. I’ll leave you with a quote that should inspire you to search for your imagination… "Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution."
Thank you for reading A Brilliant Tribe.