Perchance to Daydream

Having your head in the clouds can actually bolster self-control, creativity, inspiration, empathy, and readiness to learn.

Cognition

Quite simply, cognition refers to thinking. There are the obvious applications of conscious reasoning—doing taxes, playing chess, deconstructing Macbeth—but thought takes many subtler forms, such as interpreting sensory input, guiding physical actions, and empathizing with others. The old metaphor for human cognition was the computer—a logical information-processing machine.

Creativity

Even those of us not in explicitly creative fields must come up with new ideas and insights in order to move ahead. How can we shake up our thinking patterns?

Self-Control

Self-control separates us from our ancient ancestors and the rest of the animal kingdom, thanks to our large prefrontal cortices. Rather than responding to immediate impulses, we can plan, we can evaluate alternative actions, and we can refrain from doing things we'll regret. We can also take advantage of these innately human abilities by developing wisdom and willpower.