For as long as I can remember, I have had a peculiar way of processing information... I slept on it. The more abstract or mathematical, the better. I have a terrible memory, which served me poorly in memorizing formulas or remembering what the name of the well was on the east flank of the structure. Those that have worked for Big Oil can attest that knowing the names of the wells and their locations is taken as your oilfield IQ, never minding the fact that it only sometimes coincidentally overlaps with you ability to find oil and gas.
In any case, my problem with math was that I couldn't memorize formulas. I had to be able to derive them from "first principles", for lack of a better term. I would read over my Calculus/DiffEq/Complex Variables texts, try, usually to no avail to work some problems, then go to sleep. Fortunately, I would dream about them. I would find, when I woke up, that I understood how to derive the equations I needed to ace the tests. Magic, somehow.
Later, in my professional life, I was messing with an emerging oil field technology that I had, like an idiot, bet my future on. Spent a load on it, and it didn't work. I woke up in the middle of the nigh one night, prior to our final field experiment, with an insight that the thought leaders in this technology, which I was not one, had forgotten about it's "first principles"... ie they had become so invested in solving the 2nd and 3rd order problems associated with this technology that they had forgotten to solve for the first order problem, and further, by solving for the 2nd and 3rd order problems first, you made it practically impossible to solve for the first order problem! A co-worker and I tried the solution in this order reverse of popular published opinion an viola, it worked. Today, that technology is core to the success of a nice, little independent that successfully produces American oil and gas, and has spawned a handful of patents.
The power of sleep. I thought I was some sort of unique case. As it turns out, a recent Harvard study returned results that suggest that my case is a NORMAL case! They asked 100 volunteers to take a test involving finding their way around a maze. Five hours later, they were asked to do it again. Those that had not slept in the interim improved their results by 26 seconds. Those that had a 90 minute nap averaged 188 seconds. The 4% that actually dreamed about the test improved their times 1880 seconds, or 10 times the non-dreamers!
This explains why I am an email man. I usually like to make big decisions after sleeping on it. In any case, I think I need to take a nap. Instead of chores, heh heh.