Do you have your head in the clouds? Is this a positive or a negative expression for you? I was having a really interesting conversation with a group recently about the meaning of this English idiom & its connotations.
For some in the group, it meant somebody was innovative, creative & able to helicopter out to a strategic view of a situation.
For others, including me, it has a slightly negative meaning, to say that somebody is not in touch with reality & is too idealistic, or only focused on ideas, not actions.
It is really important to understand the real meaning of English idioms as people use them in conversation, but also so you can sound more natural when you use them yourself.
So, here are some other idioms to do with thinking & ideas.
Lots of companies were challenged in the early days of Covid to change what they were doing & to completely recreate their product or service experience. Their teams had to react quickly by putting their thinking caps on (to start thinking), but many found it hard to see the wood for the trees (to see clearly what to do next).
It probably involved the teams working quickly to brainstorm & come up with some innovative ideas. They worked hard to really focus on blue-sky thinking (thinking beyond what is usually possible). I am sure many of those ideas were valuable, but others were just pie in the sky (you hope will happen, but are probably unlikely).
Other companies might have just stuck their heads in the sand (avoided thinking about the issue) and just hoped everything would get back to normal within a few weeks, but as we know now that was just wishful thinking (wishing for things to be better than they really are) & they were the ones who were living in cloud cuckoo land (to not be realistic).
I am sure many teams had to toy with the idea (develop the idea) of moving their products/ services online to make them accessible & reach their ideal customers. I find personally in these situations when you need new ideas it’s best to think out loud (talk through your ideas) to see how everybody can build the ideas together & so you don’t lose your train of thought (to forget what you want to say next). This can often lead to light bulb moments, which bring real breakthrough & innovation.
The key thinking & ideas idioms:
- to put your thinking cap on
- to not see/ hard to see the wood for the trees
- blue-sky thinking
- pie in the sky
- to have/ stick your head in the sand
- wishful thinking
- to live/be in cloud cuckoo land
- to toy with an/ the idea of
- to think out loud
- to lose your train of thought
- a light bulb moment
Hope you have found these idioms useful! Why not try one or two of them out next time you have a conversation in English! Let me know how you get on.
If understanding English idioms is helpful to your business conversations, find out about my Business English coaching.
Victoria Rennoldson, Founder of Perfect Cuppa English
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