Do you still use your imagination? If you’re like most, my guess is not so much. When you were a child your imagination was on overdrive and now it’s like a favourite toy that’s been put away. You still have it but you never take it out to play anymore.
But imagination is the gateway to creativity, passion and purpose and it’s the pathway to dealing with persistent boredom and problems.
What imagination is
Imagination is the capacity to see what isn’t, to create from nothing. It allows us to leave linear thinking and take intuitive leaps of the kind that allowed Einstein to formulate the theory of relativity. Einstein ‘imagined’ what it would be like to ride on a beam of light.
Imagination allows us to dream without limits and then invites us to make it so.
Dreams and visions are the children of imagination and without them we have no real purpose or passion.
Imagination is the jet fuel of vision
Imagination is what makes leadership vision possible. We must be able to ‘see’ something with our mind, something not yet existing, a place we’ve never been to and imagine what it looks like, smells like, and feels.
MLK had a dream, JFK said we’d put a man on the moon and bring him safely back to the earth, Mandela said freedom for all South Africans, and Reagan talked of America as a shining city on a hill.
We don’t imagine anymore
There is no grand vision of what we’re living into anymore. No compelling “I have a dream” type vision that we share.
Instead we seem to be hoping for a better status quo, hoping the economy improves, our jobs stay safe, crime goes down and the climate doesn’t change too much. We haven’t used our imaginations to create an inspiring vision or story that lights us up collectively for a better future. A world with no wars, where everyone has free health care, basic housing and transportation when they need it; robotic service is the norm, free limitless education is on demand and human beings no longer work to provide for their family (because that’s already handled for everyone) but choose to work on whatever speaks to their passion, their higher self.
Like a muscle
Imagination is like a muscle, it grows stronger with exercise; weaker with disuse.
Use it cure boredom or solve problems
Are you bored or in despair about some aspect of your life?
Then when why not imagine yourself out of it. Here’s an exercise to begin exercising those imagination muscles again and maybe even give you an inspiring vision you can start to work towards.
Start writing or journaling about whatever it is you’re bored about, whatever you’ve given up on, and then start writing a future alternative of how it changes. Imagine it like a TV show or movie where something happens that causes the situation you’ve given up on to change.
Don’t worry about believing it is possible just go with the exercise; think of far-fetched interventions and happenstance that cause that situation to change.
Have alien landings, lottery winnings, chance meetings, book writings, meeting the romantic ‘one’ etc. happen in your writings. Doesn’t matter. Use your imagination.
At the very least you’ll have some fun imagining again. You’ll run up with how limited your imagination has become because of inactivity.
And don’t worry about impossible dreams. Impossible dreams were what Gandhi, MLK, JFK and Mandela all had in common.
Just use your imagination now and worry about believing later on.
And if you have children or work with them. Take care that their natural urge to imagine is not stifled. Encourage them to use their imagination to write stories, screenplays, poetry and alternative futures for their lives and the future of the world.
Have them keep online journals to store them. Above all let’s all start imagining again and see how many of us can produce an inspiring dream that we’re willing to fight for.