The human race is governed by its imagination. –
What does that mean?
I can’t imagine what he could possibly have meant. Well, sarcasm aside, the human imagination is responsible for almost everything we have.
Someone had to imagine light at night to see in the dark before candles or light bulbs could be figured out and made real in our lives.
Our limits are only what is beyond us to imagine. When our imagination is great, we find great things and do great things. When it is not, we do not.
We are ruled by what we can imagine as much as we are ruled by our governments. Just think of all the despots who have fallen because we imagined freedom.
Why is imagination important?
Seriously, could you ask someone on a date if you didn’t have an imagination? If you couldn’t imagine being around them, the things you could do and the fun you could have, could you ever take any action? I believe that imagination is that fundamental in our lives.
Not everyone is dating, or has dated yet, or did not have much luck and gave up. But even those with romantic difficulties still have other places where their imagination has had an impact in their lives. Whether it was daydreaming at school, while riding in a bus or car, or just hanging out with friends and telling stories. We all have some.
Anything which is not exactly how a scientist would describe it, that is reality, as augmented by our imagination. After all, that’s where disappointment comes from, isn’t it? You imagined it would be great, and then it didn’t quite live up to what you had imagined, right?
On the other hand, exaltation is the opposite. Either you imagined something super great, and it lived up to your imagination, or it exceeded your imagination. But neither disappointment nor exaltation could exist without imagination. And the anticipation of accomplishment, that’s also something we can only imagine, until we do it.
Where can I apply this in my life?
Have you ever watched a small child try to get a cookie (or other treat) from a theoretically unreachable spot? Unreachable is a challenge for someone used to doing the impossible. They’ve learned to sit up, crawl, walk and now to climb. They can probably remember that a cookie tastes good, but their imagination is what is driving them forward.
Yet somehow many of us have lost that great sense of imagination and the great drive which comes from it. Can you remember a time when you had a crazy idea, and used that imagination to try something you, or others, didn’t think could be done? Can you think of a time, more recently, when you did something like that, perhaps on a smaller scale?
I would imagine that most of us still do it from time to time, but probably on a smaller scale as we grow older. I first started this blog without much imagination. It was a task to try my hand at creative writing. I didn’t imagine that I would reach over 2 million people (as of this writing) and have well over 3 million page views. It has been an exciting ride.
I was governed by that lack of imagination. Now I know better, and am opening up my imagination. I’ve been thinking of all the people who have read the things I wrote, and hope that they took away a little something to apply to their lives. And this has stretched my imagination, trying to think of what else I could do to help others, both at home and around the world.
But how does one improve or strengthen their imagination? What I have been doing lately is using visualization. It’s something pro athletes do all the time, as well as the greats in other fields as well. How well would someone in sales do if they visualized the door being slammed in their face? Compare that to someone who visualized a friendly reception and a sale.
While visualizations should be grounded in reality (don’t visualize flying to the moon with only wings with feathers of wax), stretching our perceived limits is a good thing. When I started restoring a previous car, I didn’t know how to weld, but I visualized it back on the road, so to get it there, I learned how to weld. You can work on your imagination the same way.
Once you have an idea of what you are trying to accomplish, use your imagination to fill in as many details as you can. Include your senses. What would you feel, when it is done? What emotions would you feel? What color will the finished product be? What will the texture be like? How light or heavy would it be? Will it have a distinctive scent? Make it as real as you can.
If you can’t imagine taking on a whole car restoration, can you imagine how much nicer it would be to clean part of your room or work-space? Would you feel some pride in knowing it’s clean, or knowing that everything is in the proper place? Would you be happy to show the result to someone else who would appreciate it? What would it smell like? What would you touch while cleaning? What does each object feel like? Can you see each item going back in place?
We can improve our imaginations, and we can use them to help us build a desire to bring that which we imagine to life. Whether it’s cleaning the work bench or rebuilding a car, asking someone on a date or starting a friendship, it all begins with a little imagination.
What can you imagine?