Imagination is our greatest gift.
If you’re reading this, you probably familiar with Albert Einstein’s famous quote about imagination. If you aren’t here it is:
“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.”
Cool quote right? But what exactly does that mean? Imagination is something we possess in abundance as a child, but at some point in development imagination is ignored. It’s not considered an evil thing or anything like that, but things like real and possible are emphasized more as you get older. Maintaining imagination is one of our greatest challenges.
Even if you do manage to maintain a shrapnel of that magic you had as a child, how do you use it?
First off, imagination wants to be expressed. It’s that intuitive part of ourselves that desires a larger world than the one we see, feel, touch, taste and hear. We express it in music, art, writing, and a myriad of other ways. When we do so, we are reaching out from the aether and bringing something in ourselves to life. We are encouraging our inner child to grow.
That is awesome enough. Expressing ideas, concepts, visions of what might be, can be and maybe even will be has been a part of art for as long as we’ve recorded it. I imagine that the first cavemen and women dreamed of greater worlds than theirs way back. Wonder is something all of us had at one point.
Imagination isn’t just the expression of art – it is also one of the best tools we have of solving problems.
The best example of this to me is cooking. Cooking is the ultimate example of happy accidents. Once upon a time I’m sure someone somewhere accidentally spilled milk into a pot, and in so doing discovered stew. My dad puts food and formulae together all the time to deal with matters of health. Most people don’t visualize food as medicine, yet my father uses that vision to create some unique and powerful medicines.
That kind of vision can apply to any problem. In fact, let me talk to you about one of mine that I solved. I’ve been wanting to learn how to draw for a long while. If I’m going to be honest, part of the problem was that I was scared to try. Drawing has intimidated me since I was a kid. Ironically, I need it more than ever with my current situation, but still haven’t found the motivation.
Until Sunday. Talking to Michael Martineck, I recognized an opportunity to make myself get started. Instagram had reminded me of something the first moment I saw it. It was in that conversation that I saw the answer. For me, Instagram is a panel in a comic. A page is intimidating; a panel is not so bad. I can go slower, and teach myself a valuable skill in the process.
Imagination is one of the best tools you can use to solve problems. It allows you to see a situation in a different light, and find solutions others might not see.
But if I had to think of my favorite use for imagination, it’s the ability to make your dreams real.
We have the freedom in life to attain goals we set out for ourselves. One of the keys to achieving any goal we have is to see ourselves doing it. For example, I see myself all the time achieving my goals as a writer. From getting published, to getting paid, to making a living, I’ve been pushing forward more and more. I’ve been published, and paid. I’m working on making a living and making something special happen with the books I produce. I can see it.
(as an aside, and food for thought, a question for you dear reader. If you make a dream come true, was it ever really a dream?)
Since I’ve had this vision in my head for a long time, I’ve seen it more and more manifest itself in my life. Not just in my achievements, but in the people in my life. More and more I see myself surrounded by those with similar visions; each of them trying to make that dream a reality. It’s humbling to see so many great people come into your life that are amazing and magical in their own ways.
Sometimes I wonder what I’m doing here. Others I realize I belong, for I too have vision and dare to dream.
There is a price though. Imagination makes us bigger. We grow and evolve with our visions, becoming as large as we perceive. This means that as you make your dreams come true, your goals and your insights become bigger, which makes sense, because you’ve grown as a person. You’ve become something more. In turn, your wants and dreams become bigger.
Tonight I got some interesting news. I was hoping to announce a book tour. The original plan for it changed tonight with one email. I wasn’t surprised. Instead, another thought came into my head. There is no doubt in my mind I can still make this happen. The question is where do i go from here? What do I imagine it going? What can I do with it?
And do I really want it?
The last question might be the only cautionary thing I mention here. Life will keep throwing you bigger and bigger things as you go. As long as you want it, it will be there. The moment you stop wanting it, you should quit. Recognize within yourself when you really don’t want to go down the path you set for yourself. It’s okay to walk away.
Otherwise, there are no limits. Einstein’s quote is a good one, but I always was a fan of a comic line Stan Lee wrote for DC. It was called Just Imagine. And that is how I’m leaving this entry. What do you imagine? What can you see yourself doing, and becoming?
You can make it real.