Im·ag·i·na·tion: Maybe it doesn’t want to play with crayons anymore
Oh, how the imagination has been discredited. But why? Look at the official definition…
A. – the faculty or action of forming new ideas, or images or concepts of external objects not present to the senses.
– creative power, fancy, vision; informalmind’s eye, “a vivid imagination”
– interest, fascination, attention, passion, curiosity, “the album captured the public’s imagination”
B. – the ability of the mind to be creative or resourceful.
“technology gives workers the chance to use their imagination”,
– creativity, imaginativeness, creativeness;
vision, inspiration, inventiveness, invention, resourcefulness, ingenuity;
originality, innovation, innovativeness
– “you need imagination in dealing with these problems”
C. – the part of the mind that imagines things.
– “a girl who existed only in my imagination.”
These are decent definitions. Then, why, why, why has it taken such a beating?
You’ve heard it all: “It’s only her imagination.” “He’s imagining things.” “You have an overactive imagination.” (Ya, that one. The method of dismissing an opinion.) “It’s just your imagination.” yada yada yada.
Why are things like visualizations, day dreaming, and inspirations from ‘who knows where’ still generally considered the stuff of flakey people? There’s no simple answer. But part of the reason is that a larger percentage of the population don’t get it. And it’s easier for the masses to act like imagination belongs with a box of crayons, than to even begin to look at it’s huge potential.
The writers of the definitions get it. The innovative business people get it.The olympic athletes and elite musicians get it. They know, and science has proved, that visualizing a practise not only inspires, but actually builds muscle and increases heart strength. The brain can make the same connections during an imagined sport training or musical performance as a physical one. Yet, they, too, have to confront being dismissed constantly – that their ideas are outrageous, that they should be living a normal life. They, too, can succumb to the pressure of those outside, and to the voices in their heads, and not get to those dreams.
A lot of creative folks get it… but often not without some of those limiting beliefs and negative comments sneaking in, nagging. Even the most imaginative might find themselves lost in a world of day dreaming, and beat themselves up for not getting the other stuff done. You know, the dishes and things.
A lot of adventurous people get it … they can imagine stepping beyond normal boundaries, and past fears, and they curiously explore life in a big way.
Maybe… we could print the definitions listed above. And paste them all over the place – throughout our journals, sketchbooks, on mirrors, on the vacuum, on our climbing equipment. Or maybe the crayon image suits you. Or maybe you have your own idea.
(PS. We get to do a lot with our imaginations at Novel Minds. Please stop by. Your imagination deserves all the compassion and support it can get.