Why Is Imagination Important?

Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere. ~Carl Sagan

Challenges require imagination
Monkeys love using their imagination!

Monkeys love using their imagination!

Whether we realize it at the time or not, imagination is used when we’re confronted with challenges.

A situation presents itself, we visualize what the different paths and outcomes will be and make a choice.

This process happens automatically and isn’t usually called imagination… but it is.

Our brain plays through scenarios and reviews outcomes, which then leads to a conscious choice being made.

Our brains practice visualization all the time, but we aren’t always aware it’s going on.

Visualization is natural and beneficial

Our brains use visualization all the time to solve problems and overcome challenges. This skill can be developed and actively used by anyone. Thinking about a problem beforehand and visualizing the exact results you desire make it more likely that result will be achieved.

Many people don’t do this. They allow life to happen to them and accept the results. This is a reactive way of living. Visualizing the desired result and the steps needed to reach it are proactive.

Manipulating thoughts and feelings to match a desired mental picture is beneficial. Doing this helps in focusing in  on what is actually desired. Often, we think of a hazy undefined desire and wish to have it “one day”. It shouldn’t come as a surprise when one day never arrives. How can we work towards a goal if we don’t know what it is?

Imagination is used to define a goal. It is then used to visualize the steps needed to reach the goal. The chances of desires becoming reality increase the more developed the imagination is and the more in touch you are with it.

Daydreaming about a better life is an example of passive imagination, and we all use this. Active imagination takes practice, and is more powerful. Active imagination requires input, discipline and clear thinking. Active imagination doesn’t just dream, it defines, plans and works towards a goal.

Exercise

Don’t waste time passively dreaming about your desires… Imagine them into existence! Think of something that you want, either an object or a new life situation. Follow these steps to bring it closer to reality:

  1. Create an exact image of what you desire. Is it a new car? What color, what does it smell like, how does the hood feel? Is it a new job? Where? What will you be dressed  in? What will you do? Be as detailed as possible. Stretch your imagination and use all five senses.
  2. Describe the object or situation in vivid detail. Write it down or verbalize the description to yourself. Really get to know it.
  3. Imagine what you’ll feel like when you actually have this object or situation. Feel the excitement, relief and whatever else you imagine having a dream come true feels like. Allow yourself to believe you have your dream…
  4. Let the image go. Hold on to the feeling you generated. That’s what your success will feel like.

This is how you narrow down what you actually desire. Only by doing this can a way to achieve it be developed. If you don’t pinpoint your desires, you’ll be wandering through life not knowing what you truly want.

Next: Allow life to happen.

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14 comments

  1. Reblogged this on ThisWomanToday and commented:
    Definitely believe that imagination is a source of fire for great ideas.

  2. Great post, John. Perfect!

  3. Albert Einstein said “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

    1. And like with most things, he is correct.

  4. Thanks for “liking” my post Tight Squeeze. I agree with your post on Imagination. It’s such a huge part for an artist. At times, my imagination takes me places I never expected. That’s what makes life fun, right?

    1. Exactly. Imagination leads to new solutions for old problems, in art and life in general.

  5. You took the words right out of my mouth…seriously, I couldn’t have put it better. Without imagination we are just empty vessels. Thanks.

    1. Very true. Imagination isn’t given nearly as much value as it should be given.

  6. Quiet Mary · · Reply

    I don’t have a clear picture of a job I’d really want. I know it would be outside (at least sometimes). I know it would be somewhat labor-intensive. But I don’t know WHAT it is.

    1. That’s the trouble- we never get a clear idea of what we want. If there’s no destination, it’s difficult to go in the right direction. I struggle with this too…

  7. Yes, I suppose a little struggling may be a good thing.

    1. I believe it is, as long as we don’t become too invested in it.

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