Imagination is a critical component of self-development and overcoming many of life’s problems. This is true for adults as much as it is children. Especially when it comes to imagination in business and entrepreneurship.
As we grow though, we each tend to take one of three paths
- Lose our imagination over time
- Become crippled by our imagination,
- Learn to use our imagination not for fun, but as a
There’s a ton of research available on the Internet for the first two. I’ll briefly cover them, but this article will primarily focus on the third.
Losing Our Imagination Over Time
Losing your imagination is about surrendering to gray illusions of safe paths.
“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it.—Helen Keller
GodHimself is not secure, having given man dominion over His works! Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold. Faith alone defends. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable”
It can also come from psychological trauma, leading to a lack of faith in oneself. It is to live in the world without hope or adding one’s own color to it. It’s objectivity without perspective. This is a depressing extreme.
Becoming Crippled By Our Imagination
Becoming crippled by our imaginations occurs on the other far end of the spectrum. It’s the opposite extreme that’s as damaging as losing your sense of it altogether. This occurs when you have a ton of dreams but you stay in dreamland, so you don’t act upon them. Nothing gets done
Learning To Use Our Imagination As A Tool
Learning to use your imagination as a tool is the sweet spot between the former two extremes. To do this, you need a certain level of psychological strength. You need the ability to bear the weight of reality while rejecting the notion that what you see is all there is.
You also need courage and self-esteem to overcome social pressures that punish imagination. What stifles you can be (and often is) your friends and family. Thus, for some, it also takes an element of sacrifice in that regard as well. The willingness to choose one’s own emotional scarring in trade for creative freedom.
“Be alone, that is the secret of invention; be alone, that is when ideas are born.”—Nikola Tesla
Most can build the strength and courage, given therapy and experiential life paths. But it’s different for everyone.
How To Start Using Imagination As A Tool
To begin using your imagination as a useful tool, first ground yourself in the reality of the problem. Face the facts of it with courage, even if doing that hurts your emotions.
Bear the weight of the psychological pain as much as you can. The better you can do this, the more effective a solution you’ll be able to imagine.
Build Your Strength And Imagination Over Time
You may not have the strength you need at first. If you don’t, then try solving a smaller problem in the same manner. And then return to the larger one, later.
Think of problems like weights, and your imagination as a muscle. You can widen your imagination and creativity with the breadth of your experience. You may not be able to change your fluid intelligence, but in most cases, you wouldn’t have to.
Yet, you can change your crystallized intelligence completely.
Imagination Is Connecting The Dots
You can increase the strength of your mind and fill it with an almost infinite amount of dots to connect. The act of connecting the dots is creativity.
“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.”—Steve Jobs
Thus, you can develop creativity by deepening the resources your imagination pulls from. As you gain more dots and strengthen your mind, you’ll grow to be able to take on larger and larger problems
And in entrepreneurship, that means larger and larger profit. Since the heart of entrepreneurship is the act of problem-solving.
Our imaginations are for solving problems, even if the problem is within ourselves
What are some experiences you’ve been through that have shaped your imagination, and helped you to harness it into a tool? Also, leave a comment about your thoughts. How have you used your imagination to get ahead in life? How have you used imagination in business? Have you actually failed to do so but would like more content guiding you on how
Mike Norton is an American award-winning marketing strategist with a BA in Internet marketing from Full Sail University.
He’s also a writer, entrepreneur, and a physicist studying part-time at the University of York who is a veteran of the United States military and the 7-time winner of the USS Dwight Eisenhower award for essays about world peace and respect.
As a mostly self-educated vagabond, he gains inspiration from a myriad of experiences wrought from the adventures of his nomadic lifestyle. He prolifically writes and journals where ever he goes in the world, from one country to the next.