“Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.” – Carl Sagan
People with imagination are often dismissed as someone that has his or her head in the clouds, and deeply impractical.
That is not true at all.
Some of the great minds in human history were people with buckets load of imagination that could envision what other people have no concept at all. Albert Einstein put it with characteristic simplicity:
“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”
You can be the next Albert Einstein or Carl Sagan, or perhaps Walt Disney who says, “I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse.”
Here are 10 ways to develop your imagination.
Reading is too often associated with “book learning,” which is often boring, irrelevant, and worse, required. The fact is, reading anything, fiction or nonfiction, provides a peek into the mind of the writer.
It opens up vistas of other people’s experiences and insights, and provides a rich crop of possibilities. You are reading about what other people in faraway places have experienced or thought, giving you a private audience to these same experiences and thoughts. Keep reading, and it will open your mind. You can create a world in which anything is possible.
Daydreaming is more deliberate than merely dreaming, which makes it more effective in opening your mind to possibilities. Edgar Allan Poe says, “They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.”
When you take a break from your daily tasks, or you are stuck in traffic, observe the things around you and let your mind wander. What is the life of a traffic cop really like? Do plants feel pain? Is there really more than one plane of existence? You can amuse yourself by speculating on these things, and it will soon become a habit. It can one day trigger an idea for a book, or for a new product that may just change your life.
There’s a Mexican proverb that translate roughly to “Tell me who your friends are, and I’ll tell you who you are.” That may sound politically incorrect, but the fact is the people around you have a significant impact on you. If you surround yourself with people of wide imagination, some of it should rub off on you.
If you have an opportunity to be part of brainstorming for new products, new ideas, or new technology, go for it. You can pick the brains of the people around you by simply being the sounding board. Just being around when these things are being discussed can open new vistas to your own imagination.
Hopscotch may not do much for your imagination, but playing games like Dungeons and Dragons or Minecraft can get you going down the path of imagination. Fortunately for you, you can legitimately play your heart out nowadays with nary a cocked eyebrow. Use it.
Curiosity may have killed the cat, but curiosity brought it back. However, satisfying your curiosity is not an end in itself. In order to spark your imagination, you should always be asking questions. Why? Where? How? What? Who? If there are things or events that you don’t understand, ask. You might be surprised at what you find out.
What can be more imagination-stirring than producing something creative? Creating something all your own sparks your motivation to explore your potential further. Touch is a sense that is often underrated, but it carries a plethora of emotional responses. It excites your sense of accomplishment, making you want to go as far as you can. Seeing something take shape even as you are contemplating your next step is heady, and it will drive your imagination to new heights.
Sound off your ideas with friends, families, co-workers, and mentors. Find out what they think, and how they react. This can help you narrow your focus and pursue a promising line of thought further than you first believed. Sharing can help validate or challenge you, and influence your direction.
Release your inner self by disconnecting from the outside world on a regular basis. You don’t have to say “ohm” if that’s not your style, but reserve a time of quiet in the midst of your busy life to recharge your mind, body and spirit. Let in whatever will come, and go with it.
Expand your knowledge and skills set to open up opportunities to let your imagination free rein. Learning new things stimulates your mind, and motivates you to try new things. Each novel experience opens possibilities.
If you are still having a hard time getting your imagination in gear, check out these helpful tools.
- Whack of the Day
- Idea Lottery
- Puzzle games
- Imagination prompts
- Aussie writer
- Random ideas
- Cartoon creation
- Random words
There are no limits to the human imagination, if you could just tap into it. Follow these tips and try these tools to develop your imagination, and see how far it can take you.