I believe that most of us don’t realize how much our imagination colors and shapes our lives. I think we don’t realize how our life experiences are created by the images we form in our minds, before events actually occur. When you pour water into a clear, colored container, the water appears to take on the color of the container and is definitely shaped by it. That’s a good metaphor for the power of our imagination. It colors and forms our life experiences. As we become aware of that power and harness it, our lives could change dramatically.
Through our imagination, we give form, shape and experience, where, in fact, there is none. Let me provide an example. It’s your niece’s sixth birthday. You purchase the perfect gift for her – a huge dollhouse – the box containing it, is humungous. You wrap it exquisitely, carefully placing the perfect bow on the box, and as you do so, you light up with energy and hope.
You imagine her shrieks of joy as she discovers the treasure under the paper and bow. You’re already experiencing the joy she’ll be experiencing upon seeing the gift. That’s imagination at work. It gives form to the formless. Nothing has happened yet, this gift is miles and days away from delivery to its intended recipient. And yet, we’re experiencing the event, solely by means of our imagination.
That’s imagination at work – it’s automatic. Nothing has happened yet, and it’s already happening in you. Through the power of imagination, just like that pitcher I described earlier, you have shaped and colored your life.
Through our imagination two people can see the same event quite differently. For instance: The big day comes and the child tears into this humungous present, excitedly ripping at the paper, thoughtlessly discarding that carefully chosen bow. You help her slide her gift out into plain view, and she immediately becomes enthralled with the huge box.
She crawls into the box and begins to create her own little house. She begins drawing windows and doors on it. Her imagination is hard at work! She’s loving her new present – a box large enough for her to play in!
You, on the other hand, begin trying to align her imagination with yours. So you point out to her, “See the little people in your new dollhouse? See the dog? See how the windows and doors open and close? Oh look, the bathroom even has a little toilet in it. Isn’t that fun!”
To which she responds, nestled in the box, “Do you want to come into my new home with me?”
Imagination is the power to see what others may not see. It is the power, as demonstrated by the six year-old girl, to place objects in new relationships. We see the box as a container that holds the perfect gift. The child sees the box as the perfect gift. And both perspectives are perfect for the beholder, however disappointing that perspective might be, at least for one.
Our power of imagination is like mental scissors that we use to cut out our life experiences. So if I have a presentation coming up in the near future, how I imagine that presentation, before I step into the facility, will influence my experience of it. If I do all I can, as motivational speaker Les Brown suggests, to walk in “Looking good, feeling good and smelling good,” that will be my experience as I enter the venue. I’ll walk in with confidence. Yet, if I imagine that the audience will be focused on a spot on my suit, or that I could lose a few pounds, then my confidence will be lessened. That’s the power of our imagination.
How about you? How do you imagine yourself in terms of appearance, personality, intelligence, ability, education, etc.? How do you color and shape your life? However you do so will be your experience. Do you imagine yourself a victim or a victor. Do you imagine yourself as capable and confident, or filled with low self-esteem? Whichever one you choose, will be your experience.
Starting right now, think of all the things you have done right in your life and imagine yourself building upon them. Imagine yourself the kind of individual you truly want to be, and then follow your imagination to become that person. Imagine your business, or your employment as you want them to be, and then follow the steps your imagination suggests.
As someone once said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” Focus on the outcomes you desire, hold that vision and walk toward it with your words and actions. Create your future. Use the power of your imagination to color and shape your world as you want it to be. And that will be your experience.