BY Rawan Albina
Executive and Leadership Coach
According to Wikipedia “Imagination, also called the faculty of imagining, is the ability of forming mental images, sensations and concepts, in a moment when they are not perceived through sight, hearing or other senses. Imagination is the work of the mind that helps create. Imagination helps provide meaning to experience and understanding to knowledge; it is a fundamental facility through which people make sense of the world, and it also plays a key role in the learning process.”
It seems that in today’s day and age, life has become so fast, so planned and so predictable that we have lost touch with our imagination. In my role as a coach I work with a lot of professionals who are so wrapped up in the details of their work and life that they forget to use their imagination.
Imagination and creativity go hand in hand. Unless you are in a creative field, chances are the older you get, the more you get attached to your habits, the more you lose touch with your creativity. You get used to doing certain things in a certain way and you don’t feel the need to change or create something new. Creativity is essential because it gives your left brain a chance to relax from all the analyzing and thinking and take a back seat. Have you ever watched a child at play? I am always amazed at the ability of children to create something out of nothing. They are able to transform a figment of their imagination into a story with characters and a whole lot of life. Just give them two cars, two dolls or two teddy bears and they will start an imaginary conversation. In this imaginary world, children explore, learn and grow into confident adults.
I believe that imagination is a muscle, the more you use it the more flexible and agile it becomes. When was the last time you caught yourself daydreaming? Daydreaming is the fuel of imagination, it feeds your thoughts. Unlike what most people think, it is not about being lazy. You may look like you’re doing nothing but your mind is busy following a thread and visualising new things.
If you’ve been stuck in the logical side of your brain for too long, tapping into your creativity may take some work. It requires that you get out of your comfort zone and stretch your imagination a little. There are many ways you can develop your imagination. Improvisation acting classes, art classes and dance classes to name a few. Any activity that gets you in touch with your body will allow you to disconnect from the intellectual brain and start creating from a new place; a place that is intuitive and just knows what you need in that moment in time to express yourself and grow. Story telling is also great. Just grab a Dr. Seuss book and see how the use of rhyme and storytelling has the ability to transport you to a different world. Read a story to a child or take creative writing classes. Go out there and do something different. Parasail or go to one of those restaurants where you get to cook your own dinner under the supervision of a chef! The ideas are endless you just need to leave your logic behind and allow yourself to savour new experiences that feed your soul.
As Dr Seuss said: “I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.” So get out of life’s realities… “Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!” Why don’t you just try?
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