What Happened to our Imaginations??

by S. Ali

Picture this day. The first day of school at your very first school. You have on brand new everything. You’re smiling, happy, slightly nervous but your mom and/or dad is right there. Then you walk inside those big doors full of even bigger dreams. Your first teacher then asks the magic question: “What do you want to be when you grow up??”

You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.”
Mark Twain

No other single question in our collective consciousness is as ethereal, emotive, palpable and utterly terrifying as this one. The range of emotions you feel today is almost exclusively based on whether you have attempted any what you thought of that day. Terror if you haven’t. Giddiness at the possibility of what’s to come. Or anxiety because you’re still working and not quite where you want.

I submit to you that this is one of the greatest unanswered questions in our lives that we ALL have the ability to answer whenever we want. All it takes is a little thing that we have to literally unlearn from our time as children how to use: our imagination. Napoleon Hill calls it “the creative power of the soul” and teaches that it is the foundation for all self improvement and ultimate success because before it happens, you must, must, must imagine it first.

How were we robbed of this key to life? Who did this to us? And most importantly, how do we reclaim it?

We hear over and over again (sometimes) well-meaning phrases like “get real” or “stop dreaming” coupled with lies like “dreams don’t pay the bills” or “get your head out of the clouds” and countless other thoughts, phrases and general mistruths about the nature of one of life’s greatest assets. Flashback again to the answers we gave to that question on the first day of school: doctor, lawyer, scientist are great of course, but what about the others?? I’m talking dragon slayer, Queen of the Earth, King of America, race car driver, stunt driver, stunt man, astronaut, chocolate factory owner, ninja (my son’s favorite), super famous dancer, actor or singer, demolition guy, cowboy, super hero, pie maker, time traveler and soooo many others. These are just a few of chosen professions we would do if we only used our imaginations (except for the one about dragons, but you get my point). And I don’t mean as kids. I mean now.

Now think back to that moment when you realized you couldn’t fly and how that made you feel. Think of what happened when you realized Dad was the tooth fairy. Good news, because that feeling doesn’t have to be the one you associate with your imagination disappearing, because it never has to. And you don’t have to explain how you use it to anyone. Just be. Then use that imagination to power your dreams. Understand that imagination is also the raw material for dreams. Without it, you wouldn’t be reading this because there would be no internet. No electricity to power our non-existent MacBooks or software written in a computer language that hadn’t been invented in the textbook no one wrote, etc, etc.

Use and work out your imagination muscle just like your biceps or thighs or calfs because you never want your kids and all the kids of generations to come to forget how to use it. Use your imagination because you want to dream again about the things you love and all the things that could be (when combined with our other favorite four-letter word: work! but that’s another blog). But most importantly use to imagine that best version of you. The one who excels at everything because you practice seeing the angles. The you that loves imagining doing all the things you want to do, then does them. Remember everything we want in life starts with imagining it first.



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