Imagination: The Creative Workshop of the Mind

Imagination: the ability of the mind to be creative or resourceful. The faculty or action of forming new ideas, or images or concepts of external objects not present to the senses.

by Michael Corthell

If you can imagine something, you can take that image that sits in your mind and make it real.

Napoleon Hill, in his book, Think and Grow Rich says that there are two types of imagination:

Synthetic Imagination. ''Through this faculty, one may arrange old concepts, ideas, or plans into new combinations. This faculty creates nothing. It merely works with the material of experience, education, and observation with which it is fed. It is the faculty used most by the inventor, with the exception of the "genius" who draws upon the creative imagination, when he cannot solve his problem through synthetic imagination.''

Creative Imagination. ''Through the faculty of creative imagination, the limited, finite mind of man has direct communication with Infinite Intelligence. It is the faculty through which "hunches" and "inspirations" are received. It is by this faculty that all basic, or new ideas are handed over to man.''

''The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.'' ''Imagination is more important than knowledge''
—Albert Einstein

Every successful enterprise began with an idea. Putting your imagination to good use produces good ideas, sometimes world changing ideas. Here's an example of imaging or 'outside the box' thinking:

A book publisher, whose books sold for around $14.95 each, made a discovery in marketing and merchandising.  A discovery that turned something that was seemingly stale into something new and fresh by using his faculty of imagination.

He noticed that many people buy book titles, and not the contents of books. He realized that book titles are like headlines. They grab the readers attention. Just by changing the name of one book that was not selling, his sales on that book jumped by more than a hundred thousand copies. The contents of the book was not changed in any way. He changed the title that did not sell, and put on a new cover that offered better value. It made the consumer BELIEVE that the book had more entertainment value. Perception is reality my friends. This was an IDEA, begot by IMAGINATION.

Here are some ideas for increasing imaginative thought.

Eat well and live well, exercise and reduce your stress level.

Eliminate distractions. Television, computer, cell phone. find a quiet place. Do 'nothing'.

Read creative literature and watch creative films. This will put you in the mood.

Listen to music without lyrics. Like classical Bach or Beethoven. Music without lyrics arouses your creativity, and use it like a blank slate for your imagination to write on.

Try writing just for the fun of it. Beyond the therapeutic benefits of writing for fun, it will cultivate your imagination. Journaling is an easy way to begin writing. Write about what you know.

Take a hands-on art class. You don’t have to intend to sell your work to enjoy visual art. You can try a pottery or painting class to find out ways you can stimulate your imagination by creating physical objects.

Learn a musical instrument. The orderly, mathematical quality of music will let your imagination flow.

Participate in holiday activities—believe it or not. You don’t have to convince yourself that the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus are real. Playing along with these myths reflects and enhances your imagination. It develops an active imagination.

Look for firsthand experiences. The best creative exercises provide you with mental activity and material out of which you can form ideas. Experience can be firsthand or secondhand, such as reading, listening or watching. But firsthand experience is far superior. You do this by getting 'out there', out into the world and experience it firsthand.

Just imagine what you can create with your will and a little experience, practice and determination.

Taking Imagination Seriously
Janet Echelman found her true voice as an artist when her paints went missing -- which forced her to look to an unorthodox new art material. Now she makes billowing, flowing, building-sized sculpture with a surprisingly geeky edge. A transporting 10 minutes of pure creativity.