Imagination is not something that disappears as you grow up, but it is something that adults have a hard time connecting with because they think it’s the stuff of childhood. Or, when you use your imagination, it’s written off as just “thinking” or “using your brain.” This is Part Two in my series How To Tap Into Your Creativity.
There are many reasons why adults step away from the idea of using their imagination, and ultimately, their creativity. Some begin to feel self-conscious about it. Others spend so much time studying or focusing on their work and think that it can’t help them anymore.
We can easily understand that a writer uses their imagination to come up with storylines and characters or a sculptor does when she carves something out of rock that no one else could see was there. But what about rocket scientists? Yes, they are brilliant AND their imagination is enormous. How else could they design rocket ships and moon-landers? They didn’t exist until people thought them up, designed them and then created them.
What about Henry Ford and the first horseless carriage? Even primitive man had to use their imagination in order to create the wheel (I’m sure they used their imagination for a lot of other things, like creating weapons and hunting, and just plain survival!) But think about it, the wheel never existed before. To think that it would make their life easier, someone had to think about it before it existed, think about what they could do with it. That is imagination at it’s finest. Thinking of an issue and then using your imagination to figure out what you could use, or make to fix your problem.
Two Simple Games to Stretch Your Imagination
But imagination is not reserved for the big breakthroughs or discoveries. It’s an important part of everyday life too. You use it when you arrange your furniture. You use it when you make up a recipe while cooking.
Here is one simple game you can use to work out your imagination, you can use it with your kids too. Grab a spoon (or any other household object) and start coming up with different ways that you can use that spoon or pretend that you can use it. For instance, we might imagine that we can use it as a drumstick, a hammer, a mirror or a shovel to dig in the dirt. A child might pretend that it’s a microphone, or an ice cream cone or use it to play tiddlywinks.
On the other hand, think of a mundane problem, like a small hole in the wall and imagine what we can do with it. Easiest would be to fill the hole with caulk. But what about filling it with toothpaste so the wall smells minty fresh as you walk by? Or what about putting a picture over it? Or making a window or a door where the hole is? How about enlarging the hole to create a built-in shadowbox or using the hole as an anchor for a light display?
The possibilities are endless only limited by your imagination (or your willingness to use your imagination.) I’d love to hear some of the ideas that you came up with for the spoon and the hole in the wall.
You can Read Part 1 in the Creativity Series Here