Step 3 : Imagination
Creativity is at the mercy of Imagination and is the ability to create something material out of Imagination. This is my take on understanding the relationship between the two:
- Imagination comes first and is very powerful. In the world of Imagination, all ‘unreal’ thoughts are possible, and the sky is the limit. It is what we described in the EP7 course as having our “head is in the clouds”. It is the world where all rivers and waterfalls are made of melting chocolate!
- Creativity is the translation of these unreal thoughts into the real world. It is where our feet are firmly on the ground and is our connection to the real world. Creativity is then the process of transforming those rivers and waterfalls of melting chocolate into chocolate fountain machines that make children at birthday parties go crazy with excitement!
- Having our head permanently in the clouds would mean that we are completely living in fantasy land and not in touch with the real world.
- On the other hand, having our feet always on the ground kills imagination which is needed to feed creativity, and instead makes us boring and stuck.
In EP7 we describe the relationship between Imagination and Creativity as the Super Conductor Conduit. This relationship between Imagination and Creativity is KEY.
My Relationship with Imagination
For years I was stuck on my road of conformity, drowned in fixed beliefs which were the result of my background, education and upbringing.
By the time I was in my twenties I was so brainwashed into thinking that imagination was only for kids that I no longer had the inclination to ‘dare to dream’.
I also realised that until now the style of education that is being taught in most schools and universities does not help in promoting imagination. On the contrary our current education system creates and promotes dogma and encourages our children to just accept the facts that are being taught to them, without encouraging any feedback or being given the opportunity to challenge anything that is presented to them.
Think Like an Entrepreneur
It is therefore not surprising that famous entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson, Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg were well known during their university days to challenge course contents which were full of outdated facts and rattled the cage of many professors in the process! They came from totally two different school of thoughts.
However, there has been a slow shift in the style of teaching from key universities across the world as they realise that they have to adapt to the fast changing world. Depending on the subjects, there are now many lecturers at universities who have practical knowledge, or are successful business entrepreneurs themselves, thus bringing in their fair share of their own experience which is vital to inspire young budding entrepreneurs of tomorrow!
Entrepreneurs see their businesses for what they are, then use their imagination to picture what they could eventually become. Then they make use of their creativity in applying their imagination to address a challenge.
Another key aspect of creativity is Innovation, which is applying creativity to generate unique solutions and improves the process of problem solving.
So if entrepreneurs are able to harness their imaginative ideas, implement them using their creativity, and innovate to produce ground breaking new solutions, why are we not all successful entrepreneurs?
Identifying Creativity Killers
“You cannot solve a problem with the same mind that created it” – Albert Einstein
For me, the quote from Albert Einstein sums it beautifully and is the answer as to why we are often stuck and not able to let our imagination flow and creative juices take over. Our social conditioning has made us accept all sorts of assumptions to be real and logical, encouraging us to accept them without questions, let alone challenge them. The role of social media has also assisted significantly in creating those beliefs and dogmas. We no longer wish to challenge anything, and we then remain stuck in this mental prison which we believe is reality. In addition to these beliefs, we also have the following creativity killers:
- Stress – when we are unnecessarily stressed, we go into over protection mode which keeps imagination away
- Emotional Attachments – when we are too attached to a way of doing things any new ideas that come up will immediately be shut down by the brain, conditioning us to believe that we need to accept things just the way they are
- Fear – The fear of the unknown and resistance to change are major factors as to why we shut down any new ideas that might pop up in our minds
- Critical Analysis – this is when we focus too much on the problem and not the solution. For us to find the solution we need to remove ourselves from the current situation so that we can start looking at the situation in a neutral way, and often the solution is right in front of our nose!
Reclaiming Your Creativity – Dare to Dream!
So how do we reclaim our creativity and imagination? In the EP7 program we go through a whole section on how to move into PLAY MODE. As adults most of us have forgotten how to be in a playful mode and we take ourselves far too seriously! I know I did, for a long time!
Here is a list of ideas on how we can regain our playful mode:
- Participate in any new artistic, sporting or other fun activities where you can expand your horizon and learn new fun things to do
- Sing and dance with your kids or friends
- Engaged play with young children – it is amazing how your interaction with young children can make you go down memory lane as they share their full imagination with you! Wonderfully refreshing!
- Incorporate a play time in your everyday schedule – it can be a sporting activity, reading, painting, listening to music, anything that inspires you and make it non-negotiable
You can also listen to our discussion on “Imagination” with George Helou, the Founder of EP7 Coaching Academy in our podcast here :
“Wishing you all good health”