Watching my 2 year son old mimic his 4 yr old brother as he pretends to be a super hero or they collectively place pillows on the floor and then proceed to ride the ‘train’
complete with sounds and station stops, I wonder what happens to our
imagination as we age?
As a child, it’s random and carefree imagining – being anything and everything! The thought that something cannot be done is not even considered. Some may say this is a child thing and emotional maturity then allows us to ‘properly’ engage with the world around us. Surely, though, imagination does not have to be limited to a child’s fantasies? Surely imagination can be a tool for adults to enhance our capacity to dream, hope and plan for the future?
Children use their imagination naturally, without restriction, yet as they grow us parents tell them to ‘stop daydreaming’, to ‘get a grip’, to ‘be realistic’. Rather than harnessing the imagination, we attempt to squeeze out the remaining naturally creative processes.
In most work environments, we seek to control this by electing to call imagination
‘brainstorming’ and structuring it for a defined period and a targeted outcome.
Without imagination, nothing would ever have been built, created or changed.
Without imagination, the status quo is forever. Without imagination, life is curtailed.
Of course imagination alone will not bring anything to pass – a dream only becomes reality through planning and action. But the starting line must be vision.
When I consider adult imagination, I think of Richard Branson, the Virgin entrepreneur. A man who envisioned a better way to engage staff and customers and in the process
reformed the music, travel, telecommunications and financial services sectors.
Still imagining, Branson is moving his idea of Virgin Galactic towards reality – 21st century space tourism! Imagination!!
When we’re next confronted by someone’s seemingly unrealistic imaginings, let’s measure the idea’s worth by first asking the question “what if…?”.
Let hope rise.