April 11, 2013 in James Mapes
This blog is the first in a series on what I believe to be a basically ignored, underappreciated and undervalued component of creativity, innovation and success – “applied imagination.”
I am fairly certain that you have heard the expressions – “What you focus on is what you receive” or “What you focus on is what you attract.”
But, what do these statements imply?
The reality is that your imagination can be your best friend or your worst enemy. It is HOW YOU IMAGINE and WHAT YOU FOCUS ON that affects your brain and, therefore, your expectations and perceptions.
You can imagine the economy tanking and make some bad financial choices by being catapulted into fear-based thinking and negative stress. You can imagine failure and resist taking the very risks that might help you learn and succeed, or you can imagine yourself failing to make a sale and negatively influence your communication with the prospect. The list of harmful scenarios can be limitless, but they all result from allowing your imagination to run amuck. When you lose control of where and how you focus, you reduce your chances to achieve a successful outcome.
Imagination is – in itself – whimsical.
Applied imagination equals creativity.
When you learn to harness your imagination, your imagination becomes your best friend. Then, you can use your imagination instead of allowing your imagination to propel you. It is ONLY when you proactively focus your imagination to achieve a specific outcome that you ignite the creative process and ramp up your odds of success. When you “apply” your imagination, you create something of value. In business it may be creating a value-based philosophy, a high-performance team or developing a product. If you are a writer, you apply your imagination to a specific subject or idea and create an article, manual or book. In the area of health, you can apply your imagination to lower your stress, reduce pain or heal faster.
As a peak performance coach, I help my clients define what they want to achieve in a specific area, stay focused and develop strategies to achieve their goals.
Here’s what I want you to do: Take a moment and consider where and how you apply your imagination – mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally and socially. Let go of judgment. The first step to understanding and applying your imagination is to become mindful of how you imagine and the results you achieve. In a later blog, we will look at specific ways to apply your imagination.
This is not meant to be superficial advice on how to be happy all the time – but rather how to be creative and productive. Do that and your joy factor will take care of itself.