As adults we typically consider imagination child’s play. We shoot a placating smile to a child when they speak about growing up to be president, an astronaut, a doctor or a lawyer. Nothing is far fetched. We listen attentively when they talk about the horrors of the monster under their bed and console them to sleep when we tell them of our plan to defeat it. We supply them with crayons and paper to give life to a wonderous world of their own creation. We foster that creative side and proudly promote that vivid imagination on the face of the fridge.
Unfortunately, like a withering flower, we often fail to water that creative spirit as we grow into adults. Instead of whimsy we ask what’s realistic. Lofty goals are often hidden from others to avoid eye rolls of skepticism or disapproval. If you dare to dream big you often come off as delusional. Yet, we imagine all the time. We wonder what our next vacation will be and envision various settings. We fantasize about our perfect soul mate without ever meeting. Or we simply contemplate our upcoming meal.
Why is it then that only certain subjects are acceptable to envision with wonder?
Why do we allow ourselves to be so limited?
As we curtail our sense of visualization or imagination we increasingly do ourselves a disservice. Vivid images that we could hold at length in our minds as children often become too difficult a task as adults. Attempted visualizations become fleeting. Or, like The Temptations song, Just My Imagination, we dismiss imagining “as nothing more,” and senseless. Imagination holds no weight or importance. But as Steven Leeds, LMHC and NLP instructor at The NLP Center of NY, said recently in my class:
“Imagination is powerful. It plants a seed for the future.”
What one imagines can often come to pass.
Active imaginations have created bestselling novels, groundbreaking technology and cured terminal illnesses. (Check out these amazing stories of the power of the mind if you need some evidence.)
It was once believed that our brain’s structure was developed in early adulthood. Now modern science has shown that new neural pathways can be created in our brains to adapt to new experiences, memories or thought patterns. Our brains possess a plasticity. They can be manipulated, grow and change over a lifetime. With this knowledge, what we think about becomes paramount. “Positive thinkers” and those who engage in “creative visualization” may not be full of BS, after all, like some believe. They may just have a knack at making their fanciful daydreams and desires a conscious reality.
Can’t hurt to give it a try.
Just be careful what you wish for. It may just come true.