How To Use Your Imagination

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist when we grow up. – Picasso 

Imagination is something we typically think about with children, as we encourage them to be creative and invent themselves as they grow. What if it were true that this is a skill that’s useful for our entire lives? That’s what I want to show you in this post, as I’ve found it to be quite the case in my own life.

How To Use Your Imagination

Definition Of Imagination

To create a totally different life, you have to FIRST imagine it.

You have to imagine on purpose.

You can’t go about repeating your past. When you think old thoughts you create more of the same.

You have to imagine something new.

And I have some great news: your imagination is entirely within your control.

Imagination is the action of forming new ideas.

It’s the ability of your mind to be creative and resourceful.

If you’ve been a reader for more than a minute around here you know I’m allll about rewiring your brain. I’ve just never taught it through the lens of your imagination.

How You’re Already Using Your Imagination

The truth is you’re already using your imagination.

From birth to 30 years old you’re programmed to imagine a specific future.

Growing up in the midwest, I was taught to dream about going to college, then law school, then getting married, then having kids, then living happily ever after.

In fact, most of us were taught some version of that.

And so that’s what we imagine our future to be like.

Then all of a sudden we’re young adults and have accomplished what we set out to achieve, but we don’t know what lies ahead.

We forgot how to use our imagination.

After 30, if we imagine, we imagine VERY small. We’re “realistic” at best.

We might imagine getting a new job, making 10% more money, becoming a stay at home mom, getting out of credit card debt, going on a vacation, buying a house, losing 10 lbs, or retiring. 

Some of us don’t even imagine that.

And those of us who are imagining small aren’t spending a ton of time thinking about our futures. 

We may imagine retiring and subsequently contribute 10% of our income then forget about it completely.

So instead of imagining BIG like we did when we were kids, we’re doing something much worse.

We’re worrying.

We worry about not being good enough. 
We worry about getting too sick. 
We worry about missing our flights. 
We worry about our kids not getting into the right daycare or college. 
We worry about things we can’t control. 

Let me let you in on a little secret…

Worry Isn’t Necessary

Worry is not necessary at all. Ever.

Worry creates anxiety and panic. In addition, it adds suffering to your life. And suffering that is completely unnecessary.

It either will be or it won’t be.

Worry has nothing to do with it.

Even in the eyes of tragedy, you don’t ever have to worry.

The problem is we’ve been programmed to think worry is necessary. It’s responsible.

But that’s a lie.

Worrying doesn’t make you more diligent, thoughtful, or responsible.

Worry just adds fear and terror to your life.

You can be thoughtful, plan intentionally, and also truly be responsible without ever worrying.

This is where managing your mind comes into play.

What Your Brain Imagines On Default

Your brain is designed for survival.

It just wants to keep you alive.

So, your brain defaults to imagining very irrational fears so you “stay in the cave” and repeat more of the past.

It knows by repeating the past you’ll stay alive.

You can read more about how your brain works here.

It thinks you’ll die if you do something new. It’s normal to freak out about things initially. But then you can manage your mind.

Here’s a fun exercise: write down everything you’re afraid of.

Then notice: these are all just thoughts. Just. Thoughts.

The thing is, most of what you worry about won’t come true.

So, instead of worrying, I want you to use all the time and mental energy on imagining your dream future. More on Something Is Wrong in this podcast.

Your Imagined Beliefs Become Your Reality

Whatever you imagine (aka visualize for yourself) becomes your reality.

And what’s really cool is that you can create new thoughts, practice them, and also turn them into beliefs.

It’s more than just thinking differently though. You have to take action, too.

Your thoughts become your beliefs. And those beliefs create your feelings. When you feel the thought in your body, you act from it. The actions you take will create your results.

I thought about creating a business. I believed in it. I took action from that place. And that’s what I created.

It took Massive Action, Massive Thinking, and a whole lot of Massive Results.

Contrast this to someone who believes they’re stuck in debt and overworked and can’t get out. That’s what they’ll continue to create. More stress and more worry.

Intentional Imagination

Intentional Imagination is deciding on purpose what you want to imagine.

Remember that imagination is the action of forming new ideas.

Intentional Imagination is when you choose new thoughts on purpose.

You decide where you want to go. Then you create new ideas that move you in that direction. You have over 60k thoughts per day!

You can THINK anything

Why think fear and worry thoughts? 

Imagine on purpose.
Imagine positivity. 
Imagine success.
Imagine healthy relationships.
Imagine inner peace.
Imagine crazy amazing wonderful things. 
Imagine the exact life you want. 

You know you’re doing this right when the visuals get really clear. This comes with practice.

And it’s not the type of imagining that’s filled with lowgrade disappointment. It’s the kind filled with possibility. It’s the kind that’s future focused. It’s that kind that will change your life.

A Final Note

You have complete control over what you imagine.

However, like a dirty home that needs to be cleaned every week or two, your mind gets messy if you don’t coach yourself and get coaching.

The beauty of managing your mind is that you train yourself to imagine the exact life you want to create.

And what you imagine becomes your reality.