Some people face difficulty and ask, “Why me?” Others ask, “What if …?” What is the difference? What separates the complainers from the rest? Part of the answer lies in attitude. It’s the old optimist vs. pessimist comparison. But, there is a second differentiator. These others have learned to listen and see with their imaginations.
“Imagination is more important than knowledge…” — Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955)
“To know is nothing at all; to imagine is everything.” — Anatole France (1844 – 1924)
[Here’s a quick side trip to poke a little fun at my friends who are engaged in politics. 😉 ] There are also those skilled at inventing or discovering problems. I’m sure it is mere coincidence that these same people just happen to have a solution for these terrible problems the rest of us knew nothing about. (Is there an emoticon for sarcasm?)
“We may not imagine how our lives could be more frustrating and complex–but Congress can.” — Cullen Hightower
“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy.” — Ernest Benn
Imagination produces ideas, the seeds of change. Granted not all change is necessary or good. That’s why we have the editorial page and the marketplace – to help separate the good ideas from the bad ones. I wonder how much greater America could become if idle imaginations were turned up a notch or two.
“Our imagination is the only limit to what we can hope to have in the future.” — Charles F. Kettering
The rising cost of oil is a challenge as well as an opportunity perfectly suited for our imaginations. While some are whining and demanding government action, others are busy solving the problem for themselves by driving less or changing to a more efficient vehicle. Then, there are the imaginative folks who are working behind the scenes to solve the problem for many.
“Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will.” — George Bernard Shaw
What will the result be? Innovation! I’m sure we’ve heard rumors about engines that use water for fuel and cars that run 100 miles on a gallon of gas. This so-called “oil crisis” is an opportunity to develop a more efficient car and/or alternative fuel.
Some accuse oil companies of profiting unfairly from the high gas prices. If this is true, there’s another opportunity – buy oil stocks.
What about alternative forms of transportation like mass transit, motorcycles, bicycles, walking, and that two-wheeled, electric, gyroscope-controlled device made by Segway? For those who see and hear with their imaginations, there is no end to the opportunities.
“You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” — Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
Pointing our imaginations in a different direction, “what if” there were a technology that could make some types of travel obsolete? Imagine a technology that enables face-to-face communication without traveling. Such technology exists today in the form of a VoIP video phone. “What if” a person or a company got the word out about this technology and people started using it to for distance learning, business discussions and extra “visits” with grandma?
Rising travel costs might become the stimulus that reinvigorates our neighborhoods. Maybe people will stay home more and we’ll see a renaissance of picnics in the park, neighborhood block parties and folks sitting on the porch sharing a cup of coffee with a neighbor. Could the gas crunch revive the corner market and give a boost to telecommuting and home-based careers?
“To imagine the unimaginable is the highest use of the imagination.” — Cynthia Ozick
“If you can imagine it, you can achieve it.
If you can dream it, you can become it.”
— William Arthur Ward
Every problem is an opportunity. Imagine that!
© Copyright July 2008, Clancy Cross. All rights reserved.
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