“Cherish your visions and your dreams, as they are the children of your soul, the blueprints of your ultimate achievements.”
— Napoleon Hill
My friend Bill Taylor writes a newspaper column called, “It Seems to Me” that features his musings on a wide range of subjects. This post about dreams falls into my own “it seems to me” category. Since I have almost no formal training in the field of psychology, I am fully prepared for a professional psychologist to take me behind the woodshed and beat some sense into me.
Dreams are the result of brain activity that we laymen are inclined to call “imagination.” I’ll call it the “creative mind.” Human beings also have a rational mind, where reasoning occurs. When a person is fully conscious, the rational mind tends to put constraints on the creative mind. Its purpose seems to be to keep the creative mind from putting a square peg into a round hole. Some would call this a “reality check” or “keeping things in perspective.”
“Dream big dreams! Imagine that you have no limitations and then decide what’s right before you decide what’s possible.” — Brian Tracy
Another part of the brain is associated with human emotions. The emotional mind has the potential to shift the imagination into turbo speed. It can also break down the constraints presented by the rational mind. In the end, we have a two-front war being waged against the rational mind.
“One of the virtues of being very young is that you don’t let the facts get in the way of your imagination.” — Sam Levenson, humorist
“Knowledge is power, but enthusiasm pulls the switch” — Ivern Ball, Poet
The imagination, like muscles, requires regular exercise if it is to stay in shape and maintain its usefulness. As a whole, I believe our imaginations have become soft and flabby due to neglect.
“If we fail to nourish our souls, they wither, and without soul, life ceases to have meaning. The creative process shrivels in the absence of continual dialogue with the soul. And creativity is what makes life worth living.” — Marion Woodman
“Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.” — Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., Supreme Court justice
Expressions of boredom indicate people are not exercising their imaginations. There are other clues to listen for. How many times have you heard the following in a casual conversation?
- “What’s new? Oh, not much – same old same old.”
- “Another day, another dollar.”
- “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”
- “There’s nothing to do in this town.”
- “I’ve been doing it that way for 40 years, I’m not about to change now.”
- “What are your plans when you graduate? Oh, I don’t know.”
- “I never thought of that.”
Even if these conversational fragments don’t indicate a specific lack of creative exercise, they are, as representatives of modern day vernacular, a reflection of a society that needs to be challenged to think and get outside the box.
“Getting outside of the box can not only be fun, it is sometimes necessary for our survival. That is what survival training is all about. It disrupts our inner programming, the mentality of going through life on ‘auto-pilot’ so that we can readily see bright new possibilities heading our way.” — Gail Pursell Elliott
“Progress is what happens when impossibility yields to necessity.” — Arnold H. Glasgow
I prescribe a solution — set a goal to change the culture one person at a time. The first person is you! Don’t wait for necessity to wake up your creative capacity. Make it a point to feed your mind daily with stories of dreamers. Exercise your imagination by making a date with yourself to dream. Call it your “dream date.” Develop the habit of putting your rational mind in neutral while your imagination explores exciting possibilities. Take notes. When one of your own dreams takes root, tend it like a garden. Then share it with supportive and like-minded people. Your newly found enthusiasm will be contagious. As your dream grows, expose it to the skeptics. Your dream may inspire some of them, too.
“A new idea is delicate. It can be killed by a sneer or a yawn; it can be stabbed to death by a quip and worried to death by a frown on the right man’s brow.” — Charles Browner
“Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the danger of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of ‘crackpot’ than the stigma of conformity.” — Thomas J. Watson, Jr.
Write down your dream in the form of a vision statement. Review it daily. Make a collage or other visual symbolic reminder of your dream. Keep that dream in front of you in some form or your daily cares will trample it to death.
“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” — Zig Ziglar
© Copyright October 2008, Clancy Cross. All rights reserved.
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