Imagination is the Difference
Remember – Alice in Wonderland – by Lewis Carroll (1832-1898)?
“There is no use trying,” she said, “One cannot believe impossible things.”
“I dare say you have not had much practice, ” said the Queen. “When I was your
age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I have believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
Memory and learning, and in our opinion, worldly success, are the result of the practice of Creative Imagination. Sure, unlike oxygen, and water, you can live without it, but its absence strikes you from the Elite 5% of society. To be a spear-carrier does not require believing impossible-things, being a leader in your career – does.
Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald’s, defined a entrepreneur as a guy who invests his time and money in creating something to sell to people before- they-know-they-need-or-want-it.
The entrepreneur acts, believes, thinks and feels, As-If – once the public knows of its existence – they will fall over in a faint – after they hand over the money – because it fills their deepest burning-desire.
What makes the entrepreneur so sure?
They imagine a Bill Gates level of success in their mind’s eye. They visualize Yankee Stadium filled with consumers begging for their new video game, diet pill or memory book. And they give a Duchenne (eyes-and-teeth), smile of coming success.
Remember when a cell phone just permitted people to speak and hear each other?
An entrepreneur argued it must also be a camera, download music, and permit us to view the last episode of Deal-or-No-Deal or Lost – on video.
Now tell me, how did they know in advance that millions, tens-of-millions, would want the supplementary uses – and pay for it monthly?
Focus groups, surveys, and polls – are wrong 80% of the time.
The entrepreneur acts on intuition coming from the movie-screen of their mind’s eye. Sometimes it comes as a still-small-voice whispering a suggestion in their left-ear – their mind’s ear. They see and listen – and they act.
All of us have experienced a hunch, an intuition about playing the Lotto or investing
in an IPO like Google at $85, but unlike the entrepreneur – we laugh and continue reading the newspaper story about the latest murder. Wait! Is intuition always a sure-thing?
Is it a sure-thing that you will get home tonight and not get hit by a Mack truck; that the company you work for will still be in business this time next year; that the U.S. government is right, and Iran does not already have a nuclear bomb aimed at us?
Humans hate change, love their comfort-zone, and get woozy over ambiguity.
“A horse is a horse, of course, of course,” and a zebra is a stripped pony. Maybe.
How to Imagine Vividly
Two scientists at Drexel and Northwestern Universities have tracked down the AHA! factor. No soft-science for them, they used a electroencephalogram (EEG), and a functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), to point to what happens in the brain when we experience the WOW! zone – a peak performance.
Rockets fire off (synapses), in our Temporal lobe; that is where conceptual processing occurs; fireworks occur in our Frontal lobe, the site of cognitive power.
When these two brain structures interact the result is an AHA! idea.
The rest of the time our Methodical brain activity is produced by the Visual Cortex, in our Occipital lobe. There really is a physiological difference in our thinking systems, and we have AHA! ideas few and far between.
How do we produce more AHA! ideas in the future?
The article appears in the April edition of Psychological Science.
We hate the sound of the word – exercise – because it reminds of school and its boring experiences of following the orders of a teacher. Elite people – the 5% who run society – know the answer to the question – Who is the Boss of You? It is Not the teacher, that’s for sure.
Here is an exercise to develop your creative imagination.
Choose one of the following: a roll of Scotch-Tape, headphones, eyeglasses, or scissors. Grab a pen and produce ten imaginary uses for the Scotch-Tape.
The second day, use a different item – the headphones – and list twenty imaginary uses for it.
By the third day, try the eyeglasses and list thirty imaginary uses for that item.
Don’t laugh – do it for five-minutes, three-days in a row, and your mind’s eye begins
to become creative and imaginative. For those who must know the how-and-why, the answer is your Right-Hemisphere. Involve your right-brain in manipulating ideas – playing with icons – linking a new idea with old long-term memory – and the result is something new and unique.
Your left-brain is in charge of order, logic, meaning and language. It sits like a judge and analyzes the evidence. Your right-brain controls intuition, emotions, and
pattern-recognition; it runs holistic thinking and sees the big-picture. Both halves
work together to create creative imagination.
Here are seven ways to get creative and enhance your imagination.
Your job is to create mental-movies that involve a link between a new idea, and a image already in long-term memory.
Start off imagining other uses for a specific object – no matter how silly and ridiculous your answer.
It is like a batter in baseball warming up by swinging three-bats; when he disposes of the other two bats, the remaining one feels like a feather, and his reflexes are sharper and acute. These exercises sharpen your imaging reflexes for creativity.
Take these descriptions and use them one-at-a-time.
a) An example of Weird is ghosts, witches, or Flying Nuns.
b) Animated – refers to action – running like a tiger, hopping like a kangaroo, flying in a plane.
c) Three-D is how you see the images in your mind’s eye; not flat, but with depth.
d) Color is your ability to make the icons vivid, bright or dark, and memorable.
e) Humor is creating a silly, unreal or impractical mental image of a situation.
f) Exaggeration is a eight-legged pussy-cat, a one-footed-dog. How about a six-foot potato sleeping in your bed?
g) Senses are: seeing, hearing, touching, smelling or tasting. When you create a new mental picture using one or more of your senses, and exaggerate what they are doing – it becomes unique and locked into your long-term memory.
“I cannot believe that!” said Alice.
“Can-t you? – the Queen said in a pitying tone. Try again, draw a long breath, and
shut your eyes.”
Do these exercises and you will believe in your Creative Imagination because it is only dormant, not dead!
Why should you bother?
You will help double your memory, and even triple your reading speed by invigorating your right-brain skills. You will improve your productivity, and
create solutions to your personal challenges. Best of all – you will join the Elite and
enjoy your life more. Feeling good counts for a lot.
copyright © 2006
H. Bernard Wechsler
Author of #1 book on Speed Learning published by Barron’s Educational, partner of Evelyn Wood, creator of speed reading, graduating 2 million, including the White House staffs of four