If I had a nickle for every time someone told me they didn’t have an imagination, I’d be a billionaire. If I had another nickle for every time those same people turned around and did something rather imaginative the very next second, I’d be even richer. Everyone has an imagination. Not every imagination is encouraged to range freely. Some people associate not having a wild imagination with not having one at all, but they’re wrong. If they have ever held back a thought in conversation, they have imagined the outcome of the thought and determined it to be worth holding back. If they have ever seen something that they didn’t like, they have imagined the thing’s impact on their lives and thought of something they preferred instead. If they have ever listened to a new piece of music, then the parts they didn’t know, they imagined, to make the listening experience smoother. Those are just a few of the myriads of mundane examples in which the average person uses their imagination every day. There are a multitude of other more “creative” versions for defining imagination, but this just goes to prove that every sentient life-form has the capability for imagination (even if only in defining the term).
So, what is everyone complaining about? The common misconception or complaint about “not having an imagination” stems from the thought that imagination makes itself know through some sort of physical outpouring. Artists, inventors, musicians, and thinkers are all perceived by others as having a big “I” Imagination due to the physical form the ideas take. Whereas, the average person’s own imagination goes unrecognized due to its purely internal form. The key to seeing oneself as having an imagination is the act of cultivating current imaginings in a free range situation. Here is a simple example:
A person perceives a chair and judges it to be not of their liking. The first thought in their mind determines the course of their imagination. Why don’t they like that chair? Is it too big, too small, just right but the wrong color? The wrong size is this example’s reason. The choice of “wrong size” indicates that the “right size” is being imagined. The person is then shown the same chair in the size they desired, but then something odd happens in their brain. This new chair is the right size, but it is not exactly “right” for some reason. In a customer/client discussion the next question is nearly always the same, “What else is there?” This simple question is derived from the subconscious act of imagining the perfect image, feeling, position, function, etc that is wanted when sitting in the new chair.
I’m certain the point is clear. There is no action or inaction taken by humans that does not have some element of imagination powering it. Letting that imagination run wild is the “free range” of imagining needed to push the average imagination into the realm of perceived Imagination. Take the example of the chair as described above and think about your own perfect chair. As you think about it let your imagination go free. It may take some practice if you perceive yourself as un-imaginative (only because your own misconception of the term “imagination” is holding you back). Write down, or say, every element of the perfect chair that comes to mind. Somewhere down that list you’ll realize something new. You just described a chair that doesn’t exist, and is something that no one else would have described exactly like you just did. The next step towards the perceived Imagination is creating a physical representation of that chair. Make it, make a model of it, draw it in some medium, or describe it in detail in writing or audio recording.
The point here is simple. Everyone has an imagination. It’s what you do with it that counts.