Your imagination is a preview of life’s coming attractions.
– Albert Einstein
Oh to have the imagination of a child! Remember those days when you would imagine yourself as a policeman, fireman, doctor, nurse, truck driver or teacher, playing football, performing in a ballet, baking cookies or hosting a tea party? Maybe you’ve watched your children or grandchildren play out similar fantasies. When I was six or seven years old, post World War II, my buddies and I would play army. We were soldiers, GI Joes, fighting the Big War with toy rifles, rubber bayonets, and even some relics our daddies and uncles brought back from the war like a small backpack, ammo belt, or canteen. Hiding behind hay bales we would lob dirt clods as if they were grenades at a pretend enemy. It was great fun playing those make-believe games imitating what we perceived the grown-up world to be like, experimenting with it, and envisioning in a way our own lives as adults. I don’t know this for a fact, but I suspect most child development specialists concur that having an active imagination is a critical component in the growth and development of a child.
Too often, though, we adults get so caught up in the day-to-day serious matters of making a living, tending to our families and jobs, pursuing our careers, that we lose our sense of imagination dismissing it as child’s play or an escape from reality. Yet, if an active imagination is critical in the development of a child, why is it not so for adults as well? Could it be, in fact, that the imagination is not an escape from reality but the gateway to it? Can you think of a single invention, innovation, advancement in technology, work or art, progress or achievement of any kind that did not first originate in someone’s imagination?
This occurred to me a few years ago when I founded my coaching business and why I named it Beyond Imagination – that just beyond what first originates in the imagination is the reality of an invention or innovation, of advancements and higher levels of achievement. Like children’s make-believe the adult imagination is a critical component of growth, development, and progress in our lives and in the world. As Einstein said, “Your imagination is a preview of life’s coming attractions.” Oh to have the imagination of a child!