When you’re younger, you use your imagination constantly without even thinking about it. Remember all the creative projects and games you used to do as a kid? Maybe you even enjoyed playing pretend and using your imagination to invent some fictitious friends or characters.
As children, our imaginations know no bounds, but things change as we get older. When our imaginations start to kick in, we’re quick to shoot down our own thoughts and ideas. We become overly critical, harsh, judgmental, or analytical. Then, in those moments when we’re called on to be inventive and use our imaginations for an artistic endeavor, we wonder why we feel so creatively stifled.
Your imagination is like a muscle. Not in the literal sense, of course, but like any muscle, it needs to be trained and toned in order to utilize it to its fullest potential. Chances are, you’re not harnessing the power of your imagination entirely. That’s why we’ve compiled some steps to help you unlock your imagination and use it for creativity.
Acknowledging the Potential and Value of Your Imagination
The first step to unlocking your imagination is giving some credit where credit is due. You must acknowledge the potential and value of your imagination. Self-doubt is one of the top killers of imaginative thought. You have to believe in your imaginative powers in order to unleash them. Start trusting that your imagination is important and worthwhile and know that it has the capacity for greatness. Begin to give yourself permission to welcome imaginative ideas as they pass through your thoughts and use your imagination more freely.
Understanding How Your Imagination Really Works
At the most simplistic level, the brain has three main components, working from the inside out: the brainstem that’s responsible for survival, the limbic brain that’s responsible for emotions, and the neocortex that’s responsible for higher level thinking. Your imagination originates in the neocortex, but after you conceive of a creative idea, it can filter into the limbic brain.
Once your emotions are involved, you can either harness your imaginative notion or squash it. Your emotions may urge you to attach to the idea and see it through, or they may encourage you to dismiss the idea. Next time your imagination kicks in, use your emotions to your advantage. Get excited and passionate about your creative concept before any negative emotions can creep in.
Getting Comfortable Using Your Imagination
Now that you’ve acknowledged the potential and value of your imagination and understand a bit more about how your imagination really works, it’s time to get comfortable using your imagination. Earlier, we mentioned approaching the imagination like a muscle that needs to be trained and toned to be the most effective. Simply using your imagination more regularly and easing into your own unique imaginative process is exactly how you can begin growing and developing your imagination.
Finding Balance between the Right Brain and Left Brain
Once you begin to master unlocking your imagination, you’ll need to take some actionable steps to use your thoughts and ideas creatively. This is where finding a balance between the right brain and left brain comes into play. First, focus on your right brain, and let your imagination run wild. Try not to place any limits or constraints and allow your imaginative juices run freely. Start to notice certain ideas that get you particularly excited or that you keep circling back to.
Now, you can begin to transition to some more structured left brain thinking. You could simply start by making a list of some of the thoughts and ideas that you generated. Be sure you don’t fall into any of the critical or judgmental thought patterns. Instead, as you begin writing some of your imaginative ideas down and bringing them into existence, continually ask yourself this: what would it take to make this idea a reality?
Establishing a Habit of Using Your Imagination
After you unlock your imagination, it’s crucial to remember that you’re still in control of your imaginative process. Imaginative thoughts and ideas don’t just pop into your head out of nowhere. As you can see from the steps we’ve outlined, unleashing your imaginative powers and building your imaginative muscles takes time and effort. That’s why it’s essential to establish a habit of using your imagination. Whether you carve out a half hour each day or set aside an entire Saturday each month, setting a routine to use your imagination will help you realize your fullest creative potential.
Seeing Your Ideas to Fruition
Although getting comfortable using your imagination can be a hurdle within itself, the most challenging step is actually seeing your creative ideas to fruition. Taking those imaginative concepts from your mind to a list in your sketch pad or journal is only half the battle. The final piece to using those imaginative ideas for creativity is taking action.
This step is just as important and powerful as your ideas themselves. Take the list of concepts you’ve compiled and expand each concept with some actionable steps toward implementing your idea. Simply taking one small action toward making your imaginative ideas a creative reality is empowering. Hopefully, it will inspire you to stay committed to making a habit of using your imagination.
Unleash Your Imaginative Power
Some of the best ideas have come from people who weren’t afraid to use their imaginations and dream big. At first, many of these ideas seemed outlandish or impossible. But, more importantly, these individuals knew how to harness the power of their imaginations and turn their ideas into actionable steps to make them become a reality.
It’s never too late to start unlocking your imagination and using it for creativity. We hope that some of these steps help you to realize your full imaginative potential and help you make your creative ideas a reality. We’d love to hear about some of the different ways you like to tap into your imagination and how you use your ideas creatively. Leave us a message in the comments below. We can’t wait to learn how you’re unleashing your imaginative power!