The Gift of Imagination:
Using Your Visionary Power to Create Your Dream Life
BY LINTON BERGSEN
You cannot create anything you want from life if you cannot see it as a possibility. Period. It’s never going to happen. In order for your dreams to manifest into reality, you must have a distinct vision to help you navigate through life.Having a vision is also critically important to substantiating the meaning of your life and validating the reason you are here. Every single one of us has a vision. We may each call it by a different name—a dream, a wish, or a hope. But how do you get from having a dream to seeing it come true?
The long answer? Many things need to be set in motion and accomplished before your dream manifests itself. The short answer? It begins with imagination.
The Importance of ImaginationImagination is the only state of mind that allows us to be free from the limiting reality we live in. Allowing our imagination to flow freely liberates us from the restraints of regular life. Imagination creates a vision for us to see what could be. Imagination gives us hope in the face of adversity because it has no limits. It allows us to believe in possibilities that would not otherwise exist. It allows us to feel invigorated, alive, optimistic, and enthusiastic. It connects us to a deeper part of ourselves.
I believe…Imagination is the essence of sustained motivation toward the accomplishment of any goal.
Imagination connects you continually and sustainably to a tangible outcome. It determines your behavior. Did you realize that your imagination has an actual physiological impact on your emotions, allowing them to be evoked positively or negatively? When you imagine, you physically feel what might transpire if the situation you are imagining becomes a reality!
Let me give you an example. We have all had the experience of constantly imagining a negative outcome of an event and immediately feeling our hearts begin to race as anxiety rises up within us. Perhaps you were in a tense situation and wondered:
What will the medical test reveal?
Will I embarrass myself at this presentation? What if I forget what I’m going to say?
Are those police lights flashing behind me?We’ve all been there—but entertaining negative thoughts produces the same stress and anxiety as if the potential outcome actually happened! The body is reacting with physical symptoms to the images provided by our minds. The reverse effect can also be achieved. If we imagine a positive, uplifting experience, don’t we feel excited, elated, and energized? What a difference! The fact is, your body is simply hardwired to respond to your mind, and your mind responds to the pictures you feed it. It’s the same for all of us.
“Your body is simply hardwired to respond to your mind and your mind responds to the pictures you feed it”
Now here is where things get very interesting. Your emotions and behavior are also tied to the images you visualize. Though often underestimated, this is a very powerful combination. Understand and internalize this truth: your imagination is a reference point. It will help you find your life purpose and future as you visualize it. It is all about the mental pictures you create.
Let me ask you something. How many times have you really had your imagination roam in the recesses of your mind to come up with a huge idea, and been spurred to move forward on that incredible idea, only to be told by others that it is impossible?
Don’t they ask you why you would even think or imagine such a thing? And if you don’t have the education, finances, or resources, they really give you grief! Regardless of their intentions, they try to ground you before you even take the first step toward flight. Sound familiar?
If so, I want you to grab hold of the following truth: No one has created a life of one’s dreams by fulfilling the wishes of others.
You may be motivated to please others or look for fulfillment through external affirmation, but do not let go of your dream or your vision or whatever you imagine simply because someone says it’s impossible. You have the tools and the resources within yourself to help make your dreams a reality.
The Three Facets of Consciousness
Every experience, every conversation, and every reaction to each circumstance in your life is recorded, registered, and played back to you in your mind. Sometimes this constant replay results in a negative outcome. It may keep you from turning your dreams into reality—from grounding your imagination into physical form. It may not allow your dreams to manifest. Believe it or not, much of this happens without conscious thought.
Our responses to our situations are subconscious. The way we live our lives, the people we associate with, and the input they give us form the belief systems we cultivate within ourselves—and these beliefs form the habits and responses we live by. Naturally, sometimes this is good and sometimes it is bad. The opinions of others are stored and ready for automatic playback. We don’t even have to think about a response. We simply act from our previous conditioning—and all conditioning begins and ends with our subconscious.For example, if you had a bad experience in a relationship, that experience is stored. Then, when you meet someone new, any behaviors similar to those you experienced in the past will cause the old ones to be replayed, and the behaviors will seem like “red flags” in your new relationship. Your subconscious has a memory of the previous relationship, and similar events act as triggers.
But shouldn’t a relationship be based on the present and not the past? As you might expect, the subconscious does not let go of memories or conditioning very easily.
The only way to shake off the old way of thinking, to purge your subconscious mind, is to diligently reprogram your responses. You decide what is useful to store and you decide what is detrimental to your growth and wellbeing.
Essentially, your subconscious is storing, playing, and developing new habits that etch grooves in the brain and, just like with an old record player, the needle gets stuck and plays the same old tune over and over. You know the feeling of being stuck in a rut, and that is essentially what’s happening when you just follow the leading of your subconscious. It’s the same old song. Your habits can be useful to your wellbeing as you grow and develop, but they aren’t always useful. You have to consciously decide which tunes you want to play, when, and how. You have to imagine and create new patterns to replace the old, worn out grooves.
Does your taste in music change over the years? Your clothes? Your preferences for foods and environments? These are all external. Doesn’t it make sense, then, that your habits should also change over time? Habits are internal, and internal changes tend to be more challenging than external changes. If the correct habits are made permanent, they can change the course of your life when applied correctly. External changes—like a bigger car, a promotion, a brand-new house—can sometimes give a false sense of progress, but external changes very rarely have any effect on habits or conditioning.
Understand and apply this: Changing your habits is the essence of behavior change.
Changing your behavior requires changing your attitudes toward the situations and circumstances you encounter in life. Change in attitude and change in behavior go hand in hand. It comes back to you! You have the choice to create your own reality via your imagination in the deep recesses of your subconscious, ready for playback. Creating your own reality allows you to live your life on your terms and manifest your vision for you.Going with the flow of past conditioning can do only one thing: keep you tied to the status quo.
The cold, hard truth that affects us all is this: Our state of mind affects our outer reality.
Really let that sink in. We all live primarily in the conscious state: we feel and see things on an everyday level and are influenced by them. This includes everything that we can touch, taste, smell, see, and hear. Our senses are, by definition, restricted to the body. The body and the senses are inextricably tied to our conscious state, so we tend to believe that everything around us is real. As a result, when we allow our imaginations to soar and when we believe that things are possible, the superconscious mind takes over because it deals exclusively in the limitless realms of possibility.
When you are not in the conscious state, you are not limited by your senses. You are unlimited. There is no reference point to yourself as a being who is sentient (having the power of perception by the senses) in the realm of the imagination. Your senses don’t limit you in any way.
This concept of three facets of consciousness—the subconscious, conscious, and superconscious—is vital to your understanding of the importance of imagination. If you fail to realize that you are working to move yourself forward in three different areas of reality at all times, you are essentially failing your life’s vision.
You have to get all three facets of consciousness working together, much like a symphony, to reach the potential of your life’s vision. Vision is the aspect of yourself that allows you to find your purpose, but you can move forward only when you understand that you are an integrated being. You are not trying to manifest into reality only one aspect of yourself. You have many different facets that require full integration.
This article on imagination is excerpted from Linton’s latest book, Purposeful Vision.
About The Author
Linton Bergsen is a sought-after speaker, author, and champion of change. An inspired communicator and strategist, he has a record of enhancing performance for individuals and companies, including start-ups, privately held businesses, and Fortune 500 industry leaders. His expertise is in facilitating personal and professional communication across all levels of an organization, identifying problems, and providing effective solutions. He excels in both one-on-one settings and group seminars, helping people realize their full potential.