Have you ever caught yourself dreaming? Of places you’ve never seen before? About combinations of existing objects that would create the unknown and new? Or the unlimited variety of mediums on your magical palette of sounds, images, words, textures and tastes? About the possibilities of life? The endless bounds of technology and progress? About a perfect world free from the confines of disease, poverty, sickness, or even death?
All of these imaginations, whether real or in your mind, are beautiful examples of creativity.
Imagined In Your Mind
Creativity is a two-way street of imagination and creation: imagining in your mind what potentially could be and figuring out how to bring it into being. I often make excuses that I’m not creative enough. We are all guilty of saying that at some point in our lives, but is it because we spend too much time on sustaining what has already been made, and not enough time on what could be?
In 2008, Mike Wallace edited and released a collection of essays called The Way We Will Be 50 Years From Today: 60 of the World’s Greatest Minds Share Their Visions of the Next Half-Century. It is a book filled with raw and pure imagination from scientists, philosophers, inventors, economists, world leaders, and many others thinking about a world free from disease, war, addiction to oil, and even robots.
In Tim Mack’s essay, “Snapshot of a World with the New Nation of California,” a vision of a world filled with non-humanoid robots is laid out in a thought-provoking manner. Mack talks about how much artificial intelligence will have learned in 50 years, yet still have much to learn from the minds of humanity because of their lack of innovation, imagination and curiosity.
This is the beauty of creativity and imagination: the sole expression of an individual’s humanity. Creativity is what makes us human and sets apart from machines and animals. Mack sums it up succinctly, “The ability of the human mind to go beyond the status quo and believe in dreams has proved a cornerstone of our humanity.”
An Unlimited Playground Of What Could Be
Do you remember what life was like when you were a kid? I remember playing with my Star Wars action figures, pretending that I was on Tatooine, saving Princess Leia from the evil Jabba the Hut. I could travel at warp speeds between reality and make-believe. It was an unlimited playground of not only being someplace else, but imagining what could be.
As I grew older, the cynicism of adulthood got the better of me, abandoning me to a bar stool in the mental bar of Mos Eisley, drunk on the spoiled wine of a wasted youth, wishing that my broken-down spaceship could even get out of port, let alone, half way to my imagination.
But eventually, I got off the bar stool and realized something: creativity is not only imagination, but also creation. Creativity implies a sense of intentional and purposeful action.
Created By Your Actions
Imagination without action is just day-dreaming. It won’t bring about what could be. It just reminds of us how miserably discontent we are. We get mad, get drunk, and then forget about what could be until we repeat the cycle the next day.
Creativity becomes alive and meaningful when we act upon our imagination, our dreams. You never know what could be, if you never try to change what is, and that is why creativity is best not to stay imagined in your mind alone. It needs to be shared with the world.
If that intimidates you or you think you aren’t good enough, start with expressing your creativity to yourself. Belief in yourself is a great place to start, but too many end there becoming arrogant. The only way to avoid the trappings of ego is to share creativity with another person, followed by groups of others, allowing them to shape and morph what could be, into what is.
Are you imagining big and exciting things? Are you sharing those dreams with others? Or are you just sitting on the sidelines moping and bemoaning that you are good enough and should be playing in the big game with the rest of us?
Consider this your wake-up call to get in the game. Act on your dreams and express your humanity. If not for yourself, for the sake of the world.