When you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting! In other words, “You can’t solve problems using the same kind of thinking you used to create them,” to paraphrase Einstein. Your professional and personal success will depend on your ability to develop imaginative, innovative thinking.
Let’s drive this point a little deeper. Rober Pirsig wrote,
“If a factory is torn down, but the rationality which produced it is left standing, then that rationality will simply produce another factory.”
This translates into the fact that businesses and customers need new solutions to enduring problems. You’ll accelerate your career and business by developing your imagination.
Here are three ways to improve your imagination:
1 – Read More Fiction
Fiction does not mean untrue. I’ve referred before to Orson Card’s defense of (Science) Fiction as “What may be.” Many dismissed George Orwell’s 1984 as fantastic back when he wrote it. Yet many of his imaginative elements exist today; cameras and monitors everywhere, for example.
You can expand and strengthen your imagination by considering what may be more than what already is. Reading more fiction will open your mind to new possibilities and creative opportunities. Who wouldn’t want to hire someone with those abilities?
2 – Ask More Questions
Why? My point exactly. One question that’s particularly effective at expanding your imagination is, “What if?” An another is, “Why not?” Asking a question is a humble invitation to learn and grow.
Similar to the effect of reading more fiction, asking questions prompts you to consider new possibilities. You’re more likely to overstep the status quo. Progress comes slowly, if rarely, by rehashing what we already know. Progress comes by delving into our own ignorance to find new opportunities.
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3 – Improvise More Stories
Narratives don’t have to extraordinary or fantastic to be effective. When you communicate, especially in professional settings, try to illustrate your point with a metaphor. This ability to produce concrete examples (stories) to communicate your point is a growing trend in leadership development.
Just like exercising a muscle, forcing yourself to improvise more stories and illustrations will expand your imagination and creativity. This skill will prove to be a milestone in your professional success.
Do you agree that improving your imagination is a crucial professional skill? What other suggestions do you have for developing imagination?
What methods have you employed to learn and develop new skills while on-the-job? Thanks, in advance, for your input.