imagineering

I love the idea of Imagineering, imagined by Alcoa in the 1940’s and popularized by Walt Disney in the 1950s. Let your imagination soar and then engineer it down to earth.

The invention of television is a great example.Philo T. Farnsworth was a mathematician and inventor in the early 1900s and was considered by many to be the father of television.

When he was 12, he was plowing a field on his uncle’s farm. Looking back over the freshly-plowed stripes of field, he realized that an image could be sliced into many narrow rows, transmitted one row at a time, and then reassembled into the original image by the receiver. He developed the idea and by 1927 he sent his first image (a straight line) from a transmitter in one room to a receiver in another room.

Using his imagination, he looked at something ordinary and related it to a complex problem that none of the leading scientists of his day could solve. He dreamed a new possibility and engineered it down to earth.

Just imagine! Without Farnsworth’s imagination, no Modern Family and Hogan’s Heroes reruns!

Imagineering applies equally to personal dreams as it does to innovation. When you’re stuck in what feels like an unsolvable problem and you’ve thought about it until your head hurts, stop trying and start imagining. Look for the answer some place new. Don’t even look. Just get on with living and dreaming, and an answer will come.

Once you see it, you can be it. Dream it and do it. Dream your life and live your dream.

What is it called when you dream in color? A pigment of your imagination! Imagination puts the pigment in life. We would be flat and dull without it. Imagination helps us to live a multi dimensional life.

Parts of our logical mind, as well as much of the education system and the media, want us to believe that life is black and white. Stay within the lines. Do what you’re told. Buy this product and you will be happy. Follow this path and you will be successful. Look with your eyes, judge with your logic, be rational, or so we are told. But as Mark Twain said, “You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.”

Einstein said that imagination is more important than knowledge. I think it’s a different form of knowledge. Imagination sees ordinary things with extraordinary vision. It sees things eyes can’t see, hears things ears can’t hear and knows things your logical mind didn’t know it knew. Imagination is a different way of knowing but no less important and no less real. Picasso said, “Everything you can imagine is real.” It’s real because you just created it in thought form, now it exists as potential.

Imagination is like x-ray vision except it’s totally normal and natural. It sees through convention, beyond the lines, outside the box, envisions the life of your dreams.

In 1884 the English novelist and mathematician Edwin Abbot wrote “Flatland” as a metaphor about a two-dimensional world where everyone is a geometric shape. The main character is a square, who is visited one day by a sphere from a three-dimensional world called Spaceland. But all the square can see, because he’s trapped in a two-dimensional world, is a circle.

The sphere tries to explain the third dimension to the square, but the square can’t imagine it, until finally the sphere takes the square up out of Flatland into the third dimension. The square can’t believe what he’s been missing all this time and becomes an evangelist for the third dimension. It’s an uphill battle. No one wants to know. They’re locked into seeing the world in two dimensions. They lacked imagination.

Victor Hugo said, “Imagination is intelligence with an erection.” I like to think of imagination flirting with reality, seducing possibility, messing around in the space between what is and what could be.

Einstein again said, “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”

Imagination is not the domain of the elite. It is in all of us. It’s the ability we all have to question the way things are, turn status quo into status flow, resignation into inspiration.

Imagination senses the future as it emerges, breaks the shackles of the habitual, opens a door beyond the routine, and gives you a sneak preview of your wildest dreams. Gloria Steinem said, “Dreaming, after all is a form of planning.” It frames your intentions, allows them to be large and unrestrained.

In a way, imagination is a form of memory, but it’s a memory of the future, not a fantasy imagining things that are not really there, but truly seeing what was inside of you and awaiting your attention all along. Do you see it? Do you hear it? Listen….imagination is whispering to you, calling you to believe – in yourself, in your potential, in your dreams. This is a self belief that bubbles up in you, through random images, daydreams, and stories, while jogging and resting and singing in the shower, often from beyond your conscious awareness, carefree in the face of reason’s tight lipped caution.

When you dare to engage this open space, the doors of imagination flung wide, you imagine the possibilities for your life and the world, and say with clarity and passion, “Why not?”

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