What ever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.
Napoleon Hill, on belief
This quote is frequently used to say, “Dream big or go home.” But, there is an unattractive underbelly to imagination, isn’t there?
What are we doing to ourselves with our imaginations?
The problem is this: what we lay claim to in our minds becomes ours, whether we ever wanted it or not. The Bible calls it “ calling those things that be not as if they are.” Emmett Fox used the analogy of branding someone else’s cattle as our own.
It is selective imagination and focus that is a gift. Unbridled imagination can actually cause a kind of paralysis. What do I do next? What do I respond to next?
I refer to my fears often. My fears. Aren’t I then making them forever mine, by branding them as my own? I waste so much time planning for False Evidence Appearing Real- FEAR. While bold and fearless imagination is creative, imagination based upon fear, is stunting, freezing creation, including the creation of solutions to our problems, right in their tracks.
As a storyteller, I can go from “ how do you do?” to Zombie Apocalypse in 60 seconds. That’s good when I’m writing, but not so much when I’m living my life, creating relationships, paying bills or trying to step away from the safety of the printed page and communicate what’s in my heart, what I might dare to want to any audience greater than one. Isn’t it strange that there are no limits to the negative things I summon into my head, but imagining success, abundance, those thoughts, I limit. Who do I think I am, imagining good things for myself?
In my former, life I was a lawyer. This meant basically planning for the end of the world every day and being ever ready to act, based upon that contingency. Every workday, someone would bring in a bomb, put it on my desk and then run away. I became really good at imagining worst case scenarios and planning my days based upon those scenarios. The problem was, they weren’t my scenarios. I was there to solve problems to the extent of my ability, not live or take responsibility for my clients’ lives.
When I imagine doomsday scenarios, failure or things to be afraid of, I am laying claim to these things. I am literally branding cattle that aren’t mine. My preacher says temptation is the warning light on the dashboard of life. We set ourselves up to be vulnerable to it by the way we use our fantasies and imagination.
Negative imagination creates artificial limits and makes them seem real. It’s the adult version of imagining a Boogie Man under the bed. We all have our boogeymen, keeping us stranded on our beds in the darkness. What we claim as ours and what we choose not to claim determines if we stay on the bed or get up and go.