Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Part 7 Imagination and ideas Think and Grow Rich

(Albert Einstein)

I am opening today's topic mentioning the above quote from Albert Einstein.  I have read a biography of Einstein a few months back, the one written by Walter Isaacson: Einstein: His Life and Universe. It was an excellent book.  

Einstein is relevant to today's discussion because he is proof of what Napoleon Hill also says in Think and Grow Rich.

MAN'S ONLY LIMITATION, within reason, 
(Napoleon Hill)

Most of us know that Einstein was a pretty smart guy. His theories of relativity, for example, was a truly great scientific discovery.  What many people may not know is that Einstein's breakthroughs came in part because of his intellect, but mostly because of his imagination. 

Power of ideas and imagination 

Einstein was able to imagine how light would behave through a falling elevator, from the perspective of moving trains, and around a heavy planet. He deduced much of his theories from his imaginative thinking.  His ability to imagine is what gave him his brilliance.  

Einstein testifies to the power of ideas and imagination.  So does Napoleon Hill in Chapter 6 of  Think and Grow Rich.  In this Chapter Hill tells the story of the beginnings of the Coca Cola corporation.  This massive company, as Hill tells us, also started from a single human idea. So have all of the successful businesses you see around you.  

Ideas are powerful things. Robert Kiyosaki, in Rich Dad, Poor Dad, also shares this belief.  Kiyosaki tells us in his famous book on wealth that "you don't need money to make money, you need an idea to make money".  Hill notes in his previous chapters, of Think and Grow Rich, that both wealth and poverty are cultivated in the human mind and then materializes into the world.  

Kiyosaki's point is that if your idea is good enough, the money shall follow.  Ideas are the elements of the human mind, but they are not restricted to the mind.  Ideas seek expression in reality.  Expression through the 'actor' of the mind.  Ideas are also convertible; convertible from 'mental energy' to elements of physical reality.       
(Napoleon Hill)
Two types of imagination

Imagination is the process of the mind that molds, improves, and establishes creative ideas.  Imagination is the mind's creative center.  It is from our imagination that great ideas flow; and great ideas are behind all successful endeavors.    

Imagination, as I see it is the 'mental incubator' of ideas. From our imagination ideas, images, sensations and concepts may be incubated, to be expressed later in the physical world.     

Inspiration, hunches, and innovation

Napoleon Hill describes two types of imagination: the synthetic imagination and the creative imagination. The synthetic imagination, as Hill defines it, refers to ability to combine old concepts, ideas, and plans into a new idea.  This draws mostly from your past learning and experience.

The creative imagination, on the other hand, is the faculty of the mind trough which completely new ideas come into existence.  Creative imagination flows from the realm of 'hunches' and 'inspiration'. Some of us occasionally experience times of great inspiration.  During such periods our minds are stimulated and creative energy flows.

Hill notes that we may develop both the synthetic and creative imagination through practice. Sadly, most adults have lost much of their imagination because of atrophy.

It appears that we have to fuel our imagination with 'energy'. The energy, according to Hill, that fuels imagination is a strong passion and desire. Hill provides more guidance on healthy mind stimulation later in Think and Grow Rich.

For now, I think it is important to focus on stirring up your passions and life purpose in order to give energy to your imagination. If we have lost our passion; we have inadvertently have lost our creative  inspiration.

For that exact reason Hill suggests that we stir up passion and desire to fuel our goals.  Inspiration and imagination it appears, flows from our passion, and has to be developed through practice.  Imaginative ideas are worth much, as Hill puts it:

(Napoleon Hill)   
Momentum of ideas

Hill illustrates that ideas have power within them.  Ideas are birthed by the human mind, but ideas have power to live on long after the person responsible for the idea has died.

It seems like many ideas follow a predictable course.  They are birthed by a human mind through a process of imaginative incubation. Thereafter they are presented to the world but still require much nurturing for a period of time.

BUT, at a specific point, if strong enough, the idea takes hold in the minds of people, gains momentum, and starts to run on its own power. Ideas such as marxism, democracy, nazism, and gourmet coffee  all started in the minds of men. Such ideas went through a period of incubation and nurturing in the mind.  Thereafter, these ideas gathered momentum, caught on, and made a substantial distinct impact on history.

If you like to read a good book on the topic of ideas, I can recommend Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.

How to develop a creative idea: 

Psychologists studying the creative process show that creative production of ideas normally follows five phases:

1. Orientation: the phase where one has to identify and define a problem.  If you are reading this post, I presume that the problem of how to accumulate wealth may be a problem you are looking at solving.  

2. Preparation: the phase where you gather information on the problem. As Hill told us, our conscious and subconscious mind needs material to work with. My post on specialized knowledge explained that our gathering of specialized knowledge has to be directed by our goals.  Related to the creative process, such knowledge becomes the material your mind has to work with.

3. Incubation: The phase where the subconscious mind processes the problem and available information in the 'back ground'. Many creative people will testify that they sometimes run into a 'blank wall'. A period when finding a solution to a big  problem seems impossible. However, during this phase, the mind seems to be working in the background, 'looking' for solutions, even when the person is not actively thinking about the problem.

4. Illumination: The phase when the general idea of how to solve the problem materializes in the mind.  This phase refers to that Aha! experience. An experience of inspiration, when a solution to the problem suddenly emerges in the mind.  

5. Verification: the phase where the solution to the problem is evaluated and verified. This implies making sure the solution is actually a valid solution.      

How to evaluate your future ideas:

After thinking about this topic for some time, I have develop some questions I am going to use to evaluate my future ideas:

1. Am I really passionate about this idea? How can I stir up my passion even more?
2. Am I passionate enough about this idea? Passionate enough to devote a life time of nurture toward seeing my idea materialize? Many ideas have required much time and nurture before they caught on.
3. What will happen if this idea runs away from me? Will it cause more good or more harm to come into the world?
4. What additional specialized knowledge do I need to make the generation of creative solutions possible?  
5. How am I going to verify my creative ideas for their value?

That's it for this post.  Please feel free to add your own comments and insights, we would love to hear about your own creative experiences.   

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave your insights, comments, and suggestions in response to the posting. Balanced Life SA aspires to be helping and respectful community. Irrelevant and obscene comments will be removed by moderators.