Imagination and creativity: Are they learned skills or God given talents?

There are some questions and problems that have definitive answers and some that can be answered only in theory or by the inconclusive science known as opinion.

Mathematics is mostly referred to as an exact science and, for the most part, it’s able to provide definitive answers, although there are some answers that involve infinity. Answers to questions about where and how our imaginations and creative abilities are born are more subjective and abstract. Since I’m not a scientist, nor an expert in neurological research, I’m simply going to offer some of my own thoughts on the subject as they pertain to my own experiences and those of others.

Many people seem to think that great writers, artists, world-renowned architects and visionaries like Walt Disney were born with their incredible talents. Now that may very well be true to some degree; however, I believe that it’s just as likely that along with their seemingly innate abilities, they were also dedicated students that worked hard to develop their imaginations as well as their crafts. Many of us have likely regarded “gifted” athletes and thought, “If I had just been born with talent like that, I, too, would be a world-class athlete.” Again, it may be true that through genetics they might have an advantage over most of us. The reality behind their success is dedication and hard work, just as those we view as great visionaries.

What do we do if we desire to be more imaginative and creative? If you’re one of those who are convinced that imagination is only gifted, then perhaps you may learn from those who think differently. Hard work is certainly one way to improve our imaginations by exercising our minds and creativity. What are some others? Reading thought-provoking ideas of others, has triggered my own ideas and helped me to create my own style and innovative methods in writing and in my former profession as a builder.

Though I’m not a fan of WCW Wrestling, one well-known wrestler, Rey Mysterio, who was known to be very creative in the ring said, “Reading helps me be more creative, it helps my imagination and I like that it gives me some quiet time.”

I love what the great poet Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “Science does not know its debt to imagination.” What that tells me is that imagination is extremely powerful and doesn’t apply just to writing or other art forms. It also means that we owe a debt of gratitude to imagination for things that only science and technology can provide such as medical cures and procedures, communications, travel, Internet and the list goes on.

We all have imaginations and certainly some degree of creativity. How we choose to develop those is up to us, individually. If you wish to be more imaginative and creative, step outside your routines, hike to places you’ve never seen before, read a book outside of your preferred genre, listen to music you’ve never taken the time to appreciate, and then take what you’ve learned and put it to use in the creative process of creating. Imagination is empowering, and just as Willy Wonka said:

There is no
Life I know
To compare with
Pure imagination
Living there
You’ll be free
If you truly wish to be

 

 

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