In the fast-paced lives we lead, most people don’t take the time to exercise one of our most important ‘muscles’, imagination. Don’t just take my word for it, Albert Einstein was a huge advocate for imagination, despite being a theoretical physicist. Reading the first fiction book I’ve read in a while, I found myself struggling to envision some of the descriptions and it dawned on me that i hadn’t developed my imagination as much as I thought I had and I wanted to change that. While there are a myriad of ways to enhance our imagination, I’ve started with the following two:
1. Reading Fiction
The first non-fiction book I read was Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki at the age of 12 or so. Since then I’ve been predominately reading non-fiction and embarrassingly been very proud to pronounce this. At a dinner a few weeks ago with a group of entrepreneurs, we were discussing which books had changed our lives. Mike shared that a friend of his, who was a successful businessman told him that The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand was his top book. This was quite different from the realm of the usuals: ‘The 4 Hour Workweek’, ‘Screw It, Let’s Do It’ or ‘Think And Grow Rich’. These are great books and have done wonders for many entrepreneurs. The Fountainhead is something quite different and unique, a classic published in 1943.
This isn’t the shortest book, and looked a bit intimidating to me compared to what I was used to reading. But in light of it being highly recommended by someone successful I decided to immerse myself in it.
The first observation that I had was my impatience with the descriptive writing. This was a symptom of me not being used to fiction. For entertainment I’d usually watch a movie or a series, I’d rely on quick-fixes. This conditioning of not necessarily having to engage my imagination frequently had left me short-changed. Previously I didn’t question how good my imagination was, I assumed it was good. But now I know that it’s something that I’d love to develop. What we can imagine we can achieve!
2. Practicing Silence
Every person has a brilliance and genius inside. Unfortunately our chaotic world tends to drown our genius and it’s up to us to give it airtime. This is crucial for our imagination to blossom.
I used to feel awfully uncomfortable in the presence of silence. Perhaps you can relate? Every time I’d jump in my car I’d have the radio on, even if there was cr*p on it. In January 2009 I did an 8 day silence retreat in Bangalore, India. When I share this with the people who know me, they are usually shocked that I can keep quiet for that long 🙂 This started me on my journey of exploring silence, but if I’m honest I didn’t integrate the silence practice into my life fully. Only now am I putting the pieces together of how profound that time in silence was.
No, I’m not just talking about meditation. I’ve found mediation to be incredibly enriching in every area of my life. But even if meditation is not your cup of tea, infusing a silence practice would undoubtedly enrich your life. These days my radio stays off. If I’m not listening to a podcast or audiobook, I drive in silence and I take as many silence breaks as possible throughout the day, even if they are a few seconds long.
If we don’t give our genius and brilliance the time and space to emerge, breath and thrive, we are doing ourselves a huge disservice.
I have 2 questions for you today:
What fiction books can you recommend?
How do you infuse silence into your days?
Love & light,