Can We Remember How To Imagine??

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Aladdin lamp

Well, I’m back and at it again.  I decided to take a little break after the relationship blogs to let all of that information settle in.  I want to thank everybody for taking the time to check them out and I really had no idea that the blogs would go beyond 6,000 views in just a couple of weeks.  I’ve received some questions from people asking me when is the next “relationship blog” coming and it may be a few weeks or maybe months.  I’ve definitely got a lot on my mind and relationships as a topic is only one thread of thought for me.

So, moving forward with what’s next I’m now on the thought of building a better future.  I have 2 aspects of a better future I’d like to share, one is the perspective of building a better community/culture and the second, building a better “you” (or me in my case.)

A gentleman by the name of George Zalucki is a life coach and motivational speaker.  To paraphrase Mr. Zalucki, he said that “imagination is the closest thing that we possess as humans that allows us to tap into the God that is in all of us.”  That’s a pretty powerful statement when you look at the fact that everything that has ever been formed was at one time a thought before it was a physical outcome or a tangible item.  It’s very similar to Napoleon Hill’s words that “Whatever The Mind of Man Can Conceive, It Can Achieve” taken from his book “Think and Grow Rich.”

I personally think that when we look at the progression of technology and advances in “lifestyle” we can say that there have been many improvements made in American civilization.  I think that there is a degradation that is also taking place at the same time.  Being a DJ, I am constantly surrounded by music in one form or another.  Also, I am surrounded by people that have opinions about music.  It is my opinion and only my opinion that the quality of music and the standards of music desired by the mainstream music listener have been reduced to an all-time low in 2009.

At first glance it may seem that I’m talking about a lot of different things, but I’d like to bring them together.  I believe that we as Americans are some of the laziest thinkers in the world.  I also think that technology has made so many things readily accessible and has “painted the picture” of what we could think so vividly, that people have come to the point that they don’t imagine anymore – they don’t think for themselves.  Of course this is a widespread generalization and it couldn’t nearly apply to everyone.  I do feel that the number of people who read for pleasure, is probably at an all-time low.  I think that the patience that we have for and with one another is at an all-time low.  To put it succinctly, we have become a “microwave” society that needs and wants everything immediately.  However, we don’t put much thought into life beyond just “wanting things.”

Simply put, if we’re not using our imagination – we’re actually moving further and further away as individuals and as a society from being the most and the best that we can be.  When I say imagination, some people may think of that as “goal setting” and although that is a part of it, I do think that we “as a people” are quite comfortable with “wanting things.”  The imaginations of most people these days seem to stop short at what we can have.  What about what we can do, who we can ultimately be??  I think that we have stopped dreaming, stopped imagining as a people and we have become very preoccupied with wanting and having.

This could be caused by a number of things – upbringing, influences, environment, etc.  Regardless of the source of the stagnation, we can do something about elevating and moving to a better place.  I think that we all owe it to our parents, our friends/families and communities to become the best and most that we can become.  It’s not fair to those who need us to be our best to settle for less than who we can ultimately become.  Of course that’s relative to everybody, some people are leaders and some will never lead.  However, those who don’t lead have just as important a job as the leaders – it takes a village to raise a child and it takes us on a “conscious” level to understand that we all are villagers – we need one another.

So, what can be done about a stagnant society or about the lack of consciousness within many of us?  I think that the first thing we can do is to understand what it is that we let in our “space.”  That can be people, music, entertainment or anything that influences who we are or what we do.  If you find that the music on the radio is monotonous and annoying, turn off the radio.  When it comes to TV, sure it’s cool to have a guilty pleasure in reality TV, but what about creating your own reality by taking some of that time back.  I think that music listeners, movie watchers and tv viewers have increasingly accepted far less in quality without questioning it, as opposed to knowing that they deserve a better offering.  Listeners/viewers deserve better, however in many cases far less time is being spent creating value around what standards their lives should be held to.

Instead of spending time watching/listening/viewing others, spend that same time to sit with yourself, quietly and think about where you want to go in your life.  I think that more and more people are spending time looking at their current position in life and not spending time just thinking, imagining where they can be (as opposed to where they are.)  When we look at some of the great thinkers of the last 40 years including Dr. King, President Obama and Oprah Winfrey – I think that it can be said that they “had a dream” (pun intended.)  My point is that the chances of you getting where you want to go in life increase exponentially when you put conscious effort – just 15 minutes a day directing your mind to where it is that you would like to go with your life, who you want to be, what you want to do.  Not only can you get more, but the “things” that appealed to you can become less significant or even totally lose their appeal based on your having a higher standard of where you see yourself moving in your life.

Your imagination can serve as your life’s compass.  That’s a great thing and a scary one for some at the same time.  The good news is that if you take time to direct your thoughts in a positive and progressive fashion you have a great chance to advance to whatever heights you seek.  The “not so good” news is that for those who don’t take the time to direct their thoughts – there’s enough garbage out here to drive them to a less than desirable destination.  The worse part is that they often times won’t take responsibility for being the architect of that dead end destination by not using their energies to chart a better course as opposed to the one that they’re on.

I think that the great thing about Soul music from the 50’s – 90’s is that it was filled with imagery and imagination.  Additionally, Hip Hop music from the 80’s – 1999 was peppered with texture, creativity and “I could have never thought to say that” lyricism.  Where is the next Spike Lee, Russell Simmons or Susan Taylor (creator of Essence Magazine?)  There used to be so many discussions surrounding Terri McMillan and other fiction authors just 15 years ago.  It’s not to say that we don’t have visionaries in 2009, but it could be said that there are so many people trying to fit “in the box”, that “out of the box” thinking is more the exception than the rule these days.

I think that imagination will move us out of the copycat mentally of trying to sound like, look like and be like everybody else.  Furthermore, imagination will allow creativity and originality to take the forefront.  The person who becomes the creator of the “original material” will be inspired to be different and improve the quality of the products they deliver.  In turn, the receiving audience will expect to receive more than sub-standard products and will elevate the standards of the media (i.e. tv, film, music, etc.) companies to deliver quality instead of quantity.  This will force companies to go back to offering substance over style.  In the end this leads to a better community and environment overall with more progressive material and influences as opposed to stagnant or destructive material.

That speaks to the culture that we’re in, but what about you?  Ask yourself, who’s in my “inner circle” – what do they concern themselves with or “are we talking about anything that matters?”  What do you consider entertainment AND is it purely entertainment or more a lifestyle for you (aka “living the music video”)?  There are many books, articles and websites developed to encourage people to do more and be better with their God-given abilities.  I think that the simplest thing we can begin to do is to read more.  Reading sparks thought, it sparks imagination.  Some people say they don’t have time to read, but I’m sure that in many cases (not all) that there could be a time shift made to incorporate more reading and less of other forms of entertainment.

In the end, it boils down to vision – where do you see yourself.  Many people use different ways to stimulate positive thought within themselves.  Some people may meditate, some may use affirmations, some may pray.  All of these activities require some use of the imagination to move us from where we are to where we desire ourselves to be.  I’ve said it before in other blogs that people often times acquire what they think they want and find themselves unhappy once they get it.  This is partially due to spending a lot more time thinking about what they want as opposed to who they want to be.  There’s a big difference between “having” and “doing.”

It was revealed in Earl Nightingale’s 1956 audio recording “The Strangest Secret” that the commonality in all men is a secret that is revealed with these six words: “we become what we think about.”  So, ask yourself – what do you think about most?  By adjusting your environment along with having directed thoughts of who you want to be and what you want to do, you’re half way there.  If you find that you’re not where you want to be in life – tune out the outside world and tune into yourself.  Become the child you once were, connect to the little God inside of you – your imagination is only a thought away.  I hope you find it.  Your life, your family and your community’s survival depend on it…VA

For additional information on “The Strangest Secret” visit http://www.nightingale.com/AE_Article~i~22~article~StrangestSecret.aspx

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19 Responses to “Can We Remember How To Imagine??”

  1. wow…very powerful and insightful. Funny enough, a girlfriend and I had a conversation similar to this one where I told her I felt like my creative cancer was aging…lol. At that point, I was definitely addicted to reality TV and everything I did revolved around many of the show schedules. I cut off the cable (yeah, I know right!?!?!), amped up my workout and began praying more and just utilizing my ‘me time’….slowly but surely, my mind began to open back up and here I am today…completely intrigued by the law again and starting law school in the fall. Interesting how things work out…now I haven’t quite ‘imagined’ what will come from that JD but I’m sure that God has something great planned…if I can stay focus and keep my creative cancer and vision in check….lol

    • Vince, this is an awesome blog and I hope that many people stop by to check it out. Keep up the great work!

    • Cassandra Bell Says:

      Love you…… You are my own personal therapist….. Funny…. I was just having this conversation. You better stay out of my head…. Keep penning. We need you! l

  2. Very motivational! You’ve made some valid points. Well, I think we often take things for granted and lose sight of the true meaning of life. We all have purpose and God has given us the tools to find it…we just need to stop and listen. I would love to expound on this but for some reason my words are not flowing tonight. Well another time… 🙂

  3. Lois Lane Says:

    Im a firm believer that if we can think it we can be it.
    That plays for person or circumstance.

    It all starts with thought that inspires action.

    As kids our imagination ran wild…we soared in leaps and bounds.
    We believed that we could do anything we set our minds too.
    And we challenged anyone to show us different!!!

    As we got older..life happens and that part diminishes…we learn that yes we can get by with doing it the easy way. We dont seperate wants vs needs. It becomes jumbled and lost in translation.

    Your blog is a reminder to challenge ourselves, to expand, to put the value in the process, in the idea, in clarity and in action.

    As we advance in technology, medicine, politics….we should never lose sight of our power within and that all starts with imagination.

  4. Stacy L Says:

    Im a firm believer that thoughts turn to action.
    If we can think it, we can be it.
    That holds true for people or circumstance.

    When we were kids our imagination ran wild!!
    We created an environment based on our imagination.
    And we dared anyone to tell us different.

    My girlfriends daughter told me one day
    :Im not a girl anymore I am a unicorn:

    I had a 30 minute discussion on unicorns
    and we even went to the library to look
    up stories about unicorns.

    Who was I to tell her different??

    As we get older…life happens and thru our experiences
    We lose that. Wants and needs become cloudy and get lost in translation.

    We get by on quick and easy..instant gratification and we realize that sometimes we dont have to work as hard.

    Your blog is a reminder to THINK, to use what was naturally given to you and invest in the long term vs the short term.

    A beautiful reminder that with imagination…we can be unicorns as well..

  5. Vince

    Once again your thoughts inspire me and your shared journey on your blogs can help us focus more on energetic messages emanating from our positive and negative thoughts.

    Let’s create breakthroughs in our own minds that will set us to new insights and soaring to new imaginations!!!!!

    Our DNA blue print has the capacity to do so!!!
    We are intregal part of a wonderful spiritual Source within us-

    “God” ( and many other names known to mankind)

    WE just need to unleash the LOVE and our imaginations will follow!!!!!

    Until the next blog I will be ………………..

    “A wild woman running with the wolves ”

    Smile (great book & read for deep thinkers)

  6. Andrea Horton Says:

    Okay VA…I am sitting here ’bout ready to burst! Amen! Hallelujah! THANK YOU!!!

    This blog touches on what I was getting at in my response to your blog about the BET awards about life immitating art. I am so convinced that “our people” have bought into these sterotypical images of who we are and what success is and what it means to be successful that they cannot see that they are being told who to be! This is not only affecting teenagers, but adults and young professionals too. I have an uncle, whom I love dearly, who keeps telling young people that you don’t need to go to college to be successful. Very true. Understood. Bill Gates didn’t finish, Oprah didn’t finsh, etc. But what ever happened to education for the sake of learning, not making a dollar? We are so out of tune with that concept. That was the BEST part about college to me. Sitting around with other bright people (many of whom may have been brighter than me) and talking about things like this. Working with my sorority to help young girls think and talk about things like this and help them become truly free thinking, independent young women!
    The idea of monetary sucess has become the dominant standard, and I think this adversely effects our culture in a more monumental fashion than others.
    I have tried in recent years to surround myself with people who are centered in Christ. If I cannot talk to you about God, and building a relationship with him growing as a person and a Christian, then we aren’t ever going to be tight. I am continuing to work on my personal growth, and as I do that I have noticed that my appetite for those “guilty pleasures” has diminished.
    I love this! Keep it up! You need to start hosting fireside chats or something!
    I am off to consider my circle, my space and to thank God for a black man who is trying to get us thinking!!

  7. Great post!!!

    I feel it’s our responsibility as the “Thinkers” to spark thought in the people around us.

    This is how we will build our own personal legends and legacies….by spreading the knowledge of our true capacities and being that example.

    Thanx for taking the lead!! I’m inspired keep it coming!!

  8. Damn, VA. Incredible insight. I hope that you would entertain speaking to young people between the ages of 15-18–what you’ve written is what they need to hear. It is between these ages where a lot of them are trying to find themselves, their vision, their goals–some may be more advanced, but I am of the belief that many more are not and may not have someone in their circle (family and/or friends) that could provide this type of guidance.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Peace.

  9. Angeline Griffith Says:

    Sir,

    Very well stated!!!

    It is always a pleasure to read your blogs because you always produce such high quality writing and you always deliver what is promised. I often wonder if you are fully aware of the profound affect you have on your audience. Vince, I’ve learned a great deal from you (and about you) in these last several weeks and can only say that your case in point is a wonderful lesson to us all. I’m proud to know you and I’m quite sure others feel the same way that I do. Great work and thanks again for sharing.

    Ang

  10. Milo Edwards Says:

    Thanks for sharing Vince and this just confirms that by expanding the mind into dreamland. Viewing life as you want it to be and accepting your future as a reality coming to you. You can manifest all your beliefs into being and please always keep your dreams on a positive path. The negative can be manifest also.

    Keep kicking the knowledge, people need to hear this!

  11. Imagination is more important than knowledge.
    ~ Albert Einstein

    Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.
    ~ Albert Einstein

  12. Margaret Dorsey (Mom) Says:

    Read your new blog today. I was surprised and impressed. Well Done! You brought your point home very well.

    Love you forever, Mom

  13. Excellent work, as I have come to expect from a VA blog!

    Your timing is amazing as well. The day after you posted this piece, our lovely First Lady hosted the 10th Annual National Design Awards where she made reference to the first Albert Einstein quote Mr. Martin III posted (above) and spoke to the nation’s top designers about the importance exposing children to things that will spark their creativity.

    I’ll leave you with one more AE quote for the road…

    Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.
    ~ Albert Einstein

    It seems great minds really do think alike 😉

    Thanks, as always.

    MJ

  14. DaShall House Says:

    Vince,
    It is no coincidence that I read this passage from you. This is something that is practiced in our house. We had read almost every book you have mentioned and more. It took me a while to realize all this. However, I know my results in life are results of my actions and thoughts.
    I have people in my life that wonders why I don’t call the way I use too, or break my neck to see them when I come. I can’t get them to see (nor do I really try) that their actions and thoughts are not in connection with mine. Napoleon Hill also says in Think & Grow Rich~ ” when two or more people coordinate in a spirit of harmony, and work toward a definite objective, they place themselves in position, through that alliance, to absorb power directly from the great universal storehouse of Infinite Intelligence.” In other words, if you surround yourself with people who are in harmony with you in terms of advancing in life and achieving greatness, then you have a better chance of getting what you want out life. This is especially important in relationships, and in raising a family, your inner circle.
    I use to think my parent’s were mean because I did not have a television in my room, so as a result I did a lot of reading and still do to this day. It was not until I became a mother and let my son have a tv in his room that I realized they did me a favor. Now, because I a strong reader my son is as well, but it was not until we took the tv out of his room, that even he realizes it has made him a better writer. He is now forced to use his “imagination” more. His teachers loves his writing and he was won some very great awards as a result of that.
    As a parent, I think an imagination is the greatest gift we can give our children. The gift of books. The gift of God. The gift of knowing that God lives inside of you, and through the God in you, as Abraham/ Esther Hicks says in the book Ask and it is Given~ “you can do, be, have whatever you want.”

    There are times I question how I am doing as a parent, but then I read your eloquent words, and reminds me I am on the right course.

    Thank you

  15. Sandra Farrell Says:

    Hi, Vince!

    Interesting submission. I agree with you that the majority of the population is lazy and entitled. I will be 44 on Friday. As a result, my view of this is a little different. The Internet, cell phones, cable, faxes, voice messaging machines, ability of the middle class to own BMW’s, vacation in Europe and buy Jimmy Choo’s didn’t exist. I wanted a pair of Chic jeans when I was in high school and my dad told me to get a job when I asked him for the money. Which, by the way, I did and have been working ever since.

    My point is that the past 20 years, in technologhy and in the market, has created this generation of idiots. And I mean that sincerely. Due to my hard work and creativity, I have the car, the condo and the Vice Presidency to show it. It didn’t come from entitlement. This economy is going to flush out the weak and, hopefully, teach others.

    I know this sounds harsh. But it is how I see things.

    Sandra.

  16. So I literally JUST had this conversation with a friend of mine! I am so on this page right now. And you are right. It is a requirement that you set aside time to imagine the possibilities – it forces you to focus on the future, and the more you do it, the more clarity you will receive.

    You might check out a blog of another friend of mine – Danielle Ricks who did a piece on a 21 day big dream challenge. danielle-ricks.blogspot.com

    thanks for keeping our minds stimulated!
    V

  17. It has taken me a while to comment on this piece, not because it wasn’t a good piece but because it pushed my brain into creative OVERLOAD! I have always been an extremely hard worker. I learned the concept of imagination, in the regard that you speak of, at the tender age of 13. That is when I started my very first job, working in my grand-parents FAMILY OWNED grocery store located in a very urban area in Milwaukee, WI. My grand-father, the father figure in my life, was a ROCK! He taught me first-hand what imagination was all about, what the true meaning of community really was. When I first started he asked me how much money I thought I should be paid for working Friday evenings after school and 5 hours each Saturday and Sunday. *I am laughing at myself right now, thinking back to that conversation* I had the nerve to say, in the most confident and respectful way…$100/wk. I told you that I had an imagination! My grand-father smiled and explained to me that he knew that if I wanted to make $100/wk for two in a half days work, he more than anyone, knew I could do it.. He really pumped me up. He continued to explain that he knew I was a very smart young lady and he believed that I could do anything I set my mind to. He then challenged me to work towards my goal of $100/wk. He told me to seriously work towards that goal and map out how I would get there. He then politely informed me that he was only going to pay me $25/wk. My point in sharing this SHORT STORY is that we all have the potential to do whatever we set our minds to do! We are in control of our destiny, we shape our future, we have to be accountable for our actions and in today’s society we really need to quit making excuses and KEEP IN MOVING in the most positive way possible. The Key is…Be about it and quit all of that JAW JACKIN people! Additionally, my grandfather passed away two years ago and he is greatly missed. I think of him all of the time and about my goals in life some of which have been reached and others that I am still reaching for. Another very important lesson learned from him was the meaning of legacy. Everyday I say strive to make my legacy a reality.

    Thanks again Vince. You continue to constantly challenge me and everyone who reads your Blogs to think and make choices to be better people; better people for ourselves but also better people for our families and community overall. It starts with us. We have to be our own advocate for ourselves and our own life.

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