Last year I received a gift. It was this great little book and let’s just say that I love books am an avid reader. Compact sized, easily held in one hand and a deliciously quick read entitled Very Good Lives by J.K. Rowling. Although I have not read the wildly famous Harry Potter books, I have watched and enjoyed every movie ever made in that series (many of them a few times over). Talk about having imagination!

Ms. Rowling’s theme for this book is centered on her commencement address to the 2008 graduates of Harvard University. In contemplating words of wisdom she wished to impress upon these young and ambitious students of life, in this enlightening account she shares beliefs regarding the benefits of failure and the importance of imagination.

Regarding her belief in the benefits of failure, she describes her own life’s experiences having failed miserably roughly 7 years upon graduating from her own University. She recounts how her marriage came to end; she was jobless and a single parent living very poorly. Her parents’ worst nightmare had come to pass. That ‘failure’ she believes, in essence was the catalyst that allowed her to focus on what she intuitively knew was her calling, and to direct her energy into doing the work she was passionate about (not what others or her parents expected or wanted for her), no—what she wanted for herself.  Claiming that had she actually succeeded at anything else, she may not have found the determination needed to pursue her dream and ‘big idea’ which ultimately brought her international acclaim and fame.  So although in her opinion this was a failure, it could be viewed another way.  Of course her purpose of sharing with these new graduates, her view of failure was that it was a blessing really, and so too she predicted, would their imminent failures be for them in their own lives.  I would have to agree.

During my master level training in Hypnotherapy and Neuro-Linguistic Programming, I learned that one of the presuppositions of NLP is ‘there is no failure, only feedback.’ Put another way ‘there is no winning or losing, there is only winning and learning.’

About imagination, Pablo Picasso said: “Everything you can imagine is real.”  I learned why imagination is vital to one’s successful transformation.   Through the work of Stephen Wolinsky PhD, it is estimated that we are actually in a light trance at least 85% each day. This light trance state occurs when our conscious mind relaxes and goes into energy storage mode, kind of like the screen protector that pops up on the laptop for the purpose of power saving. The trance we are in is based largely on our internal state and our thoughts at any given moment. Ever day dream much?  The trance we are in is based on the thoughts we choose to focus on.  Our reality then (ultimately what we perceive), is based upon what we are focusing on; the visualization of pictures in our minds, sounds we hear inside our heads, the feelings inside our bodies and even the smells and tastes that may contribute to the entire experience of what we are imagining.  Milton Erickson, famous psychiatrist and psychologist specializing in medical hypnosis and family therapy said “Most people walk around in a trance of disempowerment. Our work is to transform that into a trance of empowerment.”

Albert Einstein was quoted as saying “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination embraces the entire world.” Which world was Einstein talking about? I wonder…If only I could read his mind. My guess is that he referred to both the external and internal ‘world’ we have—the world we live in that is beyond our control, and the world we create internally for ourselves based on our thoughts, beliefs and decisions, experiences, influences, and so on.

The point here being that imagination is a powerful key component to creating what we want for ourselves. In Proverbs 23:7 “As a man thinketh in his heart, so he is…” allows us to ponder on the subject of our thoughts. Actually, more so the content of our thoughts along with how our thoughts give meaning to our lives, at any given moment really. Once we become aware of our thoughts, we can choose them carefully, choose to change those that are negative, and ‘not working for us’ and ‘be’ and become what we are thinking.  To expand upon the part about ‘thinketh in the heart’, research by Dr. Rollin McCraty concluded that the heart is the first brain and the largest ‘brain’ of the body. In addition, Dr. John Andrew Amour discovered neurotransmitters in the heart that signal and influence aspects of higher thought in the brain.

And while we’re at it, since we’re in a trance most of the day anyway—why not imagine it to be a good one?! To sum it up, Henry Ford famously framed it well with his quote, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.”  YOUR CHOICE.