Last Updated on 11 August 2019

Einstein once said, “imagination is better than knowledge.” It is more important to see possibilities than to know the facts.

Dan Roam, in his book Unfolding the Napkin, wrote:

“Problems don’t get solved by the smartest or the fastest or the strongest; they get solved by the one who sees the possibilities.”

Dan also added…

“Yes, we need to have the intelligence to pick the best option; yes, we need the speed to get it done on time; yes, we need the strength to make it happen and stay on course. But the hardest part of all – finding the solution – depends only on our ability to see what’s in front of us and imagine as many ways as we can to deal with it.”

The above images, from Dan’s book, inspired this post.

The skinny, smart kid used to get sand kicked in his face by the big, strong hunk. But, the smart kid has the ability to imagine what the lunk-head can’t. As you can see – creative-pants found away around the wall instead of trying to crash it down.

Here are some ways you can be more of a creative pants…

9 Tips To Improve Your Imagination

  1. Believe it can be done. – Allow the impossible to be possible – just for a few minutes.
  2. Get in the habit of thinking-up ideas. – As with nearly everything in life, you get better at it with practice. We give up too soon sometimes hoping for an instant solution. Rarely do great things come instantly.
  3. Keep an idea journal. – Don’t lose your ideas, write ’em down. Then, later on, review these ideas. Don’t just write them down – make a habit of returning to them and reviewing them.
  4. Look for better ways to do things. – Make a habit of thinking-up ways to “plus” things, ideas, products, systems… From the belt system at the grocery store to raking leaves… Keep your wheels turning. Is there a way to add-value in the projects you work on. How they depart your desk in a better when then they arrived?
  5. See problems as opportunity. – We can get hung-up on the word ‘problem.’ Problems are perceived as impenetrable walls – something that gets you stuck. (Like the stick figure above). Assume a problem is a positive challenge that, with enough poking around, has a solution.
  6. Relax – Allow yourself to daydream. To think up goofy ideas. Lighten up. The more you relax, the more access you get to your subconscious.
  7. Think Young – Be playful. Be a kid again. Don’t do this all day of every day, but at least once day.
  8. Be Curious – Think in the world of possible. Start sentences with: “Could this…” and “What if…” and “Let’s try…”
  9. Inspire You – Move. Go somewhere else. Do something physical. Listen to music.
Illustrations by Dan Roam, found in his book “Unfolding the Napkin: The Hands-On Method for Solving Complex Problems with Simple Pictures.” (The sand-kicking cartoon is from a Charles Atlas ad.)