Do you remember those cheesy fiction young adult books that were required reading in high school? I was the kid that hated them. I never wanted to read Harry Potter (I know shame on me) or any other book fad that had to do with some made up world where anything was possible. I enjoyed reading biographies or history themed books – once again boring for a 16 year old I know. This trend of only reading books that were “real” or had any real world truth traveled with me all the way into early college and most of my first professional job. I spent countless hours reading “how-to” books and the top biographies found on the New York Times Best Seller lists. As a religion major I read biblical commentaries for fun. Throughout this entire process I thought that I was filling my brain with things that were useful – not wasting hours reading books that weren’t worth it and in the long run had no leverage on my life experience.
Until I realized that I no longer had an imagination.
I had lost all ability to dream or think of things outside of a “logical reality”. I became committed to sticking to the rules and didn’t leave room for the unknown and certainly not the uncomfortable.
It was then I started reading those fiction books I never thought I would. It may sound totally silly or non-sensical but it was a truth for me. When I started introducing myself to situations that weren’t “real” in this world it did 1 big thing for me – it engaged my thought process to consider things seemed impossible or illogical with in turn expanded my imagination to a point where anything was possible.
So how could imagination bring me back to reality? Well, it made me realize that life wasn’t always about the rules or the known. Imagination helped me embrace the uncertain and start taking more risks. Because what I thought previously was impossible, now didn’t seem so.
What are the things that bring you back to reality? Is there anything that takes the limits off of your situation and helps you think outside the box?
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