Imagination is how our brains create a path from where we are to where we want to go. This requires a lot of focus.
Ten years ago, I started to work on the Glyphs of the Imagination Age as a framework to help me develop my own ideas, and those of my clients, taking them from our minds into reality. Each Glyph is really a focus area.
Focus is one of the Glyphs of the Imagination Age (for The Principles of Applied Imagination, click here). Our mantra at Science House for 2017 is "focus is worth fighting for," and it has really changed how we approach our work, time and energy. We greatly prefer business to busyness. If you're too busy to think, you're going to make mediocre or bad decisions. We started blocking out time to think, and urging our clients to do the same.
It often feels as if we don't have much control over what's happening around us, but we can do more to fix that.
- Don't be afraid to say no when something or someone attempts to distract you.
- Don't check your phone or apps while you're focused on something else.
- Don't feel pressured to instantly respond to anything that isn't a crisis when you're absorbed by a consuming task. And it's hard these days not to feel like everything is a crisis. But you still have a unique contribution to make, so make it.
- Be realistic about setting up focused blocks of time, and try to complete major tasks that require energy and thought in a sitting, or at least try to outline what else needs to get done so you can pick up where you left off. Leave yourself a trail.
- Perfection is a myth. There's high quality, and I'm a big believer that putting in the time delivers it, but you have to know when to say when.
- Set up your meetings, appointments, conversations and interactions in a way that serves your larger goals, not the other way around.
When you are doing something, whether it's playing a game with a child, presenting to the leadership team of your company or walking around the block, do it with your full attention. Imagination requires presence, or the nebulous aspects of the path between where you are and where you want to go will never come into sharper focus.