Imagination Isn’t Just for Kids

We tell our students, kids, nephews and nieces to use their imaginations to the max. If they get a little carried away we tell them that “it’s okay” that happens. As we get older we lose this connection because of social standards. There are exceptions like actors and other artists, but the rest of us are often locked down by our fear of being labeled “weird.” The weird guy in the office doesn’t get asked to join in on lunch.

Yep, that was me, but luckily I didn’t care and I won their hearts over. It was a boring lunch without me.

I’ve toned down my old ways and I’ve succumbed to social norms, but I’ve never given up my imagination. I refuse! Poetry, cartoons, and stories must come out or I become emotionally constipated. My wife has seen this happen to me and it ain’t pretty.

Conventional Vs Unconventional

I used to be the guy that danced on tables, asked the stranger at the bus stop what book they are currently reading and laughed during inappropriate moments. I wanted to be a poet, still am, but my passion has become more conventional – work happiness. I still do all those things, but only during appropriate moments.  Hey, dancing on a table can really get a party going.

My imagination has refused to wither away. You shouldn’t forget the strength you can garner from your imagination. When I see an old man that reminds me of a friend I used to work with, old stories flood my brain and new stories too. I might imagine the old man ripping off his suit to expose his white glittered outfit then dancing like he just won the lottery.

It’s fun to let my imagination get carried away when I know that dancing on tables just won’t be tolerated by my boss. We all need internal and external stress relief; we must take advantage of any way we can obtain this. Stress relief is just a byproduct of an active imagination.

The real reason I want you to use your imagination is for your career. Only the “core you” can truly know if you are happy with your current situation. Every job I’ve held in the past eventually bored me. It was my fault. I let myself become complacent. I was so comfortable that I stopped taking risks. I stopped indulging my fantasies.

Challenge Your Routines

Never stop indulging your imagination, otherwise you’ll end up like the people that are boring, predictable and tired.

The older I get the more I want routine, but the “core me” still wants excitement and challenge. It’s why I started this website to challenge my thoughts, writing and ability to attract people to the work happy cause.

What are you doing to challenge yourself to new levels?

You may have just read that sentence and don’t feel like answering it, but it’s one that you should ponder. It’s the simple ability of letting your thoughts wander around in new directions.

Don’t stop using your imagination because you feel comfortable. Do you always take the same route to work or eat at the same place? Then it’s time to take a baby step and switch it up. This is the spark that many of you might need to unleash those creative thoughts. Don’t be afraid. Next time someone suggests a change, don’t just look for the negatives, encourage their thinking by playing off their idea suggest something even crazier like buying a new client a beer on the company.

Just remember how you felt when you were a kid. The excitement of a new path that no one had yet discovered. Tap into these feelings and give your career that creative boost to take you to a new level. You may not want to get that stressful new position, but I sure hope you want to get better at your job because that’s what will bring the fun back into your routine.

What was your most creative job? Was it your favorite job? Let’s continue the conversation in the comment section.

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Image courtesy of Rickydavid

19 thoughts on “Imagination Isn’t Just for Kids”

  1. Thank you Karl, I needed to hear this. I’m not sure how I’ll use it yet, but I needed to hear it. And to start thinking if I am “really” using my imagination in my work.

    One of my most creative times at work was several years ago, when the company I worked for sent me to the HQ for about six weeks, along with a group of other newer employees from all over the country. It was creative because, I think, we were all new and really fired up to do our best. We were also with a group of people that we didn’t always work with, and this mixed things up – and ideas began to flow. This group of people also became my “family” for those six weeks – we got to know each other well. And because of all of this, the work we did was creative and energizing.

    Lance’s last blog post..Sunday Thought For The Day

  2. I just wrote something similar at

    It seems to me that as we become older and more “mature,” we lose the connection that we had with the world as children. We get so caught up in fitting in that we leave the fun and imaginative core of ourselves behind. I’m guessing this is why there are so many unhappy adults.

    Nathan’s last blog post..A Little Bit About Afghanistan

  3. Hey Lance, sometimes we forget the most important things to making our work life enjoyable. We just need to remind ourselves to keep our creative juices flowing. Teamwork is a big part when accomplishing creative endeavors. I know that I wouldn’t do this blog without my wife. She let’s me know when I’m way off track. I think it’s about finding people that keep us focused and happy.

  4. “Every job I’ve held in the past eventually bored me. It was my fault. I let myself become complacent. I was so comfortable that I stopped taking risks. I stopped indulging my fantasies.”

    This was such a great read, Karl. It is SO true that as we become older, we are expected to be “mature adults” and sometimes maturity causes many of us to suppress our creativity as well as desire to take risks. Only in the past year have I, personally, begun to take risks. I, too, was bored at my last job and took a huge risk by switching careers. The entire thought was terrifying, but I am much happier for it. Perhaps we need to explore why the idea of taking risks often has a negative connotation…

  5. I am a new visitor to your blog, and I want to applaud your theme. In one way, I profit because adults have forgotten how to use their imaginations for their own good (instead of to worry.) But like you, I would far rather inspire our world of adults to shake off the “maturity” and allow our minds to think new and with openness and gratitude.. with w.o.n.d.e.r.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    Harmony’s last blog post..THE TRIPLE WIN STRATEGY

  6. Hey Janelle, it’s hard taking that risky first step and making a change. It isn’t easy for people, but most people are happier after they just do it. I think that writing a post about why taking a risk has a negative connotation is a great idea.

  7. Using our imagination makes us feel alive. It injects joy into our lives. When we can learn to funnel creativity into what we are doing, it is possible to create wonders! Getting a career boost with using our creativity is definitely an excellent idea!

    Evelyn Lim’s last blog post..Mind Travel To Ancient Egypt

  8. Tom Volkar / Delightful Work

    My most imaginative work (I don’t use the term job) is a tie between my coaching business now and the entertainment company I founded in 1992. In both I have (had) the freedom to create what I want, when I wanted to and to see if the marketplace said yes. That’s nirvana to me.

    Regarding what you said about imagination. A few years ago I spoke to kids in schools. In fifth grade when I asked about their dreams about 85% would have dreams of being a sports star, entertainer or some other high profile celebrity. But at least they had dreams. Just five short years later when I spoke to ninth graders less than 10% of them had a big dream. I realize that some were reluctant to admit it at that age because of social pressures but the drop was startling. Our society’s affect on belief in self and imagination is not so hot.

    Tom Volkar / Delightful Work’s last blog post..Authentic Business Discovery

  9. Hi Karl,

    I think my most creative job is the one I have now. We’re self employed and I’m constantly thinking of ways to word ads, generate more business, save money, create forms on my computer to stay organized, and when I’m not doing that, I get to blog. How sweet is that?

    Barbara Swafford’s last blog post..NBOTW – Her Spirit Will Move You

  10. Hey Evelyn, an injection of joy… not the illigal stuff that wrecks lives, but the simple joy of letting our imaginations go wild is just good for the soul.

    Hey Tom, wow! It’s amazing how fast we succumb to social norms. I’ve been there and felt the pressure, but we need to fight this response. By letting our kids run with their imagination they will be happier and more prosperous.

    Hey Pollyanna, doctors say that the brain can’t distinguish between a dream (visualization) and a real event. I read that in a Dr. Amen book. Amen. (“Making a Good Brain Great” – Awesome author by the way) If we can use our imagination to create the life of our desires then you are right – the possibilities are endless. It’s just harnessing this ability that takes time, energy and persistence. We all have the ability, but we need to make the effort.

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