The First Step in Creating the Life You’ll Love
How many of you have ever heard of Walter Mitty? He was a fictional character of a short story called “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”, which came out in 1939 in he magazine the New Yorker. It’s also been made into a few movies over the years, most recently Ben Stiller who starred in a version last year.
Mitty is a meek, mild man with a vivid fantasy life: he imagines himself a firefighter, an battlefield doctor, an international spy. His wife would say “Walter, take out the trash!” And he would respond with a dreamy, “Yes, dear”, while deep in thought about saving the world. Unfortunately, Walter never prevailed in any of his daydreams. In fact, the term Walter Mitty has become synonymous with “an ordinary, often ineffectual person who indulges in fantastic daydreams of personal triumphs”, according to the American Heritage Dictionary. However, I want to change this view about Walter Mitty because I think many people have missed the point. Rather than focusing on his failure to achieve, we need to focus on his ability to imagine, and create.
When I was a little girl, just like all other little girls around the world, I wanted to be an archeologist / rock star / spy / supermodel. I imagined myself standing on top of a pyramid in a cute supermodel archeologist outfit, breaking into song at the discovery of a T-Rex fossil while simultaneously busting an international terrorist group! Whew! While at the time it seemed entirely plausible, I obviously hadn’t worked out all of the logistics. That’s all right, though. It didn’t work out anyway.
Or did it? I may not have turned into a supermodel, or a spy, archeologist or even a rock star (sniff!) but being my own version of Walter Mitty kept my imagination working. Why is this important? This is a crucial step in creating what you want in life. You must be able to visualize yourself in circumstances that are not currently your own.
In another creative childhood moment from the 70’s (for those of you in my…ahem…demographic), one September I wanted to go back to school dressed as the ‘cool” Olivia Newton-John, in “Grease”. Remember the spandex strutting, cigarette smoking, cool Sandra Dee when she got totally hot at the end of the movie? Well, the obvious flaw in my master plan was that, even in third grade my stomach was NOT flat enough for spandex, and the school faculty wouldn’t have had a sense of humor had I brought cigarettes to school. Also, I was not cool. And most importantly, I do not look like Olivia Newton John. But – who thinks of these things at 7 years old? I thought I just might be able to pull it off!
The point is, my imagination was free – I could imagine things without boundaries. This is true of most children, before we become adults and start censoring ideas we think are crazy, or a waste of time. But they are not a waste of time – fantasies are the basis of our future. Many things you see and touch in this world started as someone’s crazy, far out idea.
Now, these fun little stories don’t end with my childhood. As an adult, my aunt Pam, who, while watching me turn the introduction of new fish into an aquarium into an underwater “West Side Story Saga (complete with fish choreography, I might add), told me I had waaaay too much imagination. Yes! It was the best, not intended as a compliment, compliment, ever! The key: keep up this creativity throughout your life. When you stop thinking and imagining, you become “stuck”. Clogged. Dried Out. Dreaming is the basis for creating and manifesting your reality.
And I am not the only one who thinks so: Albert Einstein, one of the most important theoretical physicists of all time said: “I believe in intuition and inspiration. Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination encircles the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution”.
Everything begins with an idea, a fantasy. Nothing exists in this world without having been ‘thought of’ first. What are you thinking of today? If there were no limitations – what could you create?