The Power of our Creative Imagination

The Power of our Creative Imagination

Connecting the dots to creativity 

SJ White

Stupid is as stupid does:

Quite a few years ago I did one of the dumbest things any one-man could do. Battling a large malignant tumor in my throat I decide to avoid medical treatment and become a bank robber. Having lost people to cancer as well as my business, I want to leave my family financially secure should it take my life. I know, stupid is as stupid does, and that-was-stupid. If we could only have second thoughts first. An undo button that wipes out today’s mistakes first thing in the morning. Shortly after my arrest, the money disappears, and so does the now ex-wife. So much for better for worse till death do us part? I survive cancer while serving eight years in federal prison. The experience is not one I recommend, although interacting with people from all over the world: China, Brazil, Africa, Cuba, Mexico, England, you name it, as well as all over the United States, does have its benefits. You learn what makes people tick, and what makes them tock. You also meet people who’ve mastered the power of their creative imagination. That power is so interesting I can’t say enough good things about it, but I’m sure going to try. 

A bitter taste of honey:

We get a taste of the imagination section of our creative imagination when we recall a memory from our past. A scene from our 5th-grade class, a birthday party, the birth of a child, our first love, a wedding, a funeral. If it’s someone who has passed away, we can capture an image of that person so real it can make us laugh or cry. Sometimes both. A bitter taste of honey. When you add creative thoughts to the imagination section of the mind the two working together produce amazing outcomes as you shall witness as you continue to read.

The Power:

The Power of our Creative Imagination has put planes in the air, ships at sea, automobiles on the road, computers at our fingertips, and a man on the moon. All creativity springs forth from this mysterious power many are unaware they have. Please allow me to introduce you to the power of your Creative Imagination. Go into a room where there is complete silence and imagine you are listening to your favorite song. Notice how clear the sound, yet nothing is playing on any machine in the room. That is you, using your creative imagination to make it happen.

Making good of a bad situation:

Over the years, everyone I spoke with who was doing well behind bars told me the same thing. When they focused on the things they were missing at home, they were miserable, twenty-four seven. Their health suffered their time hard. When they focused on what good they could make out of the mess they were in, everything changed for the better. Their positive attitude towards their situation had them spending their time preparing for life after incarceration instead of wallowing in misery. Role models. Whether these guys were using their creative imaginations intentionally or unintentionally doesn’t matter. They believed life was better and for them it was. It works! Once I learn how to control my creative imagination the chains of depression that held my emotions intact since first discovering I had cancer, begin to break apart, and eventually disappear altogether. From that time on I’ve been an advocate for promoting the use of our creative imagination. The hard part is getting people to recognize they have this power, and that they’ve most likely been using it all along without realizing it. As we shall see, that can be dangerous.

Two sides to the story:

Like most things in life, there are two sides to the creative imagination story. Both very powerful. The idea is to always be aware of which side you’re on. The following little story demonstrates what can happen when you don’t. A perfect example of why we need to recognize we have this power and take control of it so it can benefit us instead of hurting us.

Family Affair:

There used to be a show on television called “Family Affair” and one of the stars, Sebastian Cabot, played the butler, Mr. French; a large potbelly man, late forties early fifties, with a full face beard. (Keep an eye on Sebastian Cabot.) One evening while a music awards show played on the TV in the prison rec room, an inmate brought up the subject of playing musical instruments professionally. After bragging on Clarence Clemons who played the saxophone in Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, the inmate turns to Swampy, an inmate with a highly questionable history when it comes to telling the truth, with a question. “Swampy,” he said, “I heard you play a mean sax.” Knowing Swampy is a believer in everything Swampy says, all heads turn his way in anticipation of what they’re pretty sure they’re about to hear. Swampy doesn’t disappoint.  

How not to blow your own horn:

“You better know it,” blurts out the Swamp-stir, tilted chin vibrating up and down, eyes half-closed. As sure of one’s self as one can be. “I can play any instrument it takes air to blow,” he says. “You mean you can blow the Trumpet, Trombone, Tuba, Sebastian Cabot, and the Sax?” “Yep, snaps the confident Swampy. “Wow,” everybody in the rec room plays along by taking a deep breath. “that’s impressive Swampy, not many people can blow a Sebastian Cabot. That’s one of the hardest instruments to blow. Must have taken you forever to get that one down.” “It did, I had to blow that Sebastian Cabot three or four times a day for about three months before I got it down. After that, it wasn’t hard at all.” “Didn’t your jaws hurt and your lips go dry blowing like that?” “Na, I lube up.” No one ever told Swampy what a Sebastian Cabot was, no one had the heart. He must never have watched “Family Affair.”

Less than a week later, after hearing Swampy tell other inmates how his years of karate training had made his body a deadly weapon, an inmate on the compound wants him to prove it. By this time the cat was out of the bag running around the prison compound. Swampy’s reply? There wasn’t an inmate behind those walls who stood a chance in a physical confrontation with him. That’s the short version. The actual speech was twice the size of the Gettysburg Address, plus. The fight takes place at the far end of the recreation yard right after dinner. The crowd that shows up to watch is enormous. The talk had come to an end. It was, put up or shut up. No time for prison staff to find out what was about to take place and intervene, thirty seconds into the fight, it was over. When Swampy got out of the prison hospital, he went straight to protective custody. Lockdown. The hole. A few months later, they transfer him to another institution, far, far away, (the feds have the power to do that) a place where he could live his make-believe life all over.

The Creative Imagination Master:    

Swampy’s a perfect example of not only how powerful our creative imagination can be but also why we need to be careful when it comes to how we use it. What we say and how often we say it to ourselves matters. Our emotions don’t know the difference between truth and fiction. If we tell ourselves we can’t do anything long enough, we won’t. If we tell ourselves to think positive long enough, we will. Our emotions respond according to our mindset. Despite his setbacks and his bumps and bruises, Swampy was the most positive guy I ever met. A creative imagination master. That man could make himself believe anything he told himself. He just needed to be more careful about what it was he told himself.

The list:

Pick someone you know has a negative attitude, a family member a colleague at work, a friend, a neighbor. Preferably, a real radical  sun-of-a-? We all have, or have had, at least one of those in our life. Write down what you think they need to do to move up to your standards of behavior. You won’t have to think long. We don’t have any problem when it comes to making up a list of somebody else’s faults. Keep the list to yourself. We’re not trying to hurt anyone. Where do you think they could use some improvement? Do they have listening skills, do they need an attitude check-up, how is their self-image, self-discipline? Now, let’s make up your list. When you’re done, compare your list to the other person’s list. Is there anything on their list that should be on your list? If not, you need to make up another list. Once you decide to admit there may be some faults on the other person’s list that mirror your list, pick the one fault that stands out. Now, use your creative imagination to imagine you don’t have that fault anymore and keep imagining it, day in day out, with feeling. Remembering, you disliked this fault so much you failed to write it down the first time. Think positive.
No other thought pattern will do. After a while you’ll start acting like you don’t have that fault and eventually, with time, you won’t. If any trace of it does remain, it will be mighty small and inconsistent. Your conscience won’t have it any other way. 


Telling someone how they can use their creative imagination to improve their life won’t do them any good if they don’t have the determination to put the information to good use. It’s so easy to throw in the towel when our efforts don’t produce the results we want at the push of a button. Let’s keep it real, if it was that easy we would all be Kings and Queens. Studying leadership in the prison library I familiarized myself with the power of the creative imagination. Every great person’s life I studied, inventor and otherwise, had visualized in their mind first, what they later accomplished in life. Our creative imagination can take us anywhere we want to go, mentally first, physically second, as long as we hold tight to a reasonable vision of our abilities and act on the hunches that float into our minds unexpectedly. Sometimes those hunches tell us we need to increase our abilities. If so, follow those instructions to the tee. Somebody’s talking to you. Emotional belief, consistently applied, is the key. Think positively about what you want to accomplish, place a picture of it in your mind, and hold onto it. Your creative imagination will help you make it happen. Patience? It took nine months to make the miracle that is you. Give or take a night of passion. Be patient, nothing worthwhile comes easy. Persistence? You bet! How long it will take to fulfill your vision depends on the size of the vision, and how strong you believe in it. I became a believer the day the clouds of depression broke loose and the sun came shining through on my life. Today, whenever there is a storm brewing on the home front, and we all have one of those from time to time, I look for the blue sky and sunshine that lie in wait in my creative imagination. There is a light in yours as well, waiting for you to flip the switch. Now that you know how, flip it whenever you feel the need. It will come on.

Bring a chair:

One summer night the only church in a little small town burns to the ground. Two days later the Pastor post signs along the road that passes by the church. “Church Sunday,” the signs say, “services to be held on the front lawn, bring a chair, hope to see you there.” Come Sunday morning he stood at the pulpit in front of chairs full of people for as far as he could see. Behind him, the burned-out rubble of the former structure. With the bright sun at his back and eyes watering from the turnout, he adjusts his collar and reaches inside the pulpit to pull out a beautiful specimen of pottery. With outstretched arms, he raises the glimmering spectacle high overhead. “This beautiful flower-covered pottery” he shouts out to the masses in a voice that echoes across the lawn, “survived the fire, it’s the only thing that did, not a scratch on it,” and then he stood silent, waiting for the congregation to quiet down, “you know why it survived? I’ll tell you why, because it’s been through the fire before. We are going through a different kind of fire today, and we are going to come out the other end just as beautiful as this piece of pottery, as long as we believe.” Our creative imagination can help us create the belief we need to get through challenging times, and each time it does we get that much stronger and that much better at using it. After a while, nothing can take hold of us because we’ve been through the fire, and we know the way out.

Keeping the damage down to a minimum: 

We are all going to go through fires in life our COVID-19’s so to speak. If we use our creative imagination to keep our mind positive and focus on the outcome we wish to achieve, when the smoke clears we’ll not only have kept the damage down to a minimum psychologically, we’ll have what’s most important, the confidence to handle whatever fires life throws our way.

Power up:

Use the power of your creative imagination to your advantage. Remembering, always, that whatever you can imagine in your mind, you can bring to life. I didn’t say you will bring to life I said you can. Whether or not you will is entirely up to you. It all depends on your determination, persistence, and willingness to equip yourself for the task at hand.

The Swampy trap:

Be careful not to fall into the Swampy trap, he failed to equip himself for the task at hand, his vision of himself. Refrain from that type of behavior, and you won’t be disappointed, and neither will anybody else who knows you, Role Model.

      SJ White

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