Exploring the connection between imagination and unicorns
Rosilee Trotta, LCSW
Urban Youth and Family Specialist
My daughter Kelli and I believe in unicorns. We have ever since she was a small child. Her 4th grade painting of the majestic creature still hangs on an
upstairs wall and serves as a tribute to this belief.
Unicorns are magical, of course. They’ve been around for thousands of years. They represent strength, grace, finesse and mystery. They symbolize the power of imagination.
Imagination is the ability to form a mental image of something that cannot be perceived through the senses. We can’t physically touch it, feel it or taste it. But that doesn’t mean it’s not real.
The power of imagination is the ultimate creative power. Without it, our world would always stay the same. New products would stay uninvented, new thoughts would remain buried in the recesses of brains, and the same old problems would be solved in the same old ways ending in the same old results.
Albert Einstein was perhaps the greatest proponent of creative imagination. He said that “imagination is even more important than knowledge,” and he focused daily on improving his own imaginative strategy. You’ve got to admit that he did a fairly decent job of solving some complex problems and developing a few worthwhile theories.
We use our imaginations when we plan parties, meetings or dinner. We use it when we dress ourselves (some more imaginative than others!), discuss new ideas, or visualize events yet to come. Strong imagination is a key ingredient to success in life.
If we can visualize or imagine scoring a goal on the soccer field, hitting a high note in choir, or baking the perfect German chocolate cake, we have a much better chance of accomplishing what we set out to do.
Positive imagination is critically related to both accomplishment and happiness in life. As with most worthwhile endeavors, we have to muscle up and do a bit of work to maximize potential.
Here are a few exercises that might help:
- Be curious about everything. The world is an amazing place. Learn about those things that interest you, but you’ve never taken the time to explore.
- Imagine yourself in a forest. What’s behind that tree? Is the rock moving? What did that gnome say?
- Hang around with creative people. I’m not sure about osmosis, but I think creativity sometimes rubs off. At least, you’ll have your thinking stretched.
- Give yourself permission to daydream. Take time from the “busyness” to sit back and imagine what might be.
- Ask different questions. George Bernard Shaw said: “You see things and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were and I say, ‘Why not?’”
- Read a few books that expand the imaginative process. Like Harry Potter, Wicked, Where the Wild Things Are, or Fahrenheit 451.
Increasing imaginative skills is more serious than providing amusement for yourself and others. It can actually improve the quality of your life. The process
is much easier if you believe in unicorns.