5 Options for How to Use Your Imagination

Children, in certain ways, are much wiser than adults. Children understand the importance of playing and having fun. They are more accepting of themselves and others. And they know how powerful the imagination is.

Somehow, somewhere, those wise practices and attitudes typically get lost during the transition from childhood to adulthood. What if you could reclaim them?

This post is about exactly that. You can enjoy your life. You can reconnect with your inner child and lead from your heart.

The following 5 options for how to use your imagination come from Mike Dooley’s exercise called “Powering Up Your Imagination.” Think of your imagination as a muscle. With these options, you can strengthen your imagination.

“Do something out of the ordinary to make you change how you think.” – Mike Dooley

Option #1: Play

Thirty minutes is the recommended amount of time for this option. Here, you can do whatever comes to mind.

Worry is imagining something going wrong.

With the option to Play, imagine that something goes right instead. Turn your worries upside down, inside out, and backward.

Instead of worrying about something, think of how the best possible scenario could play out. Pretend the universe and everything within it is cheering you on and working in your favor. You might even discover that your pretending ends up being proven true. Stranger things have happened…

Also, when you play, you activate the part of you that believes your dreams can be made real, no matter how impossible they seem. And you remember what it’s like to have something to look forward to. Better than that, you get to be grateful in each moment, which is part of the fun of play. You remember what it’s like to enjoy being alive.

Play with the idea that something wonderful has happened for you. What is that wonderful something? Who would you celebrate it with? How will you celebrate it?

And also imagine that something wonderful has happened for someone you care about. What is that wonderful something for them? How will you celebrate it with them?

Spend thirty minutes playing with the best and the brightest that life has to offer you. The excitement could be enough to help bring what you’re pretending into reality.

For now, let play be its own reward.

Option #2: Let Your Mind Wonder

Maybe as a child, you were told that you have an overactive imagination or overthink things.

With this option, you embrace the wonderment of where your mind can go. Let your mind wonder about any subjects you’re curious about.

Remember all those silly questions that children come up with?

Well, that can be you as you explore the paths and corridors that open when you give yourself the freedom to explore the answers to many questions you’ve stored up throughout your life.

Experiment. Research. Expand your mind as you look for whatever answers you can find to your seemingly silly questions and your not-so-silly questions, too.

Who knows where your thoughts will take you?

“By allowing your mind to freely wonder, you allow it to become more adventurous, … limitless, and … creative. You permit yourself to think in a brand new way.” – Mike Dooley

These options for using your imagination are both fun and practical.

Now for an option where you enjoy someone else’s use of their imagination…

Option #3: Watch a Fantasy Movie or Read a Fantasy Book

This option is especially recommended if you don’t regularly watch movies or read books in the fantasy genre.

Besides movies and books, this option can include comic books, graphic novels, video games, tabletop games, and other means of fantasy storytelling. If it’s part of the fantasy genre, then it counts for this option.

What happens when you watch or read a fantasy story? Are you caught up in the worlds writers and other creative artists have created? Does your imagination get considering the possibilities life itself has to offer?

Fantasy can get you thinking along the lines of considering much more to be possible than you would otherwise. Much more than the everyday, same old routine.

With fantasy, you can see that magic can transform yourself and your life. When I refer to magic, I’m referring to the natural, healthy, positive ability you always have within you to create a better world. This world. To create a better life. This life.

Fantasy can guide you as you consider the possibilities for your life. There are certain messages to apply from these stories. You are resilient. You keep bouncing back from hardships. You are greater than you think, stronger than you know, and more powerful than you realize.

Is fantasy escapism? No, it is directly relevant to your daily life and perhaps even necessary for your well-being.

“People are inclined to write off fantasy as escapism, but … it’s a roundabout way of engaging with genuine problems.” – Beth Webb

In the following option, you make up some stories yourself.

Option #4: Make Up Life Stories

What are other people’s lives like, especially those you’ll never get to know?

As you go about your day, it isn’t possible to discover what everyone’s lives are like, so you can use your imagination and make up your own stories for their lives.

What about this person or that person? Are they having a good day or a bad day? What has caused them to be in whatever positive or negative mood they’re in?

You can go people-watching for this option. You can include a friend and do this option together.

Maybe someone is going through a nasty breakup, and that’s why they’re angry. Maybe someone just got a promotion at work, and that’s why they’re happy.

You can come up with various stories to explain to yourself or a friend why people behave the way they do. It’s a bonding activity, another way to exercise your imagination to strengthen it.

“Do some people watching, and as you’re watching them, make up some stories. … It doesn’t matter what you come up with, but write their story or narrate it with a friend.” – Mike Dooley

There was a similar exercise in two weekend workshops for acting that I attended many years ago. One person had their turn at the front of the room, and everyone else looked at them and came up with details about their personality and what had happened in their lives.

At each workshop, the accuracy level was high, not only when it was my turn to be at the front of the room. I was the only one at both workshops, and the other participants were quite accurate, often completely accurate. They got details of my personality and my life correct, simply by looking at me.

I had not told the other participants those details. They guessed those details on their own.

When you make up life stories of other people you see, you might be accurate in what you come up with. You are a gifted storyteller, and you have the chance here to flex your muscles as you develop your gift.

And now for the final option in powering up your imagination…

Option #5: Do It Yourself (DIY) Imagination

This option requires you to create your own imagination exercise. It could be something similar to any of the previous options or something entirely different. The only limit here is your imagination.

“Whatever exercise you make up, (ensure) it pushes you outside of your regular thinking limits.” – Mike Dooley

When you use your imagination for positive purposes, you go beyond the previous limits that you’ve set for yourself. You allow yourself to be surprised at how far you can go.


With those 5 options for how to use your imagination, you can experience what it’s like to be a child again. Reclaim what might have been lost as you transitioned from childhood to adulthood. You play and have fun. You are more accepting of yourself and others. And you acknowledge how powerful your imagination is.

You can enjoy your life and be like a child again sometimes. You can reconnect with your inner child and lead from your heart.

Think of your imagination as a muscle. Strengthen your imagination and discover what wonders you can accomplish as you embrace the giant and genius you already are.

If you can change your thinking, you can change your life. And oh, how exciting that can be.

Share with me in the comments section below your imagination exploration journey. I’d like to hear from you about what you’ve experienced in strengthening your imagination.

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Until next time,

James Barnett

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