Quotations for Motivation #17 --- Imagination
Quotations on Imagination
Imagination is the artist of thought.
---Elijah Powell Brown, Juniata Sentinel and Republican, Mifflintown, Pa., March 2, 1898.
Work without imagination is drudgery.
---Edmund J. Kiefer, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., Sept. 29, 1957.
Imagination is the first step toward creation and the stuff that dreams are made of.
---Roland Cotton, Washington Herald, Washington, D.C., June 6, 1910.
Imagination is faith’s unfailing ally. Imagination is the lamp aflame within the soul’s sanctuary. Its contrasted uses are an amazing record of radiance and darkness. When it conceives life worthwhile, noble and exhaustless, it insures action in accordance with that conception. When it conceives life either as a trivial farce or an appalling tragedy, degeneracy follows, and the soul’s growth is paralyzed.
---S. Parkes Cadman, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, N.Y., Jan. 6, 1930.
No one can amount to much without a good imagination. The successful man pictures his dreams far ahead. Nothing great was ever achieved without imagination. But, valuable as imagination is, it takes initiative to make it bloom! The day dreamer and the day doer are two vastly different species of folk. There is one thing true about that imagination of yours—the more you work it, the bigger it grows. So give it all the encouragement that you can. Feed it well!
---George Matthew Adams, Waycross Journal-Herald, Waycross, Ga., June 14, 1937.
Imagination is Hope’s right hand.
---Lucius W. Nieman, Milwaukee Journal, Milwaukee, Wis., Jan. 23, 1912.
Things that count most in progress are attitudes of mind—imagination, determination, fearlessness.
---Roy L. Smith, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., Feb. 15, 1928.
Most of our catastrophes come from the failure of imagination. The way we handle any situation depends largely on the imagination.
---Harry Emerson Fosdick, The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, N.Y., July 9, 1934.
The soul shows itself best in works of pure imagination, because it works there unimpeded by the limitations of fact.
---Frank Crane, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, N.Y., Jan. 23, 1905.
Your imagination has much to do with your life. It pictures beauty, success, and desired results. On the other hand, it brings into focus ugliness, distress, and failure. It is for you to decide how you want your imagination to serve you.
---Philip Mallory Conley, Nunda News, Nunda, N.Y., Feb. 4, 1954.
Imagination is the architect of the mind—the real builder, the builders of ideas, and ideas rule the world. Knowledge is not knowledge until it is applied. A human dictionary has a hard time making a living. Bad habits cannot be hidden any more than good habits. Habits are written in our faces, in our bodies, in our work. Good habits win.
---Joseph H. Appel, Milwaukee Journal, Milwaukee, Wis., Nov. 30, 1918.
Mistakes, failure, yielding to temptation is pretty largely a matter of not having the right sort of imagination or enough of it. If our imagination was right we should be able to make the long look ahead, to weigh future good and future happiness against the satisfactions of the moment. It is said man cannot see around a corner. This is not true. Man CAN see around most of life’s corners if his imagination is active and powerful. He can see that while he yields to today’s impulse, to bring him pleasure, he may put in danger or make impossible a whole future of serenity, of peace of mind, and of happy living.
---Grove H. Patterson, Painesville Telegraph, Painesville, Ohio, July 29, 1929.
All of us, in our businesses, big or little, look upon dull times with fear rather than with imagination and aspiration. Success is pretty much the product of what you do in spare time, when you are not too busy with a routine job.
---Grove H. Patterson, Painesville Telegraph, Painesville, Oct. 11, 1929.
The most soul-satisfying, heart-stirring experiences of man are not in the things seen so much as in the emotional play of the imagination. To imagine, and to hope and to dream, is to have a vision.
—Frank Francis, Ogden Standard-Examine, Ogden, Utah, June 5, 1924.
Every active mind must feed on hope and build on experience. To do otherwise is to cease to have the joy of imagination.
—Frank Francis, Ogden Standard-Examine, Ogden, Utah, March 12, 1925.
Imagination lights the stars in the heavens of tomorrow's progress.
‑‑‑W.A. MacKenzie, Florida Times‑Union, Jacksonville, Fla., Dec. 13, 1924.
Imagination is one of the principal differences between human beings and the lover animals. Imagination is one of the outstanding qualities of the human being. It is a gift and should be educated and managed like any other gift. Without imagination we should have no inventors, no authors, no poets, no artists, no composers. What would a chemist of a designer be without imagination? I once heard a man denounce a tailor; he said the tailor had no imagination—that the clothes he made had no style, no snap, no individuality. Take imagination away from human beings and they would not be much. It takes imagination to anticipate anything. Every enterprise, however great or small, must exist in the imagination before it can become a reality.
---Wickes Wamboldt, Waycross Journal-Herald, Waycross, Ga., Dec. 29, 1944.
One of the most overworked words in the English language is the word "impossible." It really is a word that should seldom be used. One might plausibly argue for its total elimination. Continually things once deemed impossible are shifted into the realm not merely of the possible but of the actual. It was Edison who once said, "Nothing that man can really imagine is impossible." The achievements of science are all the while giving added force to this remark. So, too, as regards each individual human being's capacity for accomplishment. The word "impossible" with reference to ourselves is a word that all of us ought to consign to the junk heap of forgetfulness. It is a narcotizing, deadening word. It kills ambition. It throttles hope. It is a breeder of mediocrity, of poverty, of misery. Here is a young man starting in business life. He has obtained a position in a big wholesale establishment. Not very much of a position, but at least one that can serve as a stepping stone to something better. It brings him into contact with men who have already advanced far along the highway of success. It gives him an opportunity to study the methods by which they have succeeded, and to profit from the study. In an unlucky moment he begins to whisper to himself: "It is impossible for me to rise as these others have risen. They must be men of talents superior to mine. There is no use in my hoping to do what they have done." Once the foolish notion of impossibility grips the beginner in business he is indeed hopelessly handicapped. He may not grow careless in his work, though many young men do grow careless when hypnotized by the dire word "impossible." But he certainly will not make any real effort at progress. Under these conditions he will make no headway. He will forever be held back by his stupid obsession of the impossibility of forging onward and upward. For the practical purposes of life, therefore, I would say to every young man: Drop the word "impossible" out of your vocabulary. Forget it speedily and completely. Take for granted the truth of what Edison said, and systematically act to work to realize your dreams and your aspirations.
-‑‑H. Addington Bruce, The Chicago Daily News, Chicago, Ill., March 31, 1919.
What do we really mean by looking forward? Backward, of course, is an act of the memory, recalling scenes and incidents of the past days. Looking forward is an act of the imagination. You are making mental pictures of what you think will be your experiences in the days to come, or what you hope those experiences will be. There is the feeling that you are turning from the old to the new‑‑from the real to the ideal. But let us beware of fooling ourselves by thinking we are separating ourselves completely from the past, and are leaving an old world to enter a new one. This new world of a new year which you are picturing to yourself is made up entirely of the stuff of the experience of the past years. The imagination can use new ensembles‑‑that is, new combinations‑‑to make a new picture, but there is no part of this mental picture which was not, in some form, a part of your past experience. Of course, we are using the word "experience" in its broadest sense‑‑whatever has come into your conscious life, materially or spiritually. So once again let us face the truth, that instead of the "past" being something which is gone out of our lives, it is here to furnish us the stuff out of which we must forge and fashion life for the future. And here is a good place to emphasize the important truth we can in a very real sense fashion that life which is to be, or become merely the victim of those outside experiences which may come to us‑‑"waiting for something to turn up." "Looking forward" may mean making a mental picture of life as you want it to be, and then seeking to make the picture a reality. All that has every been intentionally accomplished in the so‑called world of reality was born in the spiritual world of the imagination. The architect first worships before the altar of his temple within his own spirit before he draws the first line of his plans and specifications. The great composer thrills with the beauty of his symphony within his own soul ere his fingers touch an instrument or his pencil a score. The inventor watches with wonder and delight the intelligent movements of the bands and wheels of his new machine, before ever a line of his blueprint is made.
‑‑‑M. Ashby Jones, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., Jan. 7, 1940.
Imagination is that mental faculty with which we see the image of the future, of things yet to come. Imagination shows us what can and should be done, and will power, ambition and intelligence enable us to do it. Man’s importance depends on what he knows, on the use that ha makes of knowledge, and the extent to which new knowledge inspires his imagination and achievement.
---Milwaukee Sentinel, Milwaukee, Wis., Feb. 2, 1936.
The imagination enables us to take fragments of old experiences and from them to build new and unified experiences. Then the imagination is but the use of experience to reach greater experiences. ... When the imagination goes on ahead, creation will not be far behind. The imagination gives man something to start with, but he measures it against the basic laws of science The imagination not only starts but keeps him going, going as long as the imagination lasts. Man being what man is can't let his career rest with one vision. A vision feeds on the visions that follow in its train, and dies if there are none. One has a vision, sees a far horizon, moves toward it, but unless a new and farther vision challenges him his steps languish.
—A.L. Crabb, Monroe Morning World, Monroe, La., May 29, 1948.
Imagination rules the world. The imagination is the very secret and marrow of civilization. It is the very eye of faith. The soul without imagination is what an observatory would be without a telescope. After reason, memory, judgment have done their part, the constructive imagination comes in to create new objects.... Imagination carves living images out of marble, symphonies out of sounds, systems of thought out of ideas, and a code of morals developed and realized relationships. Without the faculty, civilization would be impossible. Imagination has been the key which unlocked the door into the world of fact, and gave to the investigators the knowledge which they have handed on to the races. ... Imagination not only has been the source of all knowledge, culture, and progress; it has always served man well in the development of character. No man is ever satisfied with himself, except he be a fool, a self-centered egotist, or a benighted crank. The normal person is always dissatisfied, and this attitude is traceable to the fact of an ideal never reached. ... Use well the vision faculty–the imagination.
—Ernest Duncan Holloway, Monroe Morning World, Monroe, La., June 7, 1930.
We need to quicken imagination and faith in the great ideals. ... The best way to quicken faith and imagination is through adequate expression of the powers of life. ... In the actual working of the imagination training amounts to a great deal. ... A man with a trained imagination is also a man of faith. ... He must be able to think ahead and picture accurately the possible results of his work. He must direct his dreams into lawful and wholesome channels. Every wholesome dreamer must look forward. He must be a believer in progress. He must have faith that “the best is yet to be.”
—Frederick M. Bennett, Salt Lake Herald-Republican, Salt Lake City, Utah, Jan. 27, 1913.
Imagination is as real as reality. Reality is the full-bloom flower of thought. Everything was once imagination. ... Your future will be largely the dream of youth. Achievement is meditation worked out. Sparks of thought make the light of the world. To think correctly is to pave the right way to right living.
—Arthur Growden, The Commercial Dispatch, Columbus, Miss., Sept. 27, 1925.
Imagination and industry are twin powers.
—Arthur Growden, The Commercial Dispatch, Columbus, Miss., June 13, 1928.
Imagination is acting out your dreams, involving yourself with new ideas and moving from those new ideas to new actions in your life. Having an imagination means that you go beyond anything that you have ever done before--imagining yourself doing certain things and then going out and doing those things. Many people have secret desires but they don't have the courage to follow through on those desires. Imagination is not just having dreams. It's being able to walk through those dreams. It's being able to do those dreams, to bring those dreams into reality. You have to dream beyond what you think you are able to do. That's what a dream is.
—Mike Clark, Build Your House on the Rock, Lake Charles, La., May 23, 1996.
Faith gives character to the visions and dreams of imagination. Without it imagination is simply fancy telling fairy tales and spending itself like summer lightning. Build the searchlight of imagination on the mountain of faith and it will reveal to you the possibilities of human conquest. Unbelief is negative and never accomplished anything except to bar the progress of man.
—H.W. Knickerbocker, Houston Post-Dispatch, Houston, Texas, Jan. 5, 1931.
The power of the imagination enables us to place ourselves in ideal circumstances and so keep a bright future. Sitting in the hovel, we may picture and enjoy the palace. Walking the troubled way of life, we are able to dream of the beauties of days yet to come and to see the grandeur of a city still to be. It enables us to work on and to live over and over again the pleasant pieces of the past. The imagination is the one power in life which enables us to keep up and to smile under calamity.
—Arthur L. Odell, San Antonio Daily Express, San Antonio, Texas, May 17, 1909.
The imagination is more powerful than the will. It is possible by the strong exercise of the will to force yourself in many things, but if by the use of the imagination you can bring yourself to the state of really deserving to do something difficult, it is much easier to accomplish it. Will is powerful, but imagination is more powerful.
—Grove H. Patterson, Milwaukee Sentinel, Milwaukee, Wis., Feb. 26, 1930.
The only limitation on the horizon for tomorrow is the vigor and vitality of our imagination today.
—Charles G. Smith, The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, Miss., Jan. 22, 1968.
This life is only a tragedy for those who have no imagination.
—Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., Dec. 10, 1932.
To imagine is to advance, mentally. Imagination is the foundation stone upon which has been erected the great accomplishments of the human race. The heaven of the little child is the imagination that stirs within him; and for all of us, as we come into this world and move through it in joy and sorrow, the power of imagination to shape our destinies and bring us happiness is infinite beyond all words. He is rich who, knowing little, has a great imagination; he is poor who, knowing much, has none. Imagination is originality. Without it no great productions of the mind in science would have been given to the world. The comforts and conveniences of civilization never would have been perfected had somebody not imagined something. A man may have a finished education. He may hold many certificates and diplomas from many different educational institutes. And yet he is not likely to add much to what he has already accomplished if he lacks a profound imagination. Those who have explored the vast field of imagination of thought and of design, have given themselves up as dreamers. ... It is all the result of meditation and thought--imagination. ... Do we not understand, when we are reading a great story or a wonderful book, that we have jumped up behind a genius and that he is taking us for a ride on his winged horse--Imagination? And do we not also understand that if we ourselves have not a great imagination in our souls we could never enjoy that magic ride? There are those who cannot see anything beautiful in nature. Poor dreary souls! They have no imagination. Without imagination we lose half the fun and all the truth and all the beauty and all the glory of human life.
—Emmett J. Lee, The Gazette, Farmerville, La., Nov. 7, 1928.
Imagination has two phases. It allows us to see the thing we think about, and enables us to endow the things we see through our natural eyes with qualities that others may not see. Men achieve goals by dreaming about them, and then believing that they can be accomplished. It is imagination that has set great men apart from average men, a faculty that marks as superior, the man or woman that uses it.
—Richard L. Millett, Florida Ft. Lauderdale Mission Newsletter, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., August 1977.
The word imagination is often used in a derogatory way, as though it is inferior to actual experience. We shrug our shoulders and say that a man has too vivid an imagination and that he is a star-gazer. To us imagination suggests unreality. And it is true that the ideas formed in our minds are unreal and unlike anything we see in life. For those who are dissatisfied with life as it is, imagination may become an escape to a world of fantasy or a blueprint for the kind of world men must follow if their life is to become better. I want to say a few things about the cultivation of imagination which form ideas and conceptions which will make the world a better place. No good or worthy idea which has benefitted mankind was not first a dream, perhaps a wild and unbelievable dream, in the mind of men. The imaginative thinker dreams great and bold dreams and then offers his ideas for the betterment of men. Many barriers are raised against the advent of new idea. No doubt many ideas which would long ago have brought peace and joy to us were snuffed out by cynical and thoughtless persons before they had a chance. We ridicule the thinker of new ideas. ... The imagination invigorates reality with new truths and fresh ideas. Our world would soon grow dull and tiresome if there were not a continual flow of new concepts and new solutions to old problems. We need, first of all, a guarantee that there will always be an abundance of new ideas. And, secondly, we need a willingness to try new ideas. In this way we shall not become stalemated in the mistakes and errors we have made time and again.
—Charles L. Allen, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., July 17, 1958.
There are many means by which you can quicken imagination. One of the simplest and best is to devote at least half an hour every day to quiet meditation on some subject of special interest to you. Imagination is like every other faculty of the human mind in that it grows by exercise. If your imagination is weak, depend upon it that this is largely because you have not been exercising it regularly. Have you, in fact, ever practiced quiet meditation? Have you not been too incessantly on the go, two strenuously occupied with various activities, to be able to meditate quietly about anything? Tonight, before you rush off to the theater, shut yourself in your room for half an hour. If the street is noisy, close the window. Or seek some quiet nook where you may feel sure of being able to meditate undisturbed. Relax mentally and physically. Seat yourself in a comfortable chair. ... Keep your room dark, or semi-dark. Darkness and quiet are conditions peculiarly stimulating to the imagination. Now turn your mind to the subject regarding which you specially desire imagination's aid. And keep your mind fixed on it. Don't let it wander to irrelevant things. Form as vivid a mental picture as you can of the subject in question. You may find this difficult at first. You are certain to find it difficult if, during your hours of active work, you have never taken the trouble to observe things closely and accurately. Imagination, you see, must have material with which to work, and observation is necessary to give it this material. If you have been a careless observer you are bound to have a scanty stock of mental images for your imagination to utilize.
—H. Addington Bruce, The Chicago Daily News, Chicago, Ill., Aug. 10, 1918.
Imagination, that faculty of the mind by which self forms ideals, should be developed. Every man should have a worthy ideal and should strive to attain it. A worthy ideal inspires laudable ambition, and ambition can be satisfied only by energetic effort. ... Self-esteem and self-confidence, when they do not degenerate into egotism, are commendable. Love and sympathy for others should also be encouraged. But though a man be gifted with all the intellectuality desirable, if he has not the will power to back it, he loses in the great human struggle. The power of concentration can be cultivated by carefully attending to those subjects with which the mind is occupied–letting no stray thoughts intrude upon the mind. Choice and action are similarly developed. The subject of will-culture is an important one, for to the will I attribute a man’s success in life, and to the want of it his failure.
—Benjamin Cluff, Jr., Deseret Evening News, Salt Lake City, Utah, June 1, 1891.
Without imagination you will accomplish little. With imagination you have possibilities for doing big things. Train that spark of genius known as imagination, and you will have a working tool which is capable of great accomplishments.
—Phil Conley, The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, Miss., April 8, 1948.
Imagination is the workshop of your mind–be sure it is properly developed and skillfully trained.
—Phil Conley, The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, Miss., April 13, 1950.
C.P. Brewer said, “It may not be the thing which you do not know that stands between you and greater success, but the thing which you do know, but do not practice.” Putting into practice to best purpose the thing which you know may bring success. Inertia, in other words, may be the cause of most of your failures. Be up and doing. Utilize your mind, your hands, your hearts. Do not indulge wholly in daydreaming. Making your dreams come true. Build your castles in the air, then build them on the ground. The play of imagination has been at the bottom of all great achievements.
—Frank Francis, Ogden Standard-Examiner, Ogden, Utah, Nov. 23, 1924.
You feed the body to keep up physical strength. The mind also needs feeding, or the spiritual side of man will be weakened. Imagination must be stimulated if the mind is to function in a normal way.
—Frank Francis, Ogden Standard-Examiner, Ogden, Utah, Nov. 5, 1925.
The appeal to the imagination and the urge to get an answer to the heart’s desire has made for all the progress of mankind.
—Frank Francis, Ogden Standard-Examiner, Ogden, Utah, Oct. 12, 1927.
How happy most of us could be if we had the imagination of an Edison to be entranced by expectation.
—Frank Francis, Ogden Standard-Examiner, Ogden, Utah, Sept. 1, 1930.
An ounce of imagination is worth a ton of influence.
---B.C. Forbes, Forbes Magazine, New York, July 21, 1923.
Imagination is the vine and fig tree of the dreamer.
—Emmet Rodwell Calhoun, Louisville Times, Louisville, Ky., Jan. 28, 1905.
The imagination is a wonderful gift. In essence, it is a window which permits us to see beyond the walls of the present into the infinite future. With its help, man can set goals for himself that are far beyond the walls of simple reason that tell him such goals are "impossible." It is the power of imagination that makes all things possible. It is the touchstone of faith. "Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, the mind of man can achieve." It is the imagination that permits the mind of man to conceive of new ideas, new aims and goals, new desires.
Reason is the machine that carries us to success. Will power is the fuel, ignited by the sparkplug of emotion, that operates the machine. The imagination is the self-starter that starts it rolling in the first place. Imagination, however, is like faith. We must apply it in order to realize the returns it can bring us. The most wonderful dreams our imaginations can produce are worthless--unless we take action to try to make them into realities. We also must take time to permit our imagination to work for us. It's all very well to keep our noses to the grindstone, to speak. But unless we raise our heads once in a while, we never get a chance to see beyond the immediate task. We give our imagination free rein only when we take time for contemplation and meditation. Then it can take over our minds and soar to limitless heights.
Too many people regard time spent in this way as merely wasteful daydreaming. But it isn't. It's time well spent, so long as we make concrete plans to bring our daydreams to fruition. In self-disciplining the mind, there's no need to curb your imagination as there is with the emotions. But there is a distinct need for directing and channeling it in directions where the goals and aims it produces can bring definite results. It's useless reverie to let our minds merely wander idly. But you can see your future laid out before you in your own imagination if you direct it properly.
For example, I suggest you put your imagination to work. Start with these questions: What can I conjure up in my mind to do today that will put me one step forward along the road to success? How can I do my job better tomorrow so that I will be walking an extra mile instead of the one mile that is required of me? What suggestions can I offer that will make my work simpler to perform, cheaper to accomplish and yet boost production? Your imagination may show you a goal that seems a thousand miles away. But the journey there begins with but a single step.
—Napoleon Hill, Houston Post, Houston, Texas, Dec. 26, 1956.