Setting Yourself Up: Power of the Imagination

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I woke up this morning to the sound of a snow plow moving snow outside my window. I immediately groaned inwardly because that could only mean on thing, it had snowed. Living in the frozen snowy tundra that is Minnesota there are many mornings like this where it snowed through the night. On this particular morning I had to get up at 5am.

As I laid in bed all I could think about is how much snow must have piled up, how I dreaded having to shovel it, wondering if I will be able to get my car out of the garage, and just how late this was going to make me, having not prepared for it. Even as I got up and started getting ready for the day I still wondered how much snow will be compacted at the end of my driveway and just how heavy that snow was. As I grabbed my breakfast the dread continued to build and build so that by the time I put on my coat and boots I was already in a foul mood.

I stood on the cusp of the garage step and with a heavy sigh and possibly a slight growl I hit the button to find out my doom. What did I see. Not much. Well there was something, about a few inches, but in Minnesota terms it basically equated to just enough to make things annoying but not enough where it won’t be melted by the end of the day. And just like that my spirits were lifted. It’s as nothing was ever wrong in the first place. I promptly got in my car and drove to my destination. Now if only I hadn’t allowed my imagination to run off in the first place I wonder how that would have turned out.

The imagination is a powerful thing. It allows us to create such images that can affect us greatly. Which is why it can also be very dangerous. In my case I have dreamt up such mounds of snow that I thought I would be shoveling for hours, late to where I was going, and subsequently put into a foul mood. Essentially I was put off before I even knew the outcome. Now let’s apply that to taking on new things.

Sometimes we are put off of doing things, namely those things that are hard or unfamiliar, even prior to starting it. Our imagination conjures up such horrible images as to how everything can and will go wrong that by the time we are done imagining we have given up entirely and put ourselves in a bad mood. Instead of dwelling on the thought of snow and building up the negatives I should have just let it go and faced the challenge head on when it came.

Instead of imagining how everything can go wrong we should imagine how everything can go right. Does that mean it will? No. But going into a situation with a positive outlook sets you up better for facing the challenge even if it doesn’t work out right. So the next time your imagination decides to run off with its friend negativity, bring it back and switch your focus. That way next time your mood won’t be put off before you even see that pile of snow.

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