Overactive Imagination?

One beautiful thing about living as artists is the tendency to live within our imaginations.

As a new experience begins to take shape, I find I think way down the road to its potential outcome. When I start a project it’s important for me to determine the makeup of its finish line. It gives me something to get excited about and work toward.

But it can be frustrating when things don’t pan out. As soon as there’s a shift in approach or the project is put on pause, panic sets in. “What was I doing wrong?” “Why did I fail?”

There can of course be many reasons why experiences change shape and the imagined finish lines morph into something else. Life is chaos and filled with randomness. But when change does happen, I find it easy to blame my imagination: “Well if I didn’t have my sights on that outcome I wouldn’t be so upset. Next time I’ll have fewer expectations.”

That’s probably the wrong way to think about it.

In fact, when there’s a sudden turn in the road, we have to hone our strong imaginations in order to adjust. What is this new finish line? What new tools do we need now? How are we going to make the most of this change?

I find that I too often think (and get upset) about the loss of what could have been, rather than focus on what was actually lost and what is now taking its place. But instead of planning on no longer imagining possible futures, I put my imagination to use by rethinking what’s happening in the present.

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