The Road To Resilience: Imagination

What does imagination have to do with resilience? Read the following definitions and then ask that question again.
  • The act or power of forming a mental image of something not present to the senses or never before wholly perceived in reality.
  • Creative ability
  • Ability to confront and deal with a problem: resourcefulness
  • The thinking or active mind
  • A creation of the mind; especially : an idealized or poetic creation
    Example: You can find a solution if you use a little imagination.
You really can imagine your way out of any problem. When I begin to doubt this I think of the book Touching the Void. It is a true story of Joe Simpson, a young climber who breaks his leg on the way down from summiting a treacherous mountain in Peru. Through a series of fortunate and misfortunate events he proceeds to save his own life. At one point he falls into a huge crevasse and lands on a small ledge with nowhere to go and nothing to see except for the enveloping darkness that surrounds him. He has a rope and realizing that his choices are to stay there until he dies of thirst, or use the rope and lower himself further into the crevasse, he begins the long rappel down into the unknown. Sure enough, he ends up at the bottom and is able to climb his way out into the sunlight. I wonder if I actually would have lowered myself further into the abyss or whether I would have settled into my fate at that point. But Joe never stopped thinking of solutions to every problem he confronted as he made his way down to mountain. Even at the bleakest moments, when he logically knew that his chances for survival were less than slim, he used his imagination to move forward and this saved his life.
What can we all learn from this? When all else fails, suspend logic and remember your imagination. There will always be people, scientific evidence, statistics, opinions and schools of thought that weigh against your ability to bounce back from any challenge, but the power of imagination can defeat them all.
I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.

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