The Imagination Yet Must Still Reign

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“These days some plans are made optimistically, knowing they have a great percentage of not happening. Yet the Imagination reigns. In that respect we can go anywhere, save by the plot of doubt.” – Patti Smith, “Book of Days”

In the April 29th entry of her “Book of Days,” Patti Smith captures a sentiment both timeless and timely: the steadfast dominion of imagination amidst the often grim landscape of modern plans and expectations. As our world becomes increasingly governed by statistics, probability, and cautious pragmatism, the plans we forge are often overshadowed by the looming specter of failure. 

We must acknowledge, sometimes with a weary heart, that our designs for the future have a substantial chance of dissolving before they even begin to take shape. Yet, the realm of imagination remains indomitable, a domain where borders don’t exist and the plot of doubt is nothing more than a passing cloud in an otherwise clear sky.

So, what actionable advice can we take away from Smith’s musings? How can we still allow our Imagination to thrive today in any practical sense?

First, we must recognize the value of optimism as a driving force. While realism keeps our feet on the ground, it’s optimism that prompts us to leap. We can build ourselves an optimistic mindset by starting small. This involves setting aside time each day to visualize our goals, not just as distant dreams, but as tangible realities. This act of daily visualization is a practice in honing our imaginative powers, allowing us to “go anywhere” in our universe.

Second, it’s vital to cultivate resilience against doubt, whether from others or from within ourselves. Doubt is an inevitable, natural human response to uncertainty. So, to combat this, we must build a narrative of success in our own lives, no matter how small those successes may be. Reflecting on our past triumphs serves as evidence that we can indeed navigate through the unknown. It’s important to keep a journal or a list of accomplishments as a tangible reminder that past barriers were overcome not by certainty, but by the courage to imagine and then pursue a positive outcome.

Third, we must actively seek inspiration. Our imaginations are nourished by exposure to new ideas, experiences, and perspectives. That means we should make a conscious effort to step outside of our comfort zones, whether by traveling, exploring new hobbies, engaging with diverse groups of people, or simply reading books that challenge our way of thinking. These experiences act as fuel for our imaginative fires, ensuring that they burn bright even when the darkness of doubt creeps in to threaten us.

Lastly, embracing collaboration can help solidify imagination’s reign over doubt. Sharing our dreams and aspirations with others can make them seem more attainable. Collaboration allows us to not only find support to attain our goals, but also combine our imaginative resources to overcome hurdles that might seem insurmountable on our own. Seeking out mentors, joining communities, and participating in forums are other practical ways to ensure that our imaginative endeavors aren’t solitary flights but shared journeys.

So, despite the creeping possibility of our plans not materializing, Patti Smith’s words remind us that the power of imagination remains untouched. Through deliberate optimism, resilience to doubt, constant inspiration, and collaboration, the reign of imagination can continue unchallenged. By putting Imagination at the forefront, we’re afforded the freedom to transcend our current reality and forge ahead, crafting futures unfettered by the grim tethers of probability. Let’s commit to allowing our imaginations to reign supreme, because in the vastness of our own minds, all things remain wonderfully possible.

~ Amelia <3

Amelia Desertsong is a former content marketing specialist turned essayist and creative nonfiction author. She writes articles on many niche hobbies and obscure curiosities, pretty much whatever tickles her fancy.
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