What do soft skills such as creativity, problem-solving, and critical thinking have in common? They all require you to have a strong imagination.

The term ‘imagination’ tends to be associated with childhood development, but it isn’t limited to only children re-enacting their fantasies or favourite fairy tales through pretend play.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines imagination as “the act or power of forming a mental image of something not present to the senses or never before wholly perceived in reality.”

This is applicable when we try to imagine a physical sensation, feeling, emotion, smell or taste; when we visualise based upon a story we read or heard; or when we picture a product or service that can positively benefit people in the future.

As a distinctively human ability, imagination lets us discover new ideas, images or sensations beyond the limitation of reality through a combination of our experiences and knowledge.

It is especially relevant to creativity and innovation, in which imagination of the artistic or scientific kind is put into action through creativity and turns into an innovation.

Simply put, without imagination, we may not be able to enjoy our favourite films, literature and any other art forms, or experience the likes of mobile devices, the Internet or technological advancements that have made life easier for us.

If you’re running a business, having a strong imagination is essential to ensure long-term success as it also helps in creating a vision for your company.

Imagination also allows business owners to generate ideas for daily operations, come up with multiple solutions to a business problem, and even foresee potential new ventures that can be incorporated into their business strategy.

Most importantly, while we may become more rational as we get older, we can enhance our professional and personal growth through continuous development of our imagination.

The advantages are endless; for one, being imaginative lets us improve skills that we use in school, at work or our daily life, be it the aforementioned problem-solving and critical thinking or emotional intelligence and communication.

Our power of imagination also enriches ourselves as individuals, as it boosts our perceptiveness, self-esteem, self-confidence and overall mental health by providing us a more positive outlook in life.

Fundamentally, imagination reminds us of our passion and purpose in life amidst our daily routine and responsibilities.

And when we don’t restrain ourselves and make the effort to turn it into reality, imagination allows us to envision a future that would challenge current limitations and norms, subsequently creating positive change within ourselves and the society at large.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (AZAM) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, published in the print version on Saturday, August 25, 2018.

Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pexels.

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