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What Creative Imagination is - And How to Develop it

It has been said, “That man is most original who knows the greatest number of sources from which to plagiarize.” Again, wasn’t it Solomon who said there is nothing new under the sun?

To understand clearly what “creative imagination” is, consider some of the books, pictures, plays or business enterprises that you would call examples of creative ability. Take Woolworth, for example. There was an outstanding merchant! Made millions of dollars, he did. Showed the business world something new, too, if I’m not mistaken. Yet, articles sold for 5 cents and 10 cents long before Woolworth’s day --- and other store operators had price limitations before Woolworth came along. However, price limitations were definitely set in the so-called “exclusive” stores. Snobbishly, because it appealed to their snobbish trade, they would not handle merchandise priced below certain figures. All that Woolworth did was to reverse that process --- just as you reverse the letters in a word, now that you have completed more than half my training. See how simple his technique, once you look at it?

All that Henry Ford did, to start with, was to add one more factor to what other automobile makers were doing. They were trying to build cars that would run. Their aim, at that time, was no higher. They had their eyes only on the production end --- overlooking entirely the market and its demands. Ford coordinated the two as easily as you mingle the letters of two words --- and became one of the richest men in history. He aimed to build a car that not only would run, but that also would sell. Nothing to it --- after it had been done!

We are told that there are only five or seven plots in all literature. Shakespeare used them over and over again --- merely making new combinations of old elements. With only 26 letters in our alphabet, we have nearly a million English words ---and an English literature of prose, poetry and plays that must include countless billions of words!

Do I make my meaning clear? Have I answered the questions raised by the title of this chapter? “Creative imagination” is simply the ability to combine old elements into new forms. Its development, in yourself, involves only the ability to cast aside the restrictions of precedent --- to forget entirely what has been done before in your field --- to refuse to accept any idea or method merely because it is long-established --- and to approach any given matter with a fully open mind.

When you see the word GARAGE and, at the same moment, see it spelled EGARAG in your mind’s eye, you are casting off hidebound conventionality. You are thinking freely. Your mind is not a slave of things as they are. And you can do the same with other problems in your life --- see them forwards and backwards at one and the same time --- see them in a different guise than that in which they appear to most others --- and, so seeing them, solve them in what may well be a startling new manner!

There’s the whole secret of Creative Thinking, explained so simply that, like Woolworth’s and Ford’s accomplishments, it seems almost childish. But children, you must bear in mind, are wise with a wisdom that surpasses that of age. Their thinking is independent, not loaded with the thoughtless habit of years. Theirs are inquiring minds --- taking nothing for granted, twisting and turning and examining every new fact that comes to them. Do likewise --- as Multiple Mentalism makes it possible for you to do --- and you will find life’s major problems simpler than those of childhood! What’s more, your Creativeness, your daring thinking, will bring rich monetary rewards!

Exercise VIII

You are about to train your mind to see the words of an entire sentence spelled backwards --- another step toward perfecting yourself in the ability to recognize the relationship between apparently unrelated events of elements and build up, anew, fresh creations from old material.

Think of (don’t write!) a sentence containing three or four short words. Fix it in your mind without touching pencil to paper. Then write the sentence backwards --- without having seen it on paper in its correct form. The sentence:




I know this seems far easier than earlier exercises, but that is because, first, it really is not a difficult exercise; and, second, because your mind is immeasurably better trained that it was when you undertook, say, Exercise IV. You can see words and sentences in their entirety, which you couldn’t do before.

Practice ever longer sentences, with ever longer words. Ones like these:

NOITCARTSID STAEFED NOITARTNECNOC (Concentration defeats distraction) STNEDICCA SESAERCNI GNIVIRD YTLUAF (Faulty driving increases accidents) STSIRUTLUCIRGA STSISSA NOITAGIRRI (Irrigation assists agriculturists) One hour a day on this, faithfully, will find you able, after three or four days, to write sentences backwards in from only a half to a third more time than it takes you to write them in the customary manner. To aid your practice, make a game of it. Glance only once at billboards, road signs, etc., then look away quickly and spell them backwards --- aloud, if possible; silently, if necessary. You’ll be astounded at the progress you can make by using moments normally wasted. Profitable progress, too!


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