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No one ever accomplished anything, never created anything, never built any plan or developed a definite chief aim without the use of imagination! Everything ever created or built, was first, mentally visional through imagination.
Years before it became a reality, the late John Wanamaker saw in his imagination, in practically all of its details, the gigantic business that for so many years bore his name. Despite the fact that he was then, without the capital to create such a business, he managed to get it and lived to see the business he had dreamed of in his mind become a splendid reality.
In the workshop of the imagination, one may take old, well-known ideas of concepts, or parts of ideas, and combine them with still other old ideas or parts of ideas, and out of this combination create that which seems to be new. This process is the major principle of all invention.
One may have a definite chief aim and a plan for achieving it; may possess self-confidence in abundance; may have a highly developed habit of saving, and both initiative and leadership in abundance. But if the element of imagination is missing, these other qualities will be held useless, because where will be no driving force to shape the use of these qualities. In the workshop of the imagination, all plans are created, and without such plans, no achievement is possible except by mere accident.
Witness the manner in which the imagination can be used as both the beginning and the end of successful plans: Clarence Saunders, who created the well-known chain of Piggly Wiggly supermarkets, conceived the idea on which the stores were based, or rather borrowed it, from the cafeteria restaurant system. While working as a grocer’s helper, Mr. Saunders went into a cafeteria for lunch. Standing in line, waiting for his turn at the food counters, the wheels of his imagination began to turn, and he reasoned, to himself, something like this : “people seem to like to stand in line and help themselves. Moreover, I see that more people can be served this way, with fewer sales person. Why would it not be a good idea to introduce this plan in the grocery business, so people could come in, wander around with a basket, pick up what they wanted, and pay on the way out?” Then and there with that bit of elementary ‘imagining’, Mr. Saunders sowed the seed of n idea which later became the Piggy-Wiggly stores system and made him a multimillionaire in the bargain.
“Ideas” are the most profitable products of the human mind, and they are all created in the imagination. The old five-and-ten cent store system that served the nation so well for so many years was the results of imagination. The system was created by F.W. Woolworth, and it happened in this way : Woolworth was working as a salesman in a retail store. The owner of the store complained that he had a considerable amount of old, un-sellable merchandise on hand that was in the way, and was about to throw some of it into the trash box to be consigned to the furnace, when Woolworth’s imagination began to function.
‘I have an idea,” said he, “how to make this merchandise sell. Let’s put it all on a table and place a big sign on the table saying that all articles will be sold at ten cents each.” The idea seemed feasible, so it was tried. It worked satisfactorily, and then further development began, which resulted, finally, in the big chain of Woolworth store that, eventually, appeared throughout the entire country and made the man who used his imagination, a classic American success story and a household name.
Ideas are valuable in any business, and the one who strikes out to cultivate the power of imagination, out of which ideas are born, will sooner or later, find himself headed towards financial success, backed with tremendous power.
Thomas A. Edison invented the incandescent electric light bulb by the use of his imagination, when he assembled two old and well known principles in a combination in which they had never before been associated. A brief description of just how this was accomplished will help you to envision the manner in which the imagination may be made to solve problems, overcome obstacles and lay the foundation for great achievements in any undertaking.
The basic idea behind the light bulb was not new. Edison discovered, as other experimenters had before him, that a light could be created by applying electrical energy to a wire, thus heating the wire to a white heat. The trouble, however, came because of the fact that no one had found a way to control the heat. The wire soon burned out when heated sufficiently to give a clear light. After many years of experimentation, Edison happened to think of the well-known old method of burning charcoal. He saw, instantly, that this principle held the secret to the control of heat that was needed to create a light by applying electrical power to a wire.
Charcoal is made by placing a pile of wood on the ground, setting on fire, and then covering it over with dirt, thereby, cutting off most of the oxygen from the fire. This enables the wood to burn slowly, but it cannot blaze and the stick cannot burn up entirely, because there can be no combustion where there is no oxygen, and but, little combustion where there is, but little oxygen. With this knowledge in mind, Edison went into his laboratory, placed the wire that he had been experimenting with inside a vacuum tube, thus cutting off all oxygen. He then applied the electrical power, and lo! He had a perfect incandescent light bulb. The wire inside the bulb could not burn up because there was no oxygen inside to create combustion sufficient to burn it up.
Thus it happened that one of the most useful of modern inventions was created by combining two principles in a new way. There is nothing absolutely new ! whatever seems to be new is but a combination of ideas or elements of something old. This is literally true in the creation of business plans, invention, the manufacture of metals, and everything else created by mankind.
What is known as a “basic” patent, meaning a patent that embraces really new and, heretofore, undiscovered principles, is rarely offered for record at the Patent Office. Most of the hundreds of thousands of patents applied for and granted every year, involve nothing more than a new arrangement or combination of old and well known principles that have been used many times before in other ways and for other purpose.
When Mr. Saunders created his famous Piggly Wiggly stores system, he did not even combine two ideas; he merely took an old idea that he saw in use and gave it a new setting, or in other words, put to a new use, but this required imagination.
To cultivate the imagination so it will eventually suggest ideas on its own initiative, you should make it your business to keep a record of all the useful, ingenious and practical ideas you see in use in other lines of work, outside of your own occupation, as well as in connection with your own work. Start with an ordinary, pocket size notebook, and catalogue every idea, or concept, or thought that occurs to you that is capable of practical use, and then take these ideas and work them into new plans. By and by, the time will come when the powers of your own imagination will go into the storehouse of your own subconscious mind, where all the knowledge you have gathered is stored, assemble this knowledge into new combinations, and hand over to you the results in the shape of brand new ideas, or what appear to be new ideas.
This procedure is practical because it has been followed successfully by some of the best-known leaders, inventors, and business leaders “Everything you can imagine is real” said Picasso. Let us here define the word imagination as “The workshop of the mind wherein may be assembled, in new and varying combinations, all ideas, thoughts, plans, facts, principles, and theories known to man.” A single combination of ideas, which may be merely parts of old and well-known ideas, may be worth anywhere from a few cents to a few dollars. Imagination is the one faculty on which there is no set price or value. It is the most important of the faculties of the mind, for it is here that all of man’s motives are given the impulse necessary to turn them into action.
The dreamer who does nothing more than dream uses imagination, yes. But dreamer fall short of utilizing this great faculty efficiently because the impulse to put thoughts into action is missing. Here is where intuition enters and goes to work providing he or she is familiar with the Laws of Success and understands that ideas, by themselves, are worthless until put into action.
The dreamer who creates practical ideas must place back of these ideas, three laws necessary prior to this, namely :
1. Importance of a Definite Chief Aim.
2. Possession of Self-Confidence.
3. Taking Initiative and Leadership.
Without the use of these three laws, no one may put thoughts and ideas into action, although the power to dream, imagine, and create may be highly developed.
It is your business to succeed in life! How ? that is something you must answer for yourself, but, in the main, you must proceed somewhat along these lines :
1. Adopt a definite purpose and create a definite plan for its attainment.
2. Take the initiative and begin putting your plan into action.
3. Back your initiative with belief in yourself and in your ability to successfully complete your plan.
No matter who you are, what you are doing, how much your income is or how little money you have, if you have a sound mind and if you are capable of using your imagination, you can gradually make a place for yourself that will command respect and give you all the worldly goods that you need. There is no trick connected with this. The procedure is simple, as you may start with a very simple, as you may start with gradually develop it into something more impressive.
What if your imagination is not sufficiently developed, at this time, to enable you to create some useful invention? You can begin exercising this faculty anyway, by using it to create ways and means of improving the methods of performing your present work, whatever it may be. Your imagination will grow strong in proportion to the extent that you command it and direct it unto use. Look about you and you will find plenty of opportunities to exercise your imagination. Do not wait for someone to pay you for using your imagination. Do not wait for someone to show you what to do, but use vision and let your imagination suggest what to do. Do not wait for someone to show you what to do, but use your vision and let your imagination suggest what to do. Do not wait for someone to pay you for using your imagination! Your real pay will come from the fact that every time you use it constructively in creating new combinations of ideas, it will grow stronger. If you keep up this practice, the time will soon come, when your services will be sought eagerly, at any price within reason.
If a barber of hair stylist works in a works in a unisex salon, for example, it may seem to him or her that there is little opportunity to use imagination. Nothing could be further from the truth. As a matter of fact, anyone holding such a position may give his or her imagination, the finest sort of exercise by making a point of cultivating every customer who enters the salon such a manner that the customer will repeatedly return. Moreover the stylist may go a step further and work out ways and means of bringing in one new customer each day, or even one a week or one a month, and in that manner, every materially, and quickly add to the store’s income. Sooner or later, though this sort of exercise of imagination, backed by self confidence, initiative, plus a definite chief aim, the one who follow this practice will be sure to create some new plan that will draw new hair salon customers from far and near, and will then be on the great Highway to Success.
A complete analysis of occupations shows that the most profitable occupation on earth, taken as a whole, is that of salesmanship. The one whose fertile mind and imagination create a new and useful invention may not have sufficient ability to market that invention, and may therefore, have to dispose off it for mere pittance, as is, in fact, so often the case. But, the one who has the ability to market that invention may (and generally does) make a fortune out of it.
Anyone who can create plans and ideas that will cause the number of patrons of any business to constantly increase and who is able to send all the patrons away satisfied, is well on the way toward success, regardless of the commodity, service, or wares that are sold there.
It is not the purpose of this brief outline of the law of success philosophy to show the people what to do and how to do it, but to list the general rules of procedure applying in all successful undertaking, so anyone can understand them and adopt them enriching their life.