When we look at various people’s successes and achievements, we often try to make sense of how they got there.

Many are in pursuit of knowing how someone created something of brilliance, whether an accomplished art portfolio, an athletic achievement, a music composition, a honed craft, or a successful business.

For all of those people who found success, what most of us usually find is a track record in the protagonist of the following:

  • small steps towards success taken every day
  • a maintenance of positive mental attitude
  • hard work
  • taking care of your health
  • living with purpose
  • setting goals
  • making sacrifices
  • spending a long time honing a skill
  • knowing and being mentored by valuable people
  • taking advantage of innate talents

Every one of these is a major contributor to various forms of success. Every one of these will be a common thread amongst people who have made it big. I encourage you to put yourself in a position that incorporates any or all of these into your life as you live a life of achievement.

But what this list does not include in direct terms is something that is often skimmed over and generally not taken seriously in any discussion of how it is that certain people create excellence in the way that they do.

What am I talking about and why won’t I get to the point?

Well here it is: imagination.

This is one of the few things central to who we are that separates human beings from other forms of life.

It’s that extra few millimetres of slimy grey brain mass developed over millions of years that allows us to visualise things in clarity, plan and take action on those visualisations.

Having an imagination; an ability to visualise, not just through pictures in our minds, but through ideas, sounds and other sensations that are not present to our physical senses, is a very real tool we all have.

Imagination as a tool is a source of so much latent power in us, that most people never are able to fully understand it with any due wonder.


Most people do not use their imaginations anywhere close to the degree of effectiveness for which such a tool is applicable.

The reason ‘imagination’ is so often overlooked in most discussions of human achievement, is because the idea is not a tangible one. Imagination is also a deeply personal thing, because the only imagination we will ever know lies inside only ourselves.

Imagination is therefore difficult to measure, record and analyse with any clarity and objectivity.

Imagination is often considered to be a form of dreaming and being unfocused or inattentive in some way. And so the little boy staring out the window at school gets told to stop. He’s daydreaming. He’s absorbed in his imagination and he’s not in the real world.

What we all miss in this instance is that the little boy, in his seeming apathy, is moulding his most powerful skill as a human being in that moment: to visualise something that isn’t real. To truly create.

Anyone who ever created, and built anything of value from nothing used their imagination. But they didn’t just use it once. They imagined often during the process of building. They got good at using their imagination. They sharpened their visualisations.

They got so good at it that they began aligning reality with what it is they were visualising so clearly. They took action steps to translate imagination to reality.

And there you have the crux of what I’m telling you. The answer was also within the list I showed you earlier. We create amazing things when we allow our imagination the freedom to be carved into clarity through frequent use and repetition.

Every point in that list works for success because it allows for our imagination to develop.

Imagination is everything, and used well, is the key to all creation and achievement.


Posted by rlcmoonape

Alex is a project starter, sometimes finisher, writer and illustrator. He started Red Lemon Club in 2009 with the aim of helping talented creative people leave their mark.


  1. Fantastic article, Alex! This must’ve taken you forever to edit – the whole thing was a joy to read. Imagination can stretch so far, I know that, and it’s definitely underrated.


    1. Thank you Zeen, it was fun to write!


  2. Great thoughts Alex. Millman’s advice is in a similar and deeply resonant vein and one of my all time favourite and indeed challenging quotes: “Work as hard as you can, imagine immensities, don’t compromise, and don’t waste time. Start now. Not 20 years from now, not two weeks from now. Now.”


    1. Thanks Dan. Love the ‘imagine immensities’ part!


  3. Lovely article Alex! I also like the list at the beginning of the post!


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