The First Step to Better Times is to Imagine Them

Is this proverb a revelation or obvious?

Do we imagine our desired future before embarking on its creation or do we stick to analyzing things as they are and methodically establish increments for change?

Why would anyone want to begin a project, large or small, by “imagining” that it has already successfully been completed?

Isn’t that a bit far-fetched?  There are no boundaries.  It’s like play-acting and we are too busy, realistic, and goal oriented to waste time pretending anything.  We are solving real life problems.

Wait, there’s more. Not only do team members imagine themselves in the future, but they each take a moment to share their contributions to its success.

Now that’s really over the top.  How can they possibly know what they’ve done to create a winning outcome before proper goals have been established, and systems to achieve the goals?  Not to mention prioritization, budgeting, test marketing ……



This imagining exercise provided you with a shared vision that could be converted into goals and the processes to realize them?


You saved yourselves from a lot of time brainstorming by this simple “play acting?” In this setting, simultaneously everyone accesses the unconscious parts of their brain, allowing real creativity to take place. Frequently participants surprise themselves and others, with the originality of their unique ideas.


As a result of allowing all team members to contribute possibilities at the beginning, you had formed strong community of employees committed to the mission?


Because all team members had rehearsed, and felt the sensation of a winning outcome, they would not settle for anything less?

How do I know this can work?  Let me give you one brief example. In the mid ‘90’s I led a group of theatre artists who facilitated visioning exercises, like the one I have just described, in the Detroit Public Schools.  Their task to imagine the schools of the future.  At the end of one session a visiting community member leaned over and said, “I serve on a district advisory board for school improvement.  These middle school students just named in five minutes the same goals it took us six months to develop.”

 “The first step to better times is to imagine them,” appeared in my fortune cookie years ago.  It confirmed two things: 1) Using the imagination when encountering change is a good thing, and 2) inspiration can show up in the most unlikely places.  Through Creativia I want to ignite imaginations and inspire as many people as possible.

Mary Cooney