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9.4. Inner Space


How To Invent (Almost) Anything > 9. Managing in a Complex World > 9.4. Inner Space

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How do you see your ideas before you turn them into physical form? We typically use our imaginations to create inner pictures, borrowing the outer system of concrete space to literally see our ideas. We can invent something completely in our minds, giving it three-dimensional shape, rotating and moving it and changing it at will. This is just a small glimpse of the power of our imagination.

We also convert our concepts and abstract thoughts into shape to give them concrete form. When we think about time, we often ‘see’ it along a line. It may go from left to right or back to front or any other shape, but how we perceive this line can have a profound effect on how we live our lives. When you look along your time line, can you see your invention, complete and in use? If you cannot see it, or it is always in the dim distance, then you may be trapped by the joys of the initial idea, procrastinating the less pleasurable tasks of putting your thoughts into real action.

The best tool to counter the constraining effects of our mind is the same imagination that creates those same limiting inner pictures. Make inner pictures of yourself completing the invention and other people congratulating you and taking up your idea. Go forward in time to see this happening close-up. Then move back to the present, watching the events stack themselves up like a set of dominoes, with events happening each day that will lead you to your completed invention.

When you look at your timeline, are you standing in it our outside it? If you stand outside it, you probably feel detached from it, that time outside of you. Try moving to stand inside it. It may seem scary but it should also feel more real. You now are a part of time, moving in and with time, not passively watching it pass you by. Repeat the previous exercise of imagining your desired future and see how differently it makes you feel.

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