How do you enhance your imagination? Some say that your imagination is your “inner visual landscape” where the things that you pick up with your five senses are translated into information that can affect your reality and daily life.
Take a few moments on your own where you “observe” the inner workings of your mind’s landscape. If you stand back and watch your mind, you may see it operating in many ways – daydreaming, shifting, thinking about the past or future.
We use our imaginations every day – every time we write, create, dream or even perform simple tasks. What pictures, sounds and emotions play on your mind when you spend time observing it?
The steps to unlocking your imagination
There are a few things you could try.
- Observe your mind while sitting in a quiet space.
- Tune into your five senses – what can you see, hear, smell, taste and feel?
- Come back to the present, the “here and now.”
- Now, imagine a list of things that inspire you.
- Spend some time considering your life’s goals. What matters most to you?
We all have many goals – ranging from simple things we desire to the grand plans we make in life. You will never set them in stone, but once your goals are clearer, you’ll be surprised how quickly things can fall into place to help you achieve them. Imagine the possibilities!
Albert Einstein said, “I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”
What could be possible for you if you think outside the square and unlock your imagination? Is there a best-selling novel waiting to be written? Could you start a unique small business? Are you incredibly artistic and yet simply have no outlet?
Meet Jess, Danielle and Tony – three people following their passions, busy learning new skills and moving in the direction of their dreams. See what these unique students are doing to create different realities from their imaginations.
Imagine – living and working on a luxury yacht
Danielle de Vere was attracted to photography from an early age. This student has a life that most people could only dream of – she lives and works on a private yacht, The Mary Jean, “one of the finest and most elegant charter yachts of her class,” where she’s been the captain for eight years. “It’s a great life!” this online photography student says. “I am so lucky to see so much of the world, and I want to capture it all with my camera.”
“My work has taken me all over the globe,” Danielle explains, “to the Pacific, Caribbean, Norway, the Mediterranean, Mexico, the list goes on. But even on my time off I like to try to visit somewhere new.” It would be hard to imagine a better opportunity to take some impressive shots. “I remember getting my first camera when I was about eight. I’ve always loved taking photos; it’s something I want to get better at.”
Doing an online course has been a great way for Danielle to learn new skills while travelling to distant shores. Speaking to us from Greece she talks about how the flexibility of her Certificate IV in Design, Specialising in Photography is vital with “only three days off in the last three months” to get some work done. It’s essential that Danielle can learn whenever and wherever she can, she says.
With such a busy schedule Danielle has a secret to relaxation. She does “just half an hour of yoga a day which leaves me in a much better mood.”
Danielle recently did an amazing shoot at a yoga retreat in Bali. “I had never photographed yoga before I did that shoot,” she says.
This online student balances her course with her yoga regime and her professional ambitions. “For the last eight years my career has been very focused on getting Captaincy,” she explains. “Now I have reached the highest level I can in my field I have just accomplished that dream.”
“I am actually planning on taking a six month break soon to come home and relax for a bit. Hopefully I can spend some more time on my course.” With an interest in wildlife and portrait photography, Danielle aims to continue with her creative work and her desire to continue “capturing a moment in time that will never exist again.”
Imagine – creating a magical world
Jess Devenish has always been fascinated by the visual arts. “My heart has been taken by high fashion, conceptual photography and digital art,” she explains.
This photography student had only limited experience when she put together this visual feast as a conceptual photo shoot. “I had only photographed one family member as a client so did not have much experience!”
Photography these days is more than just taking a photo. Jess’ Open Colleges course , the Certificate IV in Design, Specialising in Photography covers the use of editing software and Adobe Photoshop. “When I started to learn graphic design I thought I’d found my calling. I just loved to pull different elements from different images to create something new. That was until I was introduced; not only to photography, but the whole creative and fashion world…I fell in love.”
While enjoying many different photographic genres, including maternity, family and wedding shoots, Jess has a particular interest in fantasy photography. “I would love to get into the fashion editorial world and learn how to specialise in that area. I really enjoy working with models and getting creative.”
It was this interest that saw her team up with a local headpiece maker for a creative collaboration. This included designing clothes and putting out a casting call for potential models.
The result was this incredible Alice in Wonderland shoot where both Jess and her collaborator inspired each other. Jess describes Wonderland as her introduction to everyone, showing them what she could do creatively.
“The internet has helped me so much when it comes to inspiration and ideas.” Jess also looks to Facebook as she can “follow certain artists and watch their work which then helps my ideas flow.”
About Wonderland, her first fantasy shoot, she reflects: “even though I am in love with it, I would love to do it again, as so much would be different – bigger and better!
Jess talks about how patient her trainer and assessor was as she explored her creative world through the various assignments.
A stay-at-home mum with a 3-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter, Jess likes to “chat to other artists and fellow creatives” for inspiration. She finds Facebook and Pinterest enormously useful for ‘creative blocks’.
Jess says “something clicked” – obviously not just the camera – “when I decided to try photography to help my graphic design. I just knew I wanted to be a photographer.”
Her dream job? “With my new skills I would love to have my own photography business someday be an accomplished photographer with my own studio.”
Imagine – saving the natural environment with your writing
A lifelong learner, Tony Hepworth has three university degrees already. His working history is as an educator but at age 75, he is happily retired and enjoying life with his wife Yuming in the beautiful Shellharbour area of New South Wales. He loves writing, so taking up an online writing course seemed like the perfect hobby. Now Tony is working on realising his dream of having a book published in his retirement.
He describes writing as a long-term process, where he tries to put together “bits and pieces of ideas” he’s been playing with for a while. “Near where I live, there’s a 100-hectare reserve called Blackbutt Forest and some years back, the state government actually tried to knock it down and put public housing up. There was a huge public outcry.”
This formed the basis for an idea for a book. “Anne (my trainer and assessor) suggested that whatever I write, I should write about something that’s local and specific.” He decided to write a children’s book where his young protagonists come to the rescue of the forest.
“It’s a David and Goliath story, and these kids, who in the end, save the forest.”
Understanding that writing fiction for young adults comes with its own set of genre-related structures and expectations, Tony’s under no illusions about the task ahead. Aiming at the 10-14 year-old market, he describes the act of writing as “a learning process.”
“I am definitely still learning. The book has not been published yet. It’s not finished,” but he continues to work on it in his spare time, enjoying the process of writing it.
A key part of Tony’s learning experience was the writing support his trainer and assessor provided, allowing him to vary assignments and meet his needs as a writer.
“I don’t need any more certificates. Anne allowed me to vary some of the assignments, and so I’ve got probably three quarters of the book finished and that’s been terrific.”
“To be able to work with Anne who says, ‘OK, if you want to go down that direction…go down that direction, and I will assess it accordingly.’ She’s been really helpful, worth her weight in gold.”
“I’ve been able to experiment and adjust the assignments and fiddle around with them a little bit with approval.”
Tony tells us he’s not studying for a promotion, “I’m simply writing for the enjoyment of it!”
…and over to you!
Most people can have wild imaginations, whether they work as accountants, in retail or real estate. Finding a hobby or interest that fuels yours, could be the start of a whole new direction for you and your career.
What ideas do you have, ready to be explored or launched? If you’ve reached the end of this article and you’re still hunting for ideas, here are some questions you might want to ask yourself – be honest!
10 questions to unlock your imagination:
- What are the three things in life you’re most passionate about?
- What time in your life have you been the happiest?
- When you let your mind wander – where does it drift?
- If you could play any instrument in the world (or from history) what would it be?
- If you were a colour – what shade would most represent your personality?
- Which celebrity would play you in a movie?
- If you could have a superpower – what would it be?
- If you had a million dollars to start a business or charity venture – what would you do?
- What are you passionate about learning more about?
- If tomorrow was your last day on earth – what would you do with it?
Would a course spark your imagination?
Not all Open Colleges courses are linked to careers; sometimes they just develop your passion and skills. Do any of these courses inspire you? We might just be able to help you fuel your imagination and realise your dreams!