“Take only your imagination seriously.” — Thomas Berger
We have a choice. A or B. Temptations slither in and suggest Reason go eat an apple. We make our choice with the serpent’s help. Later, we discover another choice would’ve made life easier.
Here’s a creative method that will help Reason fight temptations and lead you to a good choice.
Imagine accurate experiences of each choice.
Our imaginations tempt us to make bad choices. We imagine how good we’d look in the red Camaro, and we buy the smokin’ hot car. Then reality bites when those age fifty-plus legs have to lift our time-grown bodies from ground zero every time we exit the car. Talk about hot. Sweaty hot.
Since misdirected imaginations get us into trouble, let’s use our creativity to cultivate truth-telling imaginations.
When you make a choice, make a mental movie of the experience living with choice A. Do the same for choice B. Choose the best experience.
Example: A realtor took John and I to view river properties. We hoped to purchase one to entertain our family and visitors.
The lots surpassed our dreams. The realtor said the owner was prepared to take lower offers.
Then temptation tickled our greed. We could buy three adjacent lots, A, B, and C, with riverfront of 600 feet total for a reasonable chunk more than the price for F, a deeper lot with 175 feet of riverfront. How could anyone pass up such a deal?
While John talked to the realtor, I walked the properties. I imagined the experience of our guests on A, B, and C lots combined.
Lunching near the river, we’d sit in the hot sun, unless we bought a shelter. We’d view a house on the other side of the river. We’d listen to occasional passing cars from the nearby road. To free shade trees, we’d bush-hog wild growth. Sweat almost trickled down my face. Our young grandsons would climb the trunks of the two trees that leaned over and shaded the river. One would fall in. My heart stopped.
Then I imagined our experience on lot F.
My three young grandsons would pretend the space in the copse of ten large shade trees was a fort. My granddaughter would nap beneath another tree. We’d eat in the shade, listening to water gurgle over rapids, and view lush trees across the river. We’d pitch tents near trees farther back and hear occasional cars high up the slope. The boys would drag sticks through the small creek. I almost smelled hamburger and hotdogs grilling over the existing fire pit.
Lot F filled the dream. We didn’t need to get greedy for more land.
Take your best imagined experience seriously.
Once we’ve pictured the best experience and made a choice, we must avoid discounting it.
Stop thinking you can change yourself or things to improve poor options.
Example. During a family vacation in Brazil at age thirteen, I tried on gorgeous loafers. The too-small shoes were the only pair. I imagined limping with painful blisters. But I convinced myself that with hose on I could bear the tightness at school. Others would admire my shoes.
I wore them once.
Example. At our last house, we chose to allow two water snakes to live in our pond. Then one made the mistake of chomping down on a goldfish while I snipped cattails nearby with pruning clippers. Snip. No more snake.
Then today at our new house, the mowers asked if I wanted them to kill a black snake. I pictured the field mice near our house. I imagined the snake as the most natural mousetrap. I saved his life.
A good choice for one circumstance may be poor for another.
What experiences have you imagined in making the best choice?
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