People who work hard tend to be more likely to succeed. Those who are imaginative, on the other hand, tend to produce amazing results when they put forth their effort. As far as aestheticism goes (or in regards to the beauty of those who have this virtue), when people are imaginative they tend to have more interesting comments to make, have a more interesting and amusing sense of humor, and tend to be more compelled to live interesting lives. If this sounds like something you want to be, and who wouldn't want to be more interesting, then you might think getting this sounds easier said than done. Fortunately for all of us, however, human beings tend to have a creative streak in them than can be discovered and nurtured if one is determined to do so. The only problem is that society tends to place certain restrictions on our imaginations (sometimes for reasonably practical reasons), and if we have become too reserved or trained to ignore this more fantastical side of our minds then it might be hard to open ourselves once again to the possibilities our creative minds.

The best way to begin opening yourself up is by practice. Now, if being creative was already easily attainable within your personal environment, skill-sets, and circumstances, then you would probably already be getting a lot of practice, right? Actually, this is usually the case, and in many cases making changes to these three items will give you more opportunities to practice these mental muscles. Of course, if you are "stuck in a rut" or don't want to make changes, having the opportunities to do so alone wont promise practice or change, so you may also have to work on altering either your ideology or personality to become more open to imaginativeness.

If you need to work on your ideology, this can be the most difficult change to make since this is the motivational force that helps you decide if working on your imaginativeness is something praise-worthy to begin with! Ideologies can restrict one's imaginativeness by either restricting too firmly the resulting behavior of creative ideas or by overvaluing the preservation of one's own appearance to others (either by avoiding looking foolish or avoiding looking "low" class). If your ideology or personality restricts the possibilities of your imagination, then you should work on these issues first, or at least concurrently. Also, if you are extremely shy or feel a need to continuously play it safe then you may also be limiting your creative possibilities.

When you feel ready to work on your imaginativeness then the next step is to change your environment, skills, and/or circumstances in order to improve your chances in making progress in this area. As far as improving your environment, for instance, being continually around negative people and influences may restrict your ability to act on your creative impulses and discourage you from the outset. Being in an environment where you feel permitted and encouraged to be yourself will certainly help you explore the realm of your own possibilities. Certain skill-sets can help aid your success with imaginative activities or projects, whether this be certain social skills, organizational techniques to help follow through on more ambitious projects, or new skills involving hobbies that can improve your opportunities to express imaginativeness and practice this trait. And if certain circumstances are also standing in the way, improving upon them as possible may also help. If bad-budgeting or poor time-management, for instance, doesn't permit any personal time that is both free of stress and anxiety, you won't be able to be in the right frame of mind. Certain circumstances, like abusive relationships, signify significant larger problems that will have to be coped with before you will be free to maximize your potential in just about any area.

Once you work on the steps above, the last thing you would do is participate regularly in activities that encourage your creativity and take every opportunity to put your new ideas and to practical, social, and artistic use. Down below you will find some activities that may help you with the steps above and give you some ideas for the practice of your imaginativeness.


  • Write Down Your Behavior-Oriented Values on Paper: What are all the things you are allowed and not allowed to do for moral or ethical reasons? You might not be able to account for every realm and possibility, but you can work on getting down the larger ideas. Which kinds of behaviors are allowed? Why are they not allowed? Are there any exceptions? What types of ideas, qualities make your permitted behaviors permissible? Keep these in mind and critique them as you work on this virtue. Which ideas are too limiting on your behavior? Are some of your expectations unfair, or based on fear rather than good sense? Are any religious restrictions truly a part of your beliefs, or are they a matter of habit (I am not encouraging throwing religion out the window, by the way)? How do these ideas affect your daily life? You are not intended to make new goals based on this activity in most cases, but you might begin to see that you limit your range of possibilities more than you need to (or just feel assured that this isn't a problem while maintaining a greater understanding of what your own values are).
  • Take On New Imaginative Hobbies: Try to develop new activities that encourage you to exercise the mental muscles that involve imagination. You don't have to do something you hate or anything totally different than what you do now (although you should occasionally try different things at least on occasion). For instance, if you like watching football, getting involved in a fantasy-football league might be a more creative outlet of the sort of thing you already enjoy. Over time, try to find some outlets you can enjoy continuously.
  • Improve on Current Routines: Doing things the same way might be safe, but there is often a reward for improving on old ways of doing things. In your work and personal life, try to find ways to save time or improve the finished product of your effort. Taking the time to do this habitually will make you more imaginative in the practical sense over time and make you less nervous about thinking and putting new ideas to use.
  • Take Classes: Especially for hobbies that are totally new to you. If you are not much into art but want to try painting just for kicks, the structured setting of the classroom might help keep you on track and motivated, especially if there are others in class struggling like you.
  • Do Something Crazy: At least once a week. Talk to a stranger on a bus, go to a disco, sing in public—whatever it is, you need to begin feeling more comfortable going outside your comfort zone. If you are already a little more relaxed about this, try to do something "wild" more often, maybe even every day!
  • Improve your Life: If you are suffering from depression, get help. If you don't have enough personal time, make the changes needed to get yourself more of that time. Learn better budgeting skills and make new priorities so you can begin to feel a little better about spending money and time on creative outlets. Doing these things will put you in the right frame of mind and circumstances that are required for living a more imaginative life.

Your Record

This can be hard to judge on a day-to-day basis, so you will have to do your best in order to judge your practice of this virtue every day. If you suspect you missed an opportunity to use creative thought or planning, or know you didn't look for opportunities to put your new ideas to practice or suggest them to your boss, then mark yourself at "fault". When focusing on this virtue, make goals based on the activities up above or some of your own. If you fail to reach your goals or perform in the activities, then mark yourself at fault.


Sometimes questions are more important than answers.

Nancy Willard, American Writer and Poet

Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.

Albert Einstein, Renown German-Born American Physicist

Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will.

George Bernard Shaw, Irish Playwright, Essayist, and Critic of Literature

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.

Howard Thurman, American Theologian and Activist

Golden Mean

Uninventiveness, unoriginality

Recommended Reading

How to Get Ideas — by Jack Foster

The author posits his thoughts about where new ideas come from and provides techniques as to how to get more of them. The author believes that if you can reduce the anxiety you feel about trying new things, and you can, then you will naturally have more creative ideas.

Creativity Workout: 62 Exercises to Unlock Your Most Creative Ideas — by by Edward De Bono

This book has 62 different activities that will improve your creative ability.

Cracking Creativity: The Secrets of Creative Genius — by Michael Michalko

This book by a "business creativity expert" will both educate you on his expertise and give you techniques you can use to improve your own business creativity.

General Rules

Practice virtues daily so that they become ‘habits of the heart’.

Don‘t strive for perfection.

Never give up! Remember: even the greats have off days.

Rely on your intuition.

Avoid extremes. Strive to achieve the golden mean between excess and deficiency of a virtue.

Have fun and enjoy the program with humor and optimism.

It will be found, in fact, that the ingenious are always fanciful, and the truly imaginative never otherwise than analytic. Edgar Allan Poe