If you’re going to maximize your impact, you’re going have to imagine it first. If you have trouble imagining any goal your goal is doomed before you even start. Assuming you can imagine it and you do get started, the size of your impact will also be determined by your imagination. Do you have the courage to imagine what you really want? Everything in this book is nothing more than intellectual entertainment if you don’t imagine a future where you immerse yourself in extreme passion and purpose. The word “maximum” in maximum positive impact is there for a reason. If you don’t want to aim high in real life then start with your imagination. There’s nobody watching and everything is possible.
Einstein said: “Imagination is more important than knowledge…”. Some people read that quote and feel enlightened. Others read it and feel surprised that he would say such a thing. I see it and say, duh!
There has been a lot of discussion about how the world has changed as we transition from the industrial age to the knowledge age. As we have mentioned several times in this book, this pace of change is accelerating, and therefore transitions like the transition from the industrial age to the knowledge age will occur more frequently and at a faster rate. When combined with the fact that we are living longer, we can conclude that many of us will encounter several such dramatic changes “within” our own lifetimes. Therefore, most of us (those of us that are not too old) need to recognize that the knowledge age just happens to be the era that we are in right now and there will be more to follow within our own lifetimes. We don’t just need to adapt to and understand the information age, we need to adapt to and understand change itself. We have to learn how to handle change.
In my opinion, the knowledge age will end in approximately 2025-35 and make way for a much more interesting age – the “imagination age”. When the imagination age begins, mere possession of knowledge will be mostly irrelevant (although, it will still be the case that the more knowledge you have the better because your imagination needs it. This will be explained in more detail later). Knowledge is available in “human extension mechanisms” like Google and iimagine.org (if it relates to maximizing your impact). Whatever information or knowledge you neeRejectd it, you can get.
Your ability to use information is infinitely more valuable than simply possessing the ability to possess it or process it. Your ability to use information in the best way possible is heavily influenced by your imagination, therefore, I am essentially proposing that imagination is the highest form of intelligence.
In 2008 there was a famous article in The Atlantic titled “Is Google making us stupid?”. Anybody that thinks that the answer is yes is stupid. Memory-based intelligence is becoming less important by the day. Computational or processing intelligence is also becoming less important by the day. Both of these forms of intelligence have been or are in the process of being replaced by technology. Creativity and innovation are the only valuable skills that humans still have to offer. In the industrial age people that had exceptional memories were useful and considered to be successful members of society and were highly regarded and respected while at the same time, creative people were mostly considered to be nothing more than a novelty. The further we move into the future the more this comparison is reversed and continues in the reverse direction.
This may be difficult for some people to comprehend. They might ask, how do we measure imagination intelligence? This is like asking how do we measure love. However, this question attempts to apply industrial age thinking to a concept that exists on a higher level. It is not possible to understand a higher form of intelligence by applying the framework of a lower form of intelligence. To be more specific, it is not physically possible to comprehend imaginative intelligence in terms of memory intelligence or computational intelligence alone.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that Einstein’s quote is just an “off the cuff” expression from a nice old man. It’s not just an expression. It’s true.
Next article in this series: “What Is Imagination?”