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Everything about Imagination: The workshop of the mind from Napoleon Hill, 1938

Book Cover
Book Cover

If you imagine less, less will be what you deserve-Debbie Millman eloquently proclaimed. For entrepreneurs and creative workers imagination is the resort that gives ways out in all sorts of crisis and challenges. The contribution of imagination has marked all sphere of our life adequately. From the spectacular monuments to moments, parks to pavements; from the airplane to spaceship is result of the mad imagination of someone. For Walt Disney imagination is the starting point of making anything brilliant. He asserted famously our imagination defines how far we will go.

In “Think and Grow Rich” Napoleon Hill explains the magnitude of imagination in a more eloquent way that can be a meditation for developing our imaginative capability. Imagination is the back stage where we design all our ideas and strategy in order to make things happen. Napoleon asserted that human being is capable to achieve whatever he can imagine:

The imagination is literally the workshop wherein are fashioned all plans created by man. The impulse, the desire, is given shape, form, and action through the aid of imaginative faculty of the mind.

It has been said that man can create anything which he can imagine.


To prove his assertion regarding the power of human imagination, he pointed to the innumerable historic achievements that have shaped our life & history as a human being:

Through the aid of his imaginative faculty, man has discovered, and harnessed, more of Nature’s forces during the past fifty years than during the entire history of the human race, previous to that time. He has conquered the air so completely, that the birds are a poor match for him in flying. He has harnessed the ether, and made it serve as a means of instantaneous communication with any part of the world.


Echoing Debbie Millman- we restrict our capacity by limiting our imagination- and Lara Jade- most people put themselves away from success by thinking themselves unworthy of success- Napoleon says:

Man’s only limitation, within reason, lies in his development and use of his imagination. He has not yet reached the apex of development in the use of his imaginative faculty. He has merely discovered that he has an imagination, and has commenced to use it in a very elementary way.

Then he comes to our aid to help us to better understand imagination and different forms of it. From his explanation we come to know why creativity is combinatorial, how our brain works to connect things together to transform them into new items and how we can make use of this synthetic imagination and be more creative:

The imaginative faculty functions in two forms. One is known as synthetic imagination and the other as “creative imagination”.

Synthetic Imagination: through this faculty, one may arrange old concepts, ideas, or plans into new combinations. This faculty creates nothing. It merely works with the material of experience, education, and observation with which it is fed. It is the faculty used most by the inventor, with the exception of the genius who draws upon the creative imagination, when he cannot solve his problem through synthetic imagination.

Creative Imagination: through the faculty of creative imagination, the finite mind of man has direct communication with infinite intelligence. It is the faculty through which “hunches” and “inspirations” are received. It is by this faculty that all basic or new ideas are handed over to man.


Imagination does not come by itself; it takes continuous practice and regular use to activate power of imagination. The people who have showed extensive power of imagination put adequate perspiration in development of their imaginative power. Napoleon proclaims that due to under-use our power of imagination becomes weak and we need to use it regularly in order to avail full advantage of this magical power.

The great leaders of business, industry, finance, and the great artists, musicians, poets, and writers became great, because they developed the faculty of creative imagination.

Both the synthetic and creative faculties of imagination become more alert with use, just as any muscle or organ of the body develops through use.


Your imaginative faculty may have become weak through inaction. It can be revived and made alert through use. This faculty does not die, though it may become quiescent through lack of use.

Then he recites more practical way to ignite and enact ones imaginative power that one can use as a technique to achieve higher imaginative power:

Center your attention, for the time being, on the development of the synthetic imagination, because this is faculty which you will use more often in the process of converting desire into money.


Under a bullet point named “How to make practical use of imagination” Napoleon famously asserts where great ideas come from and give us a way out to get ideas:

Ideas are the beginning points of all fortunes. Ideas are products of the imagination.

Mohammad Ruhul Kader is a Dhaka-based entrepreneur and writer. He founded Future Startup, a digital publication covering the startup and technology scene in Dhaka with an ambition to transform Bangladesh through entrepreneurship and innovation. He writes about internet business, strategy, technology, and society. He is the author of Rethinking Failure. His writings have been published in almost all major national dailies in Bangladesh including DT, FE, etc. Prior to FS, he worked for a local conglomerate where he helped start a social enterprise. Ruhul is a 2022 winner of Emergent Ventures, a fellowship and grant program from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. He can be reached at ruhul@futurestartup.com

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