Live out of your imagination, not your history!

by Dandy

One of the most influential books I’ve ever read was, The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People. Stephen R. Covey completly changed the way I see myself and my life. One of his many memorable quotes is, “Live out of your imagination, not your history.” What is the driving force behind your life? Is it your history or your imagination?

Many of us think that we are limited by our history. We think that what we have already acheived in our past is the onlly thing that we can acheive in the future. What we have failed at in the past, we will never be able to acheive in the future. So our history controls our past and future. Because of this line of thinking, we believe that we will never be able to do more, or have more, or achieve more. The past has slammed shut the prison doors to our future. It is an extreamly limited veiw and we have all thought this way from time to time. Some stay stuck in it for life.

Change is on the way!

Successful people live their lives out of their imagination. They believe in their dreams and are confident of their goals. There are no limits. They allow their imagination to decide what they are capable of. They believe their potential cannot be measured and limited. The past doesn’t matter, because they can always change, improve, and grow. It is the beauty of their dreams that controls their present and guides them to a future full of opportunity.

When you allow your history to control your future, that is all there is and all you will ever have. It is full of discontent and dissatisfaction. But if you live out of your imagination and live your life out of your own design than it is full of potential and limitless opportunites.

See your ideal life. What does it feel like? Write down the design. How would you like to live your life in these important areas? Spiritual? Social? Physical? Personal? Write your personal life script.

Now live it out everyday. When you live out of your imagination, you will experience the feeling of living your ideal life. Believe that you already have the ideal live and those feelings will embrace you. Allow those feeling to embrace you. Feel the freedom that comes with living your ideal life. Experience how wonderful your life design is. Now you are living out of your imagination and not your history!

“I am not my memories, I am my dreams”. -Terry Hostetler


59 Responses to “Live out of your imagination, not your history!”

  1. Dandy, so very true! How many times have we limited ourselves because we let our past define us. I have been there far too many times in my life and I am horrified to think of how many years I wasted letting something that really shouldn’t matter so much hold me back.

    I have learned that imagination is everything. I can always tell when people are held back from their potential because of something in their past. You are right – success stories are made from imagination. They may have their beginnings in a tragic story, but they do not live there.

    Thanks for the post. And by the way, the book is a classic! Have you read Covey’s “The 8th Habit?” I haven’t but will soon.

    Oh, also, you should read Seth Godin’s “Linchpin!” You’ll be very glad you did.

    • Hi Bryan,
      I too have wasted years because I didn’t know I could have the life I desired. I was stuck in my history. Covey’s “The 8th Habit” is amazing and powerful. You’ll love it. I haven’t read Linchpin. I’ll give it a go! Thanks so much Bryan. I’m happy you liked my post!

  2. Dandy,

    The word you used above, “Allow” is so simple and powerful, but often overlooked by people looking for change. Often times we don’t “allow” ourselves to have our heart’s desires. But when we do, nothing is impossible.

    Thanks for a great post,


    • Hi Alex,
      Allow is a powerful word. Sometimes people feel unworthy of positive change and won’t allow it in. Sometimes people have their walls up won’t allow something better to enter their lives. Allowing is almost a surrender. It is a powerful YES. Thanks so much for your comment Alex!

  3. Hi Dandy – I’m a first time commenter here at thereflectiveself. I’d like to thank you for providing such a great resource to the world.

    I must say that I’m at times effected by my past. But I’m aware of it when it happens, and I completely rinse out any thoughts that surface with an honest assessment that I’m thinking or acting from my past, not my “better” me.

    Thanks for sharing this. I’ve read the book, but other things stood out to me as “major factors”…it’s great to get others perspectives – because it’s others perspectives that really drives our own perspective, in some way.
    I’m working on something new…I’m researching kids – and their natural simple brilliance. Once thing I’ve learned is that they certainly live through their imagination. I need to become more kid-like!
    Thank you Dandy, Peace!

    • Hi Jk,
      It’s great to hear from you. Thanks so much for checking out my blog. It’s great that you are aware of the times when you are affected by your past and can assess the behaviors that don’t benefit you. It’s great to have that ability! We all need to do an audit on ourselves from time to time to keep our emotions in check. Your research sounds facinating and I’d love to know more about it. We all need to be more kid-like! Thanks again Jk and I’m looking forward to exploring your blog! Take care!


    • Your first Time…You’ve been missing out JK…lol….

  4. I spent years stuck in my past. Not sure why–guess I was afraid and it was just more comfortable staying there than going somewhere new.

    Happily, I faced the fear and moved on–but not without help–I am blessed with now.

    • Hi Patricia,
      Your story sounds alot like my own. We get comfortable with where we are at and stay stuck there. But when we realize we can do so much better we start to become ok with the idea of change. Even positive change can be intimidating, but we don’t have to give in to it. It sounds like you’ve faced your fears and you’ve stepped out of your history and into a life that meets your imaginative standards! That’s wonderful Patricia. Thanks so much for your lovely comment. Take care!


  5. Dandy,
    I can really relate to the “history preventing the future” through limited thinking. I, too, did this pattern for years.

    Amazing how free I feel now that I allow myself to imagine the wonderful possibilities of living the life I really want for myself. It is fun to ask “WHAT IF?” but instead of a fear-based WHAT IF game I now play a POSSIBILITY WHAT IF game. I allow myself to think really crazy dreams….or are they really that crazy?

    I also am a fan of Steven Covey. I haven’t read his latest….will check that out.

    Always love your posts!

    • Hi Jen!
      Thanks for your compliment. It’s true that living out of our imagination can create inspiration and make us feel so free. We are free. Our minds are so much more powerful than we think. It’s always great hearing from you Jen! Take care!

  6. Hi Dandy,

    This is an excellent post indeed! Our past does not dictate our future. In fact it cannot because if we learn from our past experiences, we become better people today compared to who we were before. Since we are wiser and more capable today, how can we possibly be only capable of what we were used to?

    If we can imagine or envision it, we can achieve it. If we look at all the things we take for granted today like air travel or the telephone or the internet. There was a time when these things were inconceivable to the masses. Yet some people refused to allow the past to limit them. The result is the incredible technological advancements we have today. All because people were willing to live out of their imagination and not their history.

    Thank you for sharing this article! πŸ™‚

    Irving the Vizier

    • Hi Irving,
      You made a fabulous point. Indeed the technological advancements are from people who live out of their imagination. If others can do it why can’t we? Just imagine what things will be like 100 years from now. It’s hard to wrap our brains around that one. People do succeed at this way of thinking! We just need to believe that we deserve the life we want! Thanks Irving!

  7. Your blog is wonderful. Thank you for your insights, Dandy.

  8. This is so true! I think I’m the only one on the planet that has never read Steven Covey’s book. Shhh! Don’t tell anyone;)

  9. Hey Dandy,

    Thanks for the awesome post!

    I am new to your blog and I like the scenery ( ;
    Great job on this article I totally agree with you, people think I’m crazy when I tell them my dreams. People are always like is that even possible, mainly because I dream huge. I mean why not dream big?

    I believe you have to dream big to achieve big achievements. You are right about the most successful people are the ones who believed in themselves when nobody else did.

    Thanks again!

    God bless,
    William Veasley

    • Hi William,
      I’m so pleased you liked my post. I think it’s important to dream big. It has a purpose. Our potential is limitless. Afterall, the internet didn’t invent itself πŸ™‚ neither did the printing press, or automobiles. Someone was behind those dreams! But most importantly our happiness can come out of our imaginations! We can manifest what we want and need. Thanks so much William for your comment. I would like to hear from you again! Take care!

      • Hey Dandy,

        Thanks for the response!

        Our potential is limitless. Whenever you truly put your mind to something there is nothing that will be able to stop you. No one knows how fast it will take you to reach your dreams, but if you don’t visualize them you can’t obtain them.

        Would you not agree?

        I think it’s important to stay focused on your future. Take steps everyday in the right direction and you will eventually reach your destination.

        Just my 2 cents.

        Thanks again!

        God bless,
        William Veasley

  10. Hm, in response to Tess’ comment, I also haven’t read 7 Habits. *SHAME*

    But I promise I will after going through this post! Great reading Dandy, I really like the honesty that you portray in your work.

    And yes, the past dictates the learning of our lives, not the re-living. We must look to the past for advice on the way forward, not the way forward itself. The imagination is where we must look for our actual paths, because that’s where our future lies in wait for us.

    Thanks Dandy πŸ™‚

  11. Dandy,

    This post is better than amazing and the truth it contains is beyond important…it is crucial! I base my life, now, on this very concept. My god, I think I would sink into a deep depression if my past was the fuel I had to live on.

    As you have pointed out so well, our past is just that..past! Each new day brings with it a brand new opportunity and we can dream the wildest dreams, and go make them real. Everything begins with a thought anyway. Thoughts are things, and are how we create, not only material things, but our lives. The life I am living, the life you are living, is the result of our thinking!

    Okay, I’m gonna stop before I ramble a thousand word comment. =)

    Great post Dandy. I truly hope this concept becomes an even larger part of who I am, and I wish the same for all who read it.

    Thank you.

    • Hi Keith!
      Thanks so much for you positivity. It is an exciting concept to live out of our imaginations. The life we design can happen. We can choose to live our history or not. We can choose our creations! It’s always great to hear from you Keith! Take care!

  12. Dandy, a beautiful post!

    I love daydreaming and using my imagination – it is such a release! And the great thing is we can ‘put some wheels’ on our dreams and become ‘do-ers’.

    Dream, dream, dream and do – it is a beautiful thing.

    There is also a lot of beauty in our history – it is what has made us who we are today. It gives us a platform to jump towards our dreams and shouldn’t bind us.

    Thank yoy Dandy.

    • Hi Juanita,
      Thanks for the compliment. You made my day. I like how you describe our histories. You are so right. They made us who we are. We all have the capabilites of living out our dreams. We just need to step into our true selves! Thanks again Juanita. It’s great hearing from you!

  13. Dandy,

    I really love your use of the word “imagination.” So many personal development blogs focus on goal setting, but that is quite different than “imagination.” It seems to me that the two words access the two different halves of the brain. “Imagination” implies receptivity, not just action alone. The photo that you’ve used here also speaks to me. I’m just beginning to allow myself to access these other sides of my being. I appreciate the support I find here.

    • Hi Sandra,
      Being receptive to change is very important. We also need to develop our creative sides more. Some of us don’t wish to follow rules 1 through 10 to get to our destinations. Having a goal is a wonderful thing, but we need to make sure we enjoy the journey. Living out ouf our imaginations enables us to really go beyond goal setting and live as if we all ready have it. Thanks so much for your great comments Sandra. I look forward to hearing from you! Take care!

  14. It is a sad fact that it is our nature to put much premium on our past. Perhaps we have genetically evolved to be this way in order to preserve ourselves. However, it has done us much bad than good. The good news thought is that we are the only creation that can defy our nature.

    Let us chose to liberate ourselves from the past and see what is before us. πŸ™‚

    • Hi Walter,
      Beautifully said! I love the idea of liberating myself out of my past! Thanks for that. I appreciate you checking out my blog and hope to hear from you again!


  15. I LOVE THIS: “The past doesn’t matter, because they can always change, improve, and grow. It is the beauty of their dreams that controls their present and guides them to a future full of opportunity.”

    It’s so true, and something I have slowly been learning…great post!

    • Hi Ashlee,
      I’m so happy you could relate to this post! It really is incredable what we can manifest for ourselves by using the power of our imagination. We can design the life we want and then live it! Thanks for checking out my blog Ashlee. I really enjoy yours. Take care!

  16. Dandy, that is definitely a quote I will be remembering and kind of ties in with my thinking of living in the now. It’s been a battle to keep the imagination flowing but it’s something that regardless of failures or mishaps, I will continue to do!

    • Hi Amit!
      Thanks so much for your comment. It is a struggle to keep the imagination going. But our visions that come from it, make it worth having as a habit. After awhile it becomes ingrained. Thanks for checking out my blog Amit, I’d love to hear from you again! Take care!

  17. I’ve seen one big quality with successful people – just know know what they want and they make lots of mistakes before they reach there. They imagine, get inspired and again make mistakes. They do it unless they get so good, they teach everyone how not to make mistakes. They imagine the possibilities and share the vision.

    • Hi Jay,
      You said it perfect! Successful people have great visions and aren’t afraid to design their own lives. Thanks for visiting my blog. I’d love to hear from you again! Take care!

  18. I love it. As long as we continually work on our dream. We create from our imagination and live our past in the back burner of our sadistic and self deprecating thoughts. LOVE THE POST!

  19. Hi Dandy,

    Wow, what a nice post my friend. I’ve heard a lot about this book, but never read it. I will get it πŸ˜‰ I like this concept living out of your imagination. Once we design the life we want to live and believe that we will get it, then we will get it. This is why it is crucial to focus on what we really want to accomplish instead of what we don’t want. At first, it might be hard, but with constant practice, it will become a habit. Thanks for sharing Dandy πŸ™‚

    • Hi Dia,
      You made a great point about focusing on the positive instead of what we don’t want. For years I was negative, fearful, and anxiety ridden. I focused so much on that and it became my life. I literally manifested a sad and dreary life for myself, because that’s where my energy was. We are absolutely capable of manifesting. It’s easier than we think. Actually it is effortless. For me being positive requires effort, but it has changed my life tremendously! I’ve manifested positivity, success, calmness, and peace. These elements are in my life now! Living out of our imagination works! Thanks so much for your great comment Dia!

  20. hello dandy
    how are you?
    i absolutely loved stephen coveys book and it left a lasting impact on my life.
    anyway it’s important to live your imagination because in my case it certainly prepared me for the experience once it occurred in the future.
    i also subscribe to the school of thought of writing down your thoughts, imaginations….. because you can always refer to them, evaluate where you are and take stock of all thats been achieved.lest i forget motivation also plays an important role in having constructive imaginations and taking the pains to write your dreams..
    take care and enjoy the rest of the day.

    • Hi Ayo,
      You are so sweet for taking the time to read my blog and comment! You must be one of the busiest bloggers out there! I’m honored. Yes, writing down our dreams on paper will only help manifest them, because we put energy into it. Using it for reference also helps us when things go awry. It will help to regain our focus! It’s all about what we put our energy into! Thanks so much Ayo. You are wonderful! Take care!

  21. Ditto Dot…I havn’t read the book either.

    I really like the Disney overtone here…and you can throw in the song from Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory!

    This is truely a refreshing approach and there is so much love of ‘life’ to it.

    “See your ideal life. What does it feel like? Write down the design. How would you like to live your life in these important areas? Spiritual? Social? Physical? Personal? Write your personal life script.”

    Very good! There is a plan that can be scripted.

    I do like some of the things from the past…like my 1980 Toyota truck I bought new…still have her.

    It is good to keep some things that have served you well. On my run today at the start I said hello to the man that beat me out for second place in a 50 mile race (two years in a row back in the 1980’s also). I believe the ‘positive’ things are worth holding on to. Even some of the negative things from the past can at least be a guide for were you do not want to go.

    I have actively been working on new things, but I’m going to use your idea of a “script” and will go out and buy the book!

    Thanks a lot Dandy!

    A work in progress…Rand

    • Hi Rand,
      I’m glad I inspired you to read Covey’s book and to write your own life design. I like the idea of putting it down on paper, because it solidifies it so to speak. I’m thrilled you mentioned Disney, because the great Walt Disney is a perfect example of living out of your imagination. My goodness, look at what he created!! He was a true visionary! Jonathan Figaro writes about him here! Thanks Rand for checking out my post and commenting. Take care!


  22. Dandy,

    This is a great post! I have not read the 7 habits book but I did read his book the 7 habits of highly effective families. It was a great book that I really enjoyed.

    I love the idea of letting our imagination lead rather than our history. Life can really beat us down and if we are living by our past then we allow it to have the power of beating us down over and over again. I love that we can hope and dream of better days regardless of what our past holds. Our future is not our past, it is a brand new beginning!


    • Hi Stacy,
      I’m glad you liked this post! When we live our past over and over it depleats us emotionally. It uses up energy we could be using for living our best lives. It is possible to live the life we dream of by freeing ourselves from the past. You are right the future is a brand new beginning! Thanks for commenting Stacy!


  23. “We are disturbed not by what happens to us, but by our thoughts about what happens.”
    This thought changed my life, it helped me to close so many open chapters in my past, and look forward instead of indulging myself in the past.

    • Hi Monica,
      Yes, I truley believe perception is everything. We have the power to change our perceptions in a manner that is fitting to us. Reconcilling with the past will allow us to move on and start to live the life we deserve. Thanks Monica! I’d love to hear from you again!


  24. Dandy: so very true. Great post and great message. I love the way you put it about living out of our imagination. I think once we realize that we really can accomplish what we imagine, we will make more and more use of our imagination. Great advice and great post.

  25. Hello Dandy,

    I like what you said about being inspired by our dreams rather than be weighed down by our past. For many of us, our minds are often too occupied with what has been or should be. We become too cluttered and cannot allow our imagination to experience beauty, love and inspiration.

    Thanks for sharing,

    • Thank you Evelyn. We often carry the weight of our past and it leaves us too exhausted to have new experiences. It is crucial to let go of our painful pasts. Therepy with an outstanding therepist has done me a world of good. I didn’t even realize how I had been clinging to old habits that donot inspire growth. I hope for everyone to live in the present and feel love. Thanks Evelyn. I would love to hear from you again!


  26. Hi Dandy! Yes, we’re not our history.Actually, our history often limits us because places us in a box of who we use to be. For growth to happen it’s easier to see ourselves and others for who we are now and not for who we once were.
    Thanks for the beautiful reminder. Loving blessings!

  27. Thank you Dandy, for the much-needed reminder that we are all the authors of our own life stories, that we do indeed have the ability to “Write (y)our personal life script.” Even as a writer, I forget this at times, falling into a familiar routine (or rut) in which choice and desire becomes overpowered by a sense of powerlessness. In this place, I am still writing my own life script, but it’s not the story I want to be telling or living. Waking up to this, I make a conscious shift, and begin again to live out of my imagination. Looking at the word “history” I just saw “his story.” My past is just that, my story, which I too make up. The important question to ask is “what story do I want to tell?”

    • Hi Patrick,
      Thanks for the great comment! It is indeed a wonderful question to ask ourselves. We interpret and perceive our experiences. We can tell ourselves a story that will have us motivated in the ways we need. Our perceptions are as postive as we make them. Our choices are limitless. Thanks for checking out my blog Patrick. It would be great to hear from you again as I enjoyed your intellegent comment! Take care!


  28. Very well done Dandy, however, I do believe the past is part of the reason why we cannot move forward, but what of the past do we use to continue moving. Do we simply through it out, restart fresh, let our instincts continue to enlighten us, or do we conceptualize the past in our future endeavors as to not let it historically repeat itself.

    I’m not much a proud believer of the future as I am a proud believer of right now.

    Great post Dandy.


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