Posts Tagged ‘imagination’
How do you choose your heroes and icons? Who was your role model? Mine was R2D2.
In 1977, I was 5 years old when my parents took me to my first movie but, it wasn’t just a movie, it was a drive-in movie. The movie? Star Wars. Needless to say, it flipped me right out.
Unlike most of my pals, who were drawn to Luke or Chewbacca or Han or whatever, I was obsessively drawn to R2-D2. I wasn’t just into R2, I wanted to BE R2. Something about his character, his utility, his outright usefulness in so many contexts and situations captivated and appealed to me. So, my room had models of R2 on the shelves, my bedside table had an R2 alarm clock, my windows? Adorned with R2 curtains. PJs? R2, baby. Underoos? SEVERAL pairs of R2. My watch was an homage to R2, and my birthday cakes were more than once shaped in his honor out of crystalline sugar, eggs, and flour.
The obsession continued throughout my young life. I might even say it never actually ended. I saw, and continue to see, his influence everywhere, and not only in my life. I see it in the functionality of tools, vehicles, and other simple machines, devices, industrial design, consumer gadgets, and adaptive systems theories.
Here’s the thing: R2′s sheer dedication, enthusiasm, passion, ability, willingness, resiliency, and selflessness to adapt so readily, without fear or delay, to so many challenges on behalf of the goals of his pals inspired me as my family moved around. As a kid who was constantly having to adapt to new environments, new geographic layouts, people, styles, vocabularies, dialects, postures, the whole thing, well, that wasn’t easy. So, I often imagined what R2 would do, moving through situations as if I were him. Just the idea of him, imagining myself as an embodiment of him (a machine!) gave me confidence when I needed it and, I admit, continues to influence me to this day. Silly? Okay. So what?
Imagination is what makes children powerful. It makes any of us powerful. Especially children, though, since they are still so in touch with their imaginations. As children we imagine ourselves as someone else, someone more capable of accomplishing what we feel we cannot. It is through these personas many of us are able to make our first, significant achievements. Whether faced with the adversity of a spelling bee, school play, or the playground rights of passage, we resort to the power of our imagination to envision ourselves accomplishing something seemingly beyond our reach.
When I think of the pair of them: C3PO and R2D2, one represents doubt while the other represents overcoming it. In this dualistic reality of ours, success pivots on something simple: the will to believe. Believe you can? You will. Believe you can’t? You won’t. Either way, you are right.