Fantasy v Imagination

The first time I went through the book the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership as a part of the John Maxwell team, it was led by one of the six members of the teaching team, Scott Fay. Scott has a great story of business and life success. He is a landscaper by trade but was always a personal development aficionado at heart. As he kept growing as a person, so did his company. Several companies and several million dollars later, he found himself in the personal development business as a member of the teaching team.

We went through the book one chapter each week and got on a conference call with people from around the globe as Scott facilitated the teaching. He would start talking about one of the 21 Laws and nearly every week he would say,

“This is one of my favorite laws because…”

I know how he feels. Sometimes you read material that is life-building and it goes to your head only. You give intellectual ascent to it in that moment but it doesn’t feel earth-shattering. Then you can read that same material at another place and time and it grabs ahold of you and won’t let go until you yield to its power in your life. Scripture reading is the best example of this for me. There are some verses I may have read a hundred times without anything registering on the seismograph. Then one day I read that verse and the Richter Magnitude Scale spikes.

I will admit to you that there are some lessons of the Life Leaders GPS may be that same way. I have put each lesson in the course because I know first-hand how it fits within the process of transformation. But there is one in particular that grips me – Silencing the Gremlin.


In this lesson, I am labeling the negative self-talk to which we are all prone, as Gremlins. Gremlins are creatures of sabotage. Most Gremlins are internal but some are external. The saliency of this particular lesson is that it immediately slides the tectonic plates of hyper-criticism and self-sabotaging nonsense that we have allowed to be the basis of desperation and disappointment, that we somehow believe we deserve and it makes way for dreams and a mindset of abundance. (You might want to read that sentence again.)

Picture a blank white sheet of paper in your mind. Now start at the lower left corner and trace a line from there to the upper right corner making an uphill slope on your paper. Now picture yourself as a hiker on the page. You are either going uphill or downhill. You didn’t start at the top. You started at the bottom. The bottom is familiar and it may feel safe but the worthwhile things and the better view are uphill.

Abraham Maslow said,

“One can either step forward (uphill) into growth or backward (downhill) into safety.”

Gremlins exist to protect the comfort zone and maintain the status quo. They are imaginary barking dogs whose mouths need to be shut. If we allow it, these imaginary creatures will run our lives straight back downhill. Like Carl Jung said,

“Until we make the subconscious conscious, it will rule our lives and we will call it fate.”

Unless we put criticism (especially self-criticism) in its proper place, we are only fantasizing a better life and not imagining it. Read carefully through these definitions and see the important differences below and give it some thought.


Rick Burris

the faculty or activity of imagining things, especially things that are impossible or improbable.

the faculty or action of forming new ideas, or images or concepts of external objects not present to the senses.
synonyms: creative power, fancy, vision; informal mind’s eye
interest, fascination, attention, passion, curiosity
the ability of the mind to be creative or resourceful.
synonyms: creativity, imaginativeness, creativeness;
vision, inspiration, inventiveness, invention, resourcefulness, ingenuity;
originality, innovation, innovativeness
the part of the mind that imagines things.


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