Those who have achieved greatness in any field tend to display an interesting duality. On the one hand, creative geniuses show a great propensity toward daydreaming, imagination, and curiosity. They are constantly seeking new understandings, imagining alternate realities, and pushing the envelope beyond what is typically thought of as possible. It can sometimes come across to others as though they have their ‘heads in the clouds’. On the other hand, these protean shape-shifters also display great fortitude—able to adapt to the struggles of having their ideas recognized, and capable of persevering toward their goals with intense zest and passion. In other words, creative luminaries combine dreaming with doing. We refer to this combination as the gritty imagination.
The proposed symposium will delve deeply into this fascinating — yet seemingly incompatible — juxtaposition of grit and imagination found in people who have achieved greatness in many fields of endeavor. It will bring together 10 presenters who can offer differing perspectives, from psychology, from neuroscience, from education, on the combination of dreaming with doing that leads to the passionate perseverance toward goals that results in transformative achievement. The intention is to honor John M. Templeton, Jr. and his ideas on the power for good of genius, hard work, and imagination, to advance the work of the Imagination Institute, to catalyze new research hypotheses that inspire participants to propose their own ideas for funding, to generate ideas for practices that teachers can implement in the classroom to foster both curiosity and fortitude in children, and to increase public awareness of the importance of gritty imagination.