“To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.” -Thomas Edison

People who don’t use their inventive abilities spend their lives tripping over various forms of junk that are aspects of their lives. Maybe the junk is a job whose moving parts have begun to rust. It might be a relationship that’s coming to a creaking halt. It could be the feeling that each day is going to be like the one that preceded it.

To be inventive means looking at that pile of junk and imagining a different way to arrange its parts. Maybe some parts have to be thrown away, and others need to be polished or filed.

For example, your primary relationship might not be running well. Imagine its elements: you, the other person, the various ways in which you communicate and work together (or against each other). Maybe the junk is resentments or anger held over from the past that are gumming up the moving parts. Maybe you’ve given up on the hope that anything can change. You might think you need a new relationship, but maybe you need a new vision.

What would happen to the pile of junk in your life if you looked at it as a potential masterpiece? You might not invent a light bulb, but you could light up your world.