We’re in good company

Name any field, occupation, skill or hobby, and I’d bet you’ll find aphantasics succeeding in surprising ways.

Art and illustration? You must visualise to be creative and artistic, right? Tell that to Glen Keane, Oscar winning artist behind ‘The Little Mermaid’ and ‘Beauty and the Beast’. Watch him turn an “explosion of scribbles” into the lovable characters we know and love.

Literature? No way you can write vivid, compelling stories that capture the imagination of millions without first creating that universe in the mind’s eye. Except aphantasic author John Green’s books have more than 50 million copies in print worldwide, including The Fault in Our Stars, which is one of the best-selling books of all time.

Science? Surly you need to visualise complex structures, formulas and concepts in order to imagine breakthrough innovations… Yet, geneticist J. Craig Venter, regarded as one of the leading scientists of the 21st century known for the first draft sequences of the human genome says “I have found as a scientific leader that aphantasia helps greatly to assimilate complex information into new ideas and approaches. By understanding concepts vs fact memorization I could lead complex, multidisciplinary teams without needing to know their level of detail.”

The list goes on and on. From technology startups to Fortune 500 boardrooms; University classrooms to world-class research labs; global art studios to the Olympic running track, the situation is the same – aphantasics excel in surprising ways. 

Many claim their success in these fields is not in-spite of their image-free mind, but rather, because of it. It gives them an edge to think differently.

Just imagine if you will, the sheer number of figures that have left their mark on the world, now and throughout our human story, that lived a life free of visualization, and didn’t even know it…

How does visualization impact your careers and hobbies?