There’s a good reason top athletes, actors, business people, musicians, and other groups of successful people spend a good deal of their time visualizing what they want to happen. Plenty of evidence and experience indicates visualizing both specific events and general trajectories for your life and work can be extremely helpful in making those futures come true.
Visualizing not only helps you rehearse before you perform, it also develops confidence, belief in your capabilities, and motivation – all of which contribute significantly to real-world productivity and success.
Unlike ordinary daydreaming, which tends to be uncontrolled, and which may or may not prove helpful, visualizations can be structured and aimed toward delivering important results along the specific lines you select.
Here’s are some simple ways to add the power of visualization to your portfolio of useful skills:
Build A Real-Life Visual
It ‘s one thing to talk of visualizing. It’s another to create a tangible display that aids and directs your visualizations. We’re talking about a drawing, a collage, an object, even a “shrine” containing several elements aimed at a relevant theme or idea.
If you’re not satisfied with your ability to sketch – even though stick figures may work perfectly well – you can take photos, download visuals from the internet, copy or cut pictures and illustrations out of publications, or collect objects that evoke the thoughts you’re going for.
One strategy is to place this real-life display where you’ll often see it as you go about your business. Another is to dedicate a few minutes every day to look at the display while you think about what it represents, and how you will feel if you complete whatever activity, project, or goal the display represents.
Write To Yourself
Another effective visualization technique is to write yourself a note, a reminder, a slogan, or a letter. The words can be as simple as an affirmation, or as complex as a full-blown plan of action.
Whatever words you choose should spring from and reflect an intense, powerful mental picture that carries real meaning for you. This way, every time you read those words, the visualization will come back to you, stronger and stronger with every repetition.
As with the real-life display I mentioned earlier, it’s helpful to place these words where you will see them in the course of your daily activities, and to intentionally review them regularly.
Find a Trigger
You can derive extra power from a visualization if you find a trigger you can associate with it.
For example, if you sniff some lavender every time you visualize your future success, your brain will begin to link the scent with the scene. After a while, the smell of lavender alone will trigger the visualization, add power to it, and help you hold it in your mind’s eye for as long as you wish.
Effective visualization triggers can be almost anything, such as sounds, locations, foods, clothing, or activities.
By consciously establishing a trigger for your visualization, you make it easier to get the largest possible benefits from your mental picturing process.
Elaborate the Visualization
Most visualizations are fairly static scenes, such as you relaxing on your yacht or sitting in that corner office you’re aiming for.
But you can get more benefit from a visualization if you make it more elaborate, not only fleshing out the detail (What’s the name of your yacht? What’s the view from your corner office windows?) but including some relevant actions.
Athletes, for example, do this when they visualize themselves performing their entire event from start to finish. If your original visualization does not involve a specific performance, you can nevertheless make it more elaborate in other ways.
One way is to add action to your visual: take your yacht out of the harbor and sail to a nearby island, for example, or conduct a meeting in your corner office with specific people you’ve invited.
Another way is to add detail. In addition to a name, select the furnishings and equipment you’d like your yacht to have. Include the details of acquiring the yacht and maintaining it. Identify the building that holds your corner office, pick the floor and the corner you like the most. There’s no limit to the elaborations you can layer onto your original visualization.
By adding elaboration to your visualization, you not only make it more vivid, you cause it to occupy more of your time and attention, all of which helps add to its power to influence your real-life future.
Perhaps the most basic of all visualization techniques is to picture your situation after you have completed the activity, project, or goal you’ve got in mind. This doesn’t have to directly involve or include that yacht or corner office. You can visualize yourself celebrating a victory, receiving an award or other recognition, even spending time with a loved one. By bundling a reward into your visualization, you strengthen its power to motivate and improve your performance.
However and whatever you visualize, do it consistently and make sure your mental picture is 100% positive. This ensures that each of your visualizations will strengthen your abilities and help you make maximum use of your talents, skills, and knowledge.
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