Images and mental picture...tend to produce the physical conditions
and external acts that correspond to them.
The practice of visualization has been around since creation. God imagined or thought of heavens and earth and went about making that which was once invisible, visible in six days. As spiritual beings having a human experience we are made in the image of God.
We are endowed with the creative ability to imagine and manifest that which was once invisible as our reality. For us to do this, we must tap into the power of our imagination through the practice of visualization.
What is Visualization?
In his book, Quantum Leap Thinking, James Mapes writes, “Visualization is the emotionally charged mental movie of what you want to happen, imagining events as if they have already happened.” Numerous studies have confirmed that images created in the mind fires the same neural connections in the automatic nervous system as does the act. In other words thinking and doing, relative to our automatic nervous system are the same. It is an established scientific fact that our subconscious mind cannot tell the difference between a real or imagined experience. Tapping into the power within your imagination through the practice of visualization increases your capacity to actualize the compelling vision that you have established for your life. I discuss the benefits of having a compelling vision for your life in this article: Personal Leadership Success Always Begins with Vision.
Why We Should Focus More on What We Do Want
Mapes concluded, “Focusing on what you don't want is just as powerful a focusing on what you do want. Both create results. He asserts, “Thinking in terms of “don't” programs the mind to achieve a negative result. Unaware, we rehearse defeat by focusing on what we don't want instead of what we do want.”
It has been reported that when Michelangelo was asked how he created his classic sculpture of David, he said he took a large piece of marble, imagined the sculpture in vivid detail, and then chipped away everything that wasn't David. This is how the practice of visualization supports your creative ability to make the invisible visible in your life. The reality that you desire to experience must appear in your imagination before it becomes visible. Your imagination enables you to create in your mind beyond your reality. Change in any aspect of your life follows your imagination.
The practice of visualization has long been used by athletes ad peak performers in all industries to improve their level of success. They are no better or smarter than you. You deserve to experience the level of success that you're willing to make happen in your life. You can do this by using all of your resources, including your imagination.
In his book, Mapes identifies the following steps to developing the
practice of visualization and becomin quantum leap thinker.
practice of visualization and becomin quantum leap thinker.
- Be clear about what you want. Create a list of experiences that you desire to achieve in relation to the compelling vision you have for your life. From this list, prioritize the experiences by determining the order in which you need to achieve each experience to reach your desired end.
- Align your goals with your values. Review your top three experiences, are they aligned with present priorities and personal values? When what you desire to experience is in conflict with you core values, you are more apt to sabotage your efforts towards making them a reality. It's important that your top three desired experiences (goals) are aligned with your values to sustain the focus, passion and perseverance necessary to achieve them.
- Put yourself in a receptive state. Mapes writes, “Think of your conscious mind as a camera and your subconscious mind as the film. Relaxing the conscious mind is like pushing the shutter button. Images become imprinted on the film.” A proven relaxation technique includes recalling a place where you feel at peace. Shut your eyes and use your imagination to take notice of the colors, smells, sounds, temperature, textures and emotions that you experience in this place. This practice of calming your mental chatter and opening our subconscious to the influence of your imagination helps to put you in a relaxed state of mind.
- Make your visualization real. In this step, you want to utilize all of your senses to make real in your imagination the number one experience you've identified on your list. Utilizing the power of your imagination and your senses, see it, hear it, taste it, smell it and feel it in the greatest detail possible. Mapes acknowledges, “Some people are attuned to the auditory (hearing), kin esthetic (feeling), or olfactory (smelling) than the visual. Whatever works for you is exactly the right method. The more detailed you are able to make it in your imagination, the more real it is to your subconscious. Your ability to create vivid details of the experiences that you desire to have in life increases the level of faith and confidence you demonstrate towards making the invisible visible in your life.
- Energize your visualization. Mapes suggests that you “give as much high-powered emotion to your visualization.” You can do this by recalling a previous time in which you were successful towards the attainment of a goal. Recall the level of passion, curiosity, excitement and confidence you displayed towards it. Use this heightened state of awareness and emotion to help imprint your subconscious with “high-powered emotion” toward your present goals.
- Visualize Often. The more you practice visualization, the better you will get at it. Mapes asserts, “The clearer, more detailed and consistent your visualization, the more likely you are to attract and notice opportunities to make your dreams come true.” I've found creating a vision board is a helpful tool in reminding one to practice visualization often.
- Visualize before you go to bed. Your subconscious is awake and functioning while you are asleep. By feeding it positive visualization of the tasks you need to complete on a daily basis and those relevant to your priority goals, you give it five to eight hours to work on your behalf.
- Support your visualization with affirmation. Mapes suggests “writing your affirmations on paper and carrying them with you so that you can glance at them whenever you choose.” Place words that affirm who you are, who you are becoming, what you are capable of achieving and what you are worthy of experiencing in life on your vision board. Each day that you review your vision board, read these words out loud to yourself to help program your subconscious and transform any limiting beliefs and assumptions you might have about yourself.
- Trust the process and be patient. Just like baking bread, you have to allow time for the practice of visualization to cook up in your mind's eye to become your desired reality. Success in any endeavor involves a process. You have to be willing to endure the process to reach your desired end. Declare daily positive affirmations about yourself and your success, such as, “I am becoming what I want to be.” “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” “It will be.”
- Be grateful. At the beginning of each day, practice acknowledging at least three things that you are grateful for in your life. At the end of each day, practice acknowledging three things that went well for you. Make time to demonstrate your appreciation for others. Seize opportunities to contribute value in the lives of others.
You have been endowed with the creative ability to make visible that which was once invisible. This ability empowers you with the capacity to create new possibilities in your life. The ten actions in this article provide you with a road map of actions you can initiate to support your efforts in realizing the experiences (goals) that you've identified as most important to you. Focusing more on what you want increases the chance that you will attract the opportunities that will help you experience it.
I'd like to know your thoughts. What has been your experience with visualization? Share your comments below.
Be Better Than Your Best!
PS. Even those people who are the most creative, productive and successful gets stuck ... it sucks! My new book, Get Unstuck Now shares vivid details, examples, research and practical advice on one of the toughest challenges that most of us confront; how to transform limiting beliefs and negative self talk that hinders us from becoming all that we can be. Better is not only possible...it's doable by YOU! Be better. Do better. Live Better. Invest in yourself and your future by breaking the invisible chains that's holding you back.Click on this link for more details and to purchase the book, Get Unstuck Now.