Of all the “New Age” techniques for manifesting our dreams, creative visualization is perhaps the best known – and unfortunately it is also the most misunderstood.
The West began to embrace “visualization” as a powerful technique when Russian athletes used it to train for the Olympic Games in the 80s.
Athletes that spent 25% of their time on physical training and 75% of their time mentally training performed better than those who spent all of their time exclusively on physical training. To this day, most of the best athletes employ creative visualization as a central part of their training program.
However, effective visualization requires 3 very specific components:
The most common complaint I hear from people is that they can’t “see” – or create a clear enough picture. They close their eyes and maybe all they see are colors, or even just a “blank screen.”
The key here is to use all five senses – not just sight.
If you can’t see your new job – can you hear it? Imagine a conversation you may have with a colleague or superior. A very detailed conversation where you are expressing yourself to others with extreme confidence and competence.
Can you smell your new job? Perhaps your desk is near the coffee maker. Now the conversation you have imagined has smell attached to it.
Can you touch your new job? Maybe you can feel the warmth of the coffee cup in yours hands as you talk to your colleagues.
Think of visualization as preparing for a live performance.
Actors, directors, and technical staff do not leave rehearsing to chance – there is a formal schedule put into place.
At first, rehearsals are scheduled quite frequently and the performances are usually pretty choppy. People forget their lines, actors have not completely embraced their characters, and props are missing. But, with frequent rehearsal, performances begin to improve.
Eventually, scheduled, consistent, and frequent rehearsals result in performances where the actors completely forget they are on stage and become the play.
Just like in the performing arts, the power of visualization is truly realized when it is performed in a scheduled, consistent, and frequent manner.
“To be it, you must believe it.” This statement is true on more levels than you might realize.
Psychologists call this the “self-fulfilling prophecy.”
It has been observed that whatever one believes about themselves or their circumstances, impacts their behavior, which then impacts the result – often causing the initial belief to become true.
For example, if you believe you will flunk a test, it is likely that your study habits will be negatively impacted, reducing the amount of material you remember. The result? You are not your best on the day of the test and the original belief becomes reality.
However, visualization techniques can help change negative self-fulfilling prophecies into positive ones.
Bonus: How To Radically Transform Your Life With Creative Visualization
The most powerful (and my personal favourite) way to use visualization is to “quantum jump.”
This involves visualizing your twin or “doppelganger” in an alternate universe who is already “doing the thing or getting the thing” we want to make real in our current lives.
The process takes you through imagining yourself talking to this already-successful version of yourself and receiving tips, instructions, and specific information to help you now.
People that use this technique have been able to shift their lives in directions they didn’t believe were possibly without really understanding how or why it works. I find that to be the most beautiful part of the whole thing – you don’t need to understand how something works to benefit from it.