Visualize For Success!

By: Jonathan R Taylor

The human brain is by far one of the most incredible creations on this earth. Unlike an animal’s, a human’s brain has been gifted with the wonderful ability to imagine. With it, we can create beautiful works of art, write captivating literature, and design skillful architecture. Everything man made that we see around us, was first created in the mind through creative visualization.

Visualization has much to do with our success in setting long term goals. Arnold Schwarzenegger won the title of Mr. Universe seven times not just by pumping iron, but by spending a little time each day picturing himself winning the title again. Professional golfer, Jack Nicklaus, explained the power of imagination in his golf game by saying, "First I 'see' the ball where I want it to finish - nice and white and sitting up high on the bright green grass. Then the scene quickly changes, and I 'see' the ball going there; its path, trajectory and shape, even its behavior on the landing. Then," he continues, "there's sort of a fade-out, and the next scene shows me making the kind of swing that will turn the previous images into reality."

One of my favorite stories on the power of imagination is about Major James Nesmeth.

He was an average golfer consistently shooting in the mid 90’s, until he developed a unique way of improving his golf game. It came while he spent seven years in North Vietnam as a prisoner of war. During those tortuous seven years, Nesmeth lived in solitary confinement inside a prison cell that measured four and a half feet high and 5 ft long. To keep from losing all hope, he realized that he needed to do something to occupy his mind. So, every day he played 18 holes of golf in his mind. He imagined everything in vivid detail from the country club he was playing at to the smell of freshly cut grass in the summertime. He would imagine the grip of the clubs and practice his swing many times until he perfected it. In reality, he had no place to go, so he spent four hours a day on the course in his mind never leaving any detail out. After seven years, he was released from prison and returned home. Upon returning to the actual golf course, he found that he had shaved 20 strokes off his game! By visualizing a perfect game every day for seven years he literally brought his score down to a 74.

When we set long term goals for ourselves, the key to achievement is visualizing ourselves accomplishing them. Visualizing success is important for two reasons. First, the mind thinks in terms of pictures. Second, the subconscious mind drives much of our behavior. The subconscious does not know the difference between something that is real and something that is vividly imagined, so whatever picture you consistently think about will drive you to create that exact reality.

“A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral." - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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