Creating images and visualizations of what you want to accomplish can be a powerful strategy for achievement, according to many writers, coaches and research studies.
Perhaps the most research has been about athletes and the field of sport psychology, but artists, entrepreneurs and anyone can use the techniques and approaches as well.
Actor Dennis Haysbert (at far right above) has portrayed a variety of dynamic characters in film (such as “Jarhead”) and television (including “24” and “The Unit”).
“I visualize the roles that I want,” he says. “If I hadn’t visualized playing athletes, I wouldn’t have gotten ‘Major League.’ If I hadn’t visualized playing a president, David Palmer never would have happened.
“You’ve got to have a sense of what you want to do; otherwise, the universe is just going to throw something at you.”
[TV Guide, July 3-9 2006.]
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In her article Awakening the Senses, creativity coach Linda Dessau writes about the book “How to think like Leonardo da Vinci” by Michael Gelb, particularly the “Sensazione” chapter, which Dessau notes “is dedicated to re-awakening and sharpening each of the five senses: sight, sound, smell, taste and touch.”
She adds, “Gelb offers lots of exercises in this chapter to help you awaken your senses. My favourite is ‘Subtle Speculation: The Art of Visualization’.
As he explains: ‘The ability to visualize a desired outcome is built into your brain, and your brain is designed to help you succeed in matching that picture with your performance.
“And the more thoroughly you involve all your senses, the more compelling your visualization becomes.’”
Different kinds of visualization
The nature of it can be a key element in how effective visualization is.
A PsyBlog article refers to research on imagining the processes involved in reaching a goal, rather than just the end-state of achieving it. UCLA researchers Lien B. Pham and Shelley E. Taylor had students “either visualize their ultimate goal of doing well in an exam or the steps they would take to reach that goal, such as studying.
The results were clear, says the article.
“Participants who visualized themselves reading and gaining the required skills and knowledge, spent longer actually studying and got better grades in the exam. (Interestingly, though, the relationship generally found between time spent studying and good grades is surprisingly weak.)
“There were two reasons that visualizing the process worked: Planning: visualizing the process helped focus attention on the steps needed to reach the goal. Emotion: process visualization led to reduced anxiety.”
[From article: The Right Kind of Visualisation, PsyBlog.]
That last reason is interesting: How many times do we slow down or set aside our pursuit of developing a creative ability out of some kind of anxiety over not being able to do it “well enough” (perfectionism) or having to give up other talents and interests, or some other anxiety-producing belief?
The above [text, not images] is from the ‘Visualization’ section.
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In his book The Success Principles, Jack Canfield writes about a number of people using visualization. He writes:
“Caryl Kristensen and Marilyn Kentz—better known as ‘The Mommies’ because they make their living joking about kids, family life, and the stresses of motherhood—know the power of creating goal pictures to make their dreams come true.
“They started their friendship as well as their careers in the small farm town of Petaluma, California, where they were neighbors. Once they decided to become performers and create shows, they made a Goals Book, in which they listed all the things they wanted to achieve, and then illustrated them with pictures.
“Without exception, everything they put in the book came true!
“Their achievements include The Mommies, an NBC sitcom that aired between 1993 and 1995, the Caryl & Marilyn Show, a talk show that aired on ABC between 1996 and 1997, Showtime and Lifetime cable specials, and their highly successful book, The Mother Load.
“Because Caryl and Marilyn are both illustrators, drawing their goals seemed the easiest way to go about it, but you don’t have to have drawing skills to make your own Goals Book.
“They worded their goals in the present tense, added feeling phrases such as ‘I’m feeling content and grateful,’ ‘I feel relaxed and joyful,’ and ‘Living in this wonderful house is so much fun,’ and they always finished off their page with this phrase: ‘This or something better is manifesting itself for the good of all concerned.'”
In his article Who You Are, Canfield comments:
“You must be willing to release your negative mental programming, and step out of your comfort zone in order to make room for a positive, healthy self image and belief system.
“This will shift your energy vibration and allow you to more easily and effectively attract the positive energy and experiences that you desire in your life.
“Beliefs are just your habitual thoughts, and they can be changed through affirmations, positive self-talk, behavioral changes and visualization techniques.”
In his book The Success Principles, Canfield writes about more examples of achievement using visualization, including his own:
“Mark Victor Hansen and I created a mock-up of The New York Times best seller list with the original ‘Chicken Soup For The Soul’ in the number-one spot.
“Within 15 months, that dream became a reality. Four years later we had seven books on the list at the same time.”
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John Assaraf on using visualization
John Assaraf “has written two New York Times bestselling books, appeared on Larry King Live, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and numerous other TV shows…he has built five multi-million dollar companies including one which grew to $4.5 billion, with a capital B, in sales. John’s realizing his mission of helping create 20,000 new purposeful millionaires by the year 2020.”
Vishen Lakhiani [paraphrased] about the Mindvalley free webinar:
“Winning the Inner Game of Money” Masterclass with John Assaraf June 9, 2015.
Also see the much longer John Assaraf Brain-A-Thon webinar [multiple dates]
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A tool for visualizing
The site explains a Mind Movie is “a short 3-minute video, or ‘digital vision board’, representing your best life. You’re the creator, the director and the producer.
“Once you login to the user-friendly online platform, you have access to our extensive library of powerful affirmations, beautiful images, motivating video clips and uplifting music, or you can upload your own… Then just drag-and-drop each element to create a supercharged movie of your ideal life.”
Visit the site to sign up for free information videos and a package of sample movies: