Have you ever read a book and started thinking of something completely different? For example, remembering what you ate for dinner last night, that conversation you need to have with your significant other, or remembering that you need to complete a task for work.
You’re reading the words in the book with your eyes, but it’s almost as if your mind goes somewhere else entirely.
If someone walked into the room and looked at you, they would see your eyes moving across the page of the book, but your mind was elsewhere.
The words from the book were in front of you, but a picture of what you ate last night or a task that needed to be completed was displayed right in front of the words you were trying to read.
And because of that, you had to go back and reread the same paragraph multiple times. trust me; I went there.
How does this happen? This is because we think in pictures. When humans think, we really think in pictures. If I ask you to think about your kitchen – your entire kitchen will pop up on your mind screen as if you were actually there.
It’s a wonderful mental fact, but many of us unknowingly allow it to affect us in negative ways. As we climb the ladder of success in our lives – many of us allow our minds to focus on the worst outcome in our professions, health, and goals.
We tend to forget our words when preparing for a speaking engagement. As business owners, we worry about finding our next customers. As professionals, we feel feelings of the infamous cheater syndrome—fearing our coworkers or boss will somehow find out that you’re “cheating” in some way.
If our thoughts are the gateways and paths leading to our destiny, then we must envision the positive outcomes of our goals, problems, and dreams.
From a scientific point of view, we know that our thoughts directly affect our nervous system and the behaviors and actions that we do and do not do in life. This is because when we think, we establish the neural pathway that the brain will use when an actual event occurs.
In other words, your brain is your supercomputer, and your thoughts or mental imagery is the program it will run.
So if you imagine the worst possible outcome of your goals, your behavior will be in line with what you believe about the goal.
Here is a perfect example. Let’s say you have an upcoming speaking engagement and continue to worry or imagine yourself forgetting your words. When this happens, you inadvertently install software into your mental framework that will make your behavior and speaking posture less confident, making you more likely to forget your words when the actual event occurs.
We must envision the goals and outcomes we want to have in our experience. This is why every self-help writer and speaker continues to impress upon the importance of visualization.
Taking the time to consciously envision the desired outcome of your goals is like a superpower that will make your life move more quickly. It’s just like daydreaming but consciously imagining the best kind of outcome.
This concept is also not new. Athletes, artists and performers have been making visualization breakthroughs for many years. For example, 23-time gold medalists Michael Phelps, Walt Disney, Oprah, Will Smith and Jim Carrey have used some form of visualization or mental imagery to achieve their extraordinary success.
Michael Jordan is quoted as saying, “Whenever I feel tired during exercise and training, I close my eyes to look at that picture, to see that list with my name on it. It usually drives me to work again.”
Let’s disassemble it. Jordan envisioned his ideal picture of success, in this case, seeing his name on the list made it his high school varsity basketball team. Having clearly seen their image in their mind’s eye, this undoubtedly established the mental framework or mindset that gave them behaviors that were conducive to their desired outcome. Thus, finally achieving your goal.
Whatever you imagine in your mind, your behavior reflects it. good or bad. It is your choice, so if you want results in your life then you can also imagine your desired results.
Here’s an activity for you:
Before getting out of bed each morning, close your eyes and imagine your future success. See yourself winning prizes. See your family and friends calling you and congratulating you on your success. Feel all the emotions as if you have already achieved your goal. The more you do it, the better you get at it. Eventually, you will see a change in your mindset – thus you will find behaviors that help you achieve the desired results.