I have a dream… and you should too


Imagination is the beginning IDid you know that experts suggest professionals that visualize their success are 98% more likely to reach their goals and achieve or exceed their target?

Yeah, I made that statistic up.  However, according to Psychology Today “Brain studies now reveal that thoughts produce the same mental instructions as actions. Mental imagery impacts many cognitive processes in the brain: motor control, attention, perception, planning, and memory. So the brain is getting trained for actual performance during visualization. It’s been found that mental practices can enhance motivation, increase confidence and self-efficacy, improve motor performance, prime your brain for success, and increase states of flow – all relevant to achieving your best life!”

But we are all different, we all have our own limiting belief’s and ideas of what is possible and what isn’t possible.

I can tell you to visualize running a 5K…  I can coach you to visualize your work-outs as you prepare and suggest you concentrate on what you feel like as you run and/or what it feels like as you experience yourself pushing against your limits… but only YOU can actually think it.  I have no way of knowing and therefore measuring your ability to visualize. 

As a result, I don’t believe that visualization is always going to work for every person, because some people really struggle with their belief in their possibilities.  Some people have a hard time imagining and honestly, we are all different.  Your imagination is not mine.  I have no idea what the color pink looks like to you.

Two people may see a flower, and one will immediately figure out how to render that flower in icing and put an exact replica on a cake, while the other may render it in paint like Picasso, only hinting at the flower as a whole and still another would never imagine it as anything other than what it appears to be, a plant.   Do you suppose one is more right than the other?

I’m not suggesting that you go around writing notes to yourself about how rich you are, then spend money you don’t have pretending you are rich.  I am in fact, suggesting that you use practice using your imagination to understand your possibilities and work backwards to put together positive action steps to reach your goals.  Sort of like an athlete in training.

Pick something that you want to do, that you think you can do, but just keep putting off doing… and start to imagine yourself doing it.  Have a clear picture of you.. doing.  A picture that uses all your senses, touch, smell, sound… and then, start to do.  Don’t forget to actually start to move towards your goal.

Remember to pick something that you believe is possible. Pragmatically speaking, you simply will not truly believe something that you … don’t believe.  If you think you are going to work at your dead-end job until the day you die, than it’s going to be very difficult for you to motivate yourself to put into action the steps required for you to start preparing for retirement TODAY.  (however I will say this, if you’re reading this post, you are probably more optimistic about your future then some.  I know people who won’t even entertain a possibility other than working 40 hours a week, until they can’t work anymore then moving in with their kids). You have to believe, truly believe that the outcome is possible.

Until you change HOW you think about WHAT you think about,  you will continue down the same road, doing the same things… getting the same results.

I read a recent article where the author scoffed at the book The Secret, and in fact, stated (sort of bitterly) that his parents squandered his college fund pretending to be rich.  OK.  I get it.  Here’s a fact, it was they’re money.  I believe there is a whole generation of humans on the planet that have the illness I call, Adult Entitlement Disorder and instead of sucking it up and working out their simple steps to their success, they expect someone else to take care of their problems.   It just doesn’t work that way.

The most predominant symptom of AED, is the person’s ability to blame someone else for everything that is wrong or has been done wrong in their life.   Did someone stop letting you live for free in their home that they have been paying off for 30 years?  Did someone stop letting you drive their cars that they took out a 6 year loan to buy and have been paying extra insurance to keep you legally driving.  Did someone ask you to clear out the stuff that they have been storing and that has been taking up room in their shed for 5 years?  You are the captain of your ship. If you want a car to drive, then you need to set that as a goal, and start to concentrate on how you will get that accomplished.   If you want to keep the crap you have stored in someone’s shed (QUIET! it doesn’t matter if you think they have plenty of room… it’s not your shed) Then you should set that as a goal to find your own controllable storage of get rid of the crap.

VISUALIZATION can help.

First, let go of the past.  Use the past as a measure of how far you have come, understand that you limit your forward movement when you fail to let go of your past situations and circumstances and hold on to them as reasons why you won’t succeed… instead, look at how far you have come.

Second, Stop blaming other people and circumstances for why you are where you are, for why you are who you are with, for why you are doing what you do.  Today, this moment, you have the same choices as anyone else. You can decide to do something different, or you can choose to continue to do the same thing, the point is, there is no one in control of that but you.  You can choose to forgive someone as well as your self for whatever mistakes you think occurred and just simply move forward.

Third, Have a goal.  Come up with your single most important and urgent goal.  Find that one thing that would change your life the most if it were to occur in the next 24 hours, then give yourself 12 months!  State that goal, believe that goal… then work backwards from that goal and set up measurable action steps to move towards that goal (keep in mind, always move towards something not away from something… because when you move away, you can’t measure that.  If you want to move away from specific town or state, then choose a new location and concentrate on the goal of moving to the new location)

Fourth, Visualize. Believe in each step, concentrate on each moment that you are working towards your goal and believe your goal is possible, and that you are capable of reaching that goal.  Picture yourself taking that first action step, maybe it’s going back to school and the first thing you do is email the admissions office, maybe it’s writing a book, and the first thing you do is work out an outline, maybe it’s buying a house, moving out of your parents house, setting up a retirement fund… my point.

Visualize what you’re trying to accomplish, and celebrate each successful step.  Recognize each moment of forward movement and when the past creeps in to haunt you, remember how far you have come.

OH, one more thing.  The key to visualization for specific goals, is the word specific.  Just thinking, I want to be rich, isn’t going to really help…  working towards a goal of earning 100K a year, much better, for two reasons. First, if gives you a practical and measurable goal. Second, you can test your ability to believe. You may not be able to visualize 100K because it’s too much and may need to start smaller with something like 10K. [I have no problem with $100K 🙂 ]

 

Make today amazing.

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