Issue 197 - August 2019
Visualization sparked my career and energized my life. When I was just starting out, someone recommended I read Claude Bristol's book TNT: The Power Within You. The book sparked such an intensity of energy and profound new awareness that I couldn't get a good night's sleep for almost a week. Even now, as I thumb through the book and recall that turning point in my life, a shiver runs up my spine.
This book followed his ground-breaking book, The Magic of Believing. These books came from his experience as a journalist studying and reporting on spiritual and religious movements, building his own wealth and career as an investment banker, and his study of thousands of books on "the science of thought." Research in neuroscience, emotional intelligence, and positive psychology are now validating and refining these findings.
Here are just a few of the many key passages from TNT that started my juices flowing (the emphasis shown is his):
TNT awakened me to the enormous -- unused -- power between my ears. I read countless books and articles on these topics and I attended presentations and workshops given by leading authors, trainers, and speakers. I listened to dozens of audiotapes on this and related "mental attitude" topics.
Over the next few years, I used these approaches to build a highly successful sales and management career, quit smoking, lose weight and get into better physical shape, develop my writing and speaking skills, write bestselling books, and build two international training and consulting firms.
My personal visioning files are full of career dreaming, periodic assessments of strengths and successes, affirmations, mission/purpose statements, inspirational quotes, and visualizations.
Later these merged with the notes from yearly visioning and progress reviews Heather and I began to do when our kids were toddlers -- we were drifting apart and seemed to be heading down separate paths. Using a five-year time horizon, these notes describe our ideal life in seven areas; our family, careers, financial, community, spiritual, and social lives.
It's eerie (and inspiring) to look back at all these notes and their accuracy in "foretelling the future." Never mind all the research, studies, and expert opinion on imagery and visualization. Here's all the proof I need that regularly and continually picturing our preferred future works.
When he was creative director at Walt Disney Studios, Mike Vance said "soon after the completion of Disney World someone said, 'Isn't it too bad Walt Disney didn't live to see this.' I replied, 'He did see it ‑‑ that's why it's here.'"
This issue is dedicated to the most powerful renewable energy source I've ever experienced; visualization and imagery. We naturally picture our future. And often that's not a good thing. Picture yourself picturing your preferred positive future. Dream on.
Decades of research has proven the power of visualization in athletics, health, and personal, team, or organizational effectiveness. We become what we think about.
The following is an exercise I've used personally, with my wife, Heather, and many groups. Recently, I led a group of high potential leaders through this guided imagery process as part of their focus on work/life balance.
The clearer you picture your ideal future, the stronger you'll set your magnetic field to pull you there.
"That we are drawn by the future rather than just driven by the past is extremely important and directly contrary to the heritage of social science and the history of psychology. It is, nevertheless, a basic and implicit premise of positive psychology."
"When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge."
"Another simple way to boost your positivity is to dream more frequently about your future. Conjure up the best possible outcomes for yourself. Visualize your future successes in great detail. People who are assigned at random to carry out such an exercise show reliable increases in their positivity relative to those who carry out more mundane self-reflections."
"Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become. Your vision is the promise of what you shall one day be; your ideal is the prophecy of what you shall, at last, unveil... dreams are the seedlings of realities."
"Your body speaks imagery. Imagery is the language that will lodge the vision deep within the core of your being, so that it pulls you, day after day, relentlessly toward itself. Seeing yourself on a daily basis making a difference, getting in touch with your goals, achieving and celebrating milestones brings precision to the day-to-day process of incorporating vision into your world."
"Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone, you may still exist, but you have ceased to live."
"Nurturing a fantasy is the first step in the neural process of achieving success in the world. It begins with creative imagination, a process that takes place in the frontal lobe, the area in your brain that has the unrelenting capacity to dream up virtually anything. If you can't imagine a specific goal, you won't make it to second base, which is figuring out how to make your dream come true."
"See yourself and what you see, you will become."
"Within the parameters of physical possibilities, you receive what you 'want with your whole soul' -- whether inner truth, a personal accomplishment, relationships, whatever it is. Excluding some great countervailing force, and for either ill or good, the one thing that you want above all else is what you get...the true yearnings of our soul are not only the best predictor of where we'll go in life, but the primary means of getting us there."
"No one has yet computed how many imaginary triumphs are silently celebrated by people each year to keep up their courage."
Visualization energizes our dreams -- the more vivid our visualization, the higher our energy and magnetic attraction.
Neuroscience shows we're hardwired to look for what's wrong. If our ancient ancestors missed catching lunch, they'd keep trying for dinner. If they missed that rustling in the bush, they became lunch.
We have a natural ability to image what we don't want and then bring it into being. Reversing years of negative conditioning and bad habits so we can learn to vividly see what we do want isn't easy. Most of us have to work very hard at it.
Since we're all different, there is no universal "one approach fits all" way to increase your picturing power. Here are a few approaches to developing this critical skill:
Picturing my preferred future has been my greatest source of energy and focus. I've used this approach for specific situations, long term projects, and making vital life choices and decisions.
I've been studying and applying the power of positive pictures for most of my life. These skills, habits, and techniques are often called visioning, imagery, and visualization. They have a power for change, improvement, and energy creation that we're only beginning to understand.
It's hard to picture a positive, hopeful future if we're not positive and confident about ourselves. It's hard to see ourselves taking control of our destiny, developing an effective team, or leading a highly successful organization if we don't feel good about our own development, success, and skills.
When I began to give paid keynote speeches and presentations, I'd review a list of past speeches and presentations where I especially connected and was "in flow with the audience." I would relive and recapture the emotional electricity in those rooms. I'd then carry these feelings into visualization for this group and see a highly successful "in flow" presentation to them.
Here are R & R (reflection and renewal) approaches I've found very helpful:
Forming the habit of picturing our preferred future has enormous payback in effectiveness and well-being. In his pioneering book, TNT: The Power Within You, that blasted me into a totally new mindset, Claude Bristol writes, "Whatever you need to fit into the pattern of achievement that you have pictured, will be attracted to you by the power within if you persist in your visualizing, day after day, and put forth every effort in support of your heartfelt desire."
This section summarizes last month's LinkedIn Updates and Twitter Tweets about online articles or blog posts that I've flagged as worth reading. These are usually posted on weekends when I am doing much of my reading for research, learning, or leisure. You can follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/JimClemmer and connect with me on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/jimclemmer
My original tweet commenting on the article follows each title and descriptor from the original source:
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