VISUALISATION: A STEP TOWARDS ACCOMPLISHMENT
Jim Carey, the Hollywood actor had reading hurdles and was dyslexic. At school his teachers considered him as disruptive. From early days his sense of humour was wacky and unique and to keep him hooked on to day time learning, one of the teacher’s struck a deal with him. He would be given 15 minutes of comedy schedule at the end of the school day. The other kids in the school just loved it, particularly Jim’s gags. At this time neither Jim nor the others could envisage the importance of this talent of his. It may strike as an oddity but Jim had his prolonged periods of struggle. Whilst this struggle was going on, and prior to becoming a successful actor, he wrote himself a cheque for 10 million dollars for acting services rendered and gave him 3 years to attain this goal. He dated this for ‘Thanksgiving 1995’ and just before this date Jim achieved the monetary goal with the release of his movie Dumb & Dumber. During this entire time he visualised the success of attaining this 10 million dollars.
Visualisation is a very potent cognitive tool and is a mental image or mental picture that happens in a person’s mind, which represents the physical world outside of that person. If this imagery happens unconsciously then it is categorized as dream and nightmare but if it is invoked by the conscious mind with a purpose, it becomes Visualisation. Creative visualisation is used in sports, athletics, acting and myriad fields. Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Muhammad Ali, Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan and many others use Visualisation to attain their goals. Usain Bolt after breaking the 100 meters world record in 9.58 seconds said ‘I just visualised and then executed my plan.’
VISUALISATION & DAYDREAMING
Visualisation has to be positive. Negative visualisation perhaps is experienced by most of us. We inordinately catastrophise about our future, financial status, relationship aspects, health, death anxiety, economy and other aspects of our life. Positive creative visualisation is an attainment strategy provided it is backed up with decisions, disciplines and action. If it is not accompanied by these attributes then it borders on fantasy, daydream, reverie, air-castle, dissociation etc. While visualisation is a constructive process, daydreaming is an arbitrary assemblage of thoughts and is a coping strategy by the mind to decamp from reality. People indulge in it from time to time perhaps day dreaming about a great house, car, salary, cementing domination over the boss, job title, holiday, idealized romance, expansionist ambitions, well-behaved children, domestically-tamed husband amongst others. Daydreaming is merely a temporary detachment during the day but can happen in perpetuity. If any of these daydreams, if tailgated with robust intent, it becomes visualisation. If further milestones are attached then it becomes a dream with a date and connoted as Goal.
VISUALISATION & FAITH
Prior to attaining a goal or even to traverse upon the path of attainment, the end scenario has to be visualised. Visualising a meaningful goal is the very first step towards its accomplishment and the ability to perceive the success of the goal inculcates faith in the process. This faith in whatever it is that one has set up for oneself is of paramount importance. Neither core fractures nor surface disorders are permissible when it comes to faith. It has to be unconditional and unambiguous. Unfortunately the way most of us are conditioned, we are unable to determinedly attach faith to our pursuit. We inundate it with doubts, consign it to impossibility midway, disengage the action component and consequently attract the precise fear that we always dreaded thereby resulting in forfeiture of the goal with which we started. Visualisation without faith and concomitant action would be a misapplication.
Approximately 50000 thoughts surge in our minds daily. Sure we are bombarded by television, social media, newspapers, cellphones, emails, movies and all these extraneous inputs influence our thoughts but predominantly the thoughts in our head (our inner voice) are repetitive and it has a kind of ruminative texture about it. Same problems, beliefs, doubts, fears, insulated woes, disappointments, smothered aspirations etc. It is not so melancholic for everybody, positive thoughts and balanced contrasts are experienced by people but in general due to the intrinsic ambition that most people have, there is a constant yearning for material, physical and spiritual growth hence some form of anxiety is a given.
Psychologists construe thinking as an intellectual exertion in attempting to decipher answers to a particular problem or question. Scientists do this kind of constructive thinking all the time however here I am talking about ruminative thoughts. Soren Kierkegaard has stated that ‘Our life always expresses the result of our dominant thoughts’ and this maxim is conceivable. Fear and catastrophising as our dominant and ruminative thoughts will assuredly attract these into our lives. Positive visualisation as our dominant thoughts has the same effect hence if we aren’t indulging in such visualisations as of now, alterations in habit needs to be set up forthwith.
HOW DOES VISUALISATION WORK
Visualisation is like a movie. One deliberately architects success in the mind prior to its actual occurrence and using imagery, sound, script, text, smell basically all sensory stimuli, one constructs and embellishes it in the mind.
Here are a few steps:
- VISUALISE: After any worthwhile and meaningful goal has been set, date & timeline committed to oneself, close your eyes, begin deep diaphragmatic breathing and start imagining the scenario as if you have attained success of that goal. Visualise what is happening around you after you have got there, what are you saying to yourself, what are others saying to you, how you feel, experience etc.
- FOCUS: This kind of visualisation for about 10 minutes daily may initially seem like a temporary compensation from the challenges of a tough world and the internal fight first would be about critiquing this seeming preposterity to one’s own mind. Disregard all internal voices and remain focused. Imagine the scenario say playing golf, football, musical instrument, professional success, running the marathon, philanthropy, leadership role, sales closure, financial independence, family bliss basically whatever one’s goals are, visualise its success. It provides remarkable optimism that further feeds into one’s faith.
- REPETITION: Repeat this until such thought emergence occurs daily and becomes second nature to us. Over time, the mind picks up this as our dominant thought and the body consciously as well as unconsciously seeks out to optimize resources from the universe to make it happen. This is to be construed as action centricity. One is intentionally taking action along with faith and visualisation. Merely visualising about playing the guitar without practicing on a physical guitar will achieve diddly-squat. Basketball players intensely visualize off-court movements and this kind of training improves their on-court performance and this is substantiated through neuroscience.
Visualisation is mental rehearsal with pictures. The subconscious mind thinks with pictures and the subconscious mind has a weighty attribution to our drive and motivation. Visualisation therefore acts like high octane fuel for subconscious mind from where we abstract our drive to perform goals. Science has veritably endorsed the theory that rehearsing about a physical activity in the mind also stimulates the brain to provide impetus to the muscle required to perform the same task physically. Repetition of such visualisations strengthens the neural pathways in the brain. The coaching industry uses visualisation as an indissoluble technique. It isn’t strenuous to begin visualisation hence the argument ‘Why not attempt it’ to see whether we can become bold and explicit towards our goals which we desire to eventuate into accomplishment.