Visualization is a powerful and important self development tool.
There are several ways of harnessing our brains and mental powers to help motivate ourselves.
Affirmation, mental imagery and visualization are all ways to train your focus towards achieving your desired goals.
Although using visualization for success has only been used popularly since around the late 1970’s. It not as new of a technique as you may think.
Humans have been using visualization as a self development technique since the beginning of time. Albeit just not with the intention that a lot of us do today.
Consider this. When you have an idea, or are considering to do something. You visualize it first, right?
If you are going to go to a particular shop. You picture in your mind where it is, what it looks like, and possibly where the items you want are.
Another example is food. If you’re hungry and thinking about what you want to eat, you picture the food. Maybe even several different possibilities.
What is Visualization?
Visualization is the process of using your own imagination to create visions of what you want in your life. Along with ways you think you can make this visions happen.
It becomes a powerful tool when used with other mental techniques. Such as dedicated focus. Positive emotions and determination.
Success visualization techniques are commonly used in sports with professional athletes. It’s proven effective time and time again.
An athlete visualises performing a personal best record in their given sport. With the power of visualization and some focus on their goal, they achieve it.
These techniques can also apply to goals and achievements. Maybe you need to deliver a speech, or go for a job interview and want to visualise it being successful. You can apply it to almost any situation you can think of.
How Does The Power of Visualization Work?
Mental imagery works because when you imagine yourself doing something, your brain creates neural patterns specific to your thoughts. Just as if you had carried out what it is your imagining.
Basically this means your thoughts can stimulate the same nervous system responses as the actual event will.
Focusing on the event over and over, reliving it multiple times, strengthens the neural patterns in your brain. Teaching our muscles to do what we what of them. Meaning it will not be a surprise when we take part in the event we were imagining.
This have never been more true that in the case of professional sports as described earlier. Some coaches insist that professional sports are 90% mental, and 10% physical.
While that may be a slight exaggeration It emphasises the fact that you have to be mentally strong to compete with the best in the world. It’s commonplace for athletes to have mental coaches as well as regular coaches.
For example. Some well known boxers were known to visit the ring the night before their big fight. Pacing round the ring visualizing how the fight will go the next night. Imagining themselves winning. How they will celebrate, and what the crowd will sound like.
Like with any skill, the keys to successful visualization is to practice regularly. The key elements to successful mental imagery include; regularity, realism, relaxation and reinforcement.
Instances When to Use Visualization
For Successful Outcomes
Visualizing yourself being successful. Achieving goals and exceeding your previous best is possible with the help of mental imagery. Picture the life you want to live, and where you want to be.
To Motivate Yourself
If you need motivation to achieve something, play the scenario over and over in your head. Vividly image the outcome you want. Walk yourself through the process step by step.
Athletes, singers, public speakers, they all run through their performances in their heads before actually doing the live performance. Making the live performance a lot less daunting, and a lot more familiar feeling.
As a Trial Run
As mentioned with motivation. Running through a performance with mental imagery prepares you for the best. You have probably experienced, or seen someone try to perform without being prepared. It doesn’t always end well.
Visualization can give you the edge over a competitor in competition. It can motivate you to do better than you thought possible. And, it can prepare you to perform at your best.
When used properly, it results in a higher level of achievement.
How to Use Visualization Techniques
- Find somewhere quiet where you will not be disturbed. Close your eyes and imagine as vividly as possibly what it is you want to achieve.
- Take several controlled slow breaths.
- Visualise the goal with as much detail as possible. Run through several scenarios.
- Use as many senses as you can apply to the given task. Add feelings, emotions and try to imagine what it will smell and sense like.
- Try to practice for 10 minutes, a couple of times a day.
- Some find it difficult to fully relax into, keep persevering until you succeed.
I have practised using visualization for success in my personal and professional life many times.
I was introduced to these techniques many years ago by a friend who is a successful motivational speaker.
I asked him how he always delivered such a faultless talk, and what his best preparation techniques were.
He explained to me how he visualised daily for a few minutes. As well as a good 10 minutes on the day of each speech he was delivering.
The power of visualization has helped me progress in my career. Launch my own businesses, and find a greater deal of satisfaction.
I hope you will also take interest in what you have read here and at least give these techniques a try.
Feel free to get back to me and let me know how you get on.
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.