In my previous post I stumbled on something I myself didn’t know: how to use visualization that is not woo-woo.
This discovery shows something really interesting, and maybe important.
A number of years ago I bought some programs from the Maxwell Maltz and the Psycho-Cybernetics foundation(?)
I read the books, and they made sense. And yet: I wasn’t ready to do any of the exercises in the programs. Why? Well, let us look.
Psycho-Cybernetics talks about improving your self-image, and most of the exercises are about that. For anyone to be willing to invest the time and energy to do the exercises, one must see that they have a self-image problem (I did not see that) and also must see what are the actions that one can’t or won’t do, because it is so new, or scary, or complicated.
Until today I didn’t even guess that I had a wonderful tool in my hand that was useless to me until I invented the specific ways I personally can see benefiting from using it.
And this is the big discovery: that unless the tool matches what you want to do, you won’t use it.
Second: unless you see that you need the tool (i.e. you have a cognitive dissonance, overtly, knowingly, admittedly) you will not see why or how you would benefit from using it.
Most of my students live in their heads. When I muscle test, the typical numbers are between 95 and 100%.
The mind is a past/present machine. It remembers the past and it plans, worries, frets about the future. It cannot relate to the present, and the present feels like a threat to the mind’s monopoly over your life.
When a student tries to get into the present, the mind gets bent out of shape, and immediately creates a bad-feeling to scare the student away from doing the exercise. As long as the student thinks that bad feelings mean they should stop doing what they a re trying to do, the mind wins.
Once the student learns about his little trick the mind plays, they are now able to ignore the bad feeling, get into the present, and the bad feeling is gone.
Now, how does this relate to visualization, and becoming more effective in life?
You cannot visualize getting into the present, because it is an entirely inside deal. Not mentioning the fact that visualization is actually a mind-function, so practicing getting out of the mind, with the mind won’t work… I hope that is clear. It is like asking the jail-keeper to get you out of jail… yeah, of course… lol.
So what can you visualize?
Find the typical doings that would bridge the cognitive dissonance. If you are one of my coaching students, I am more than happy to look with you what actions you could practice in your imagination.
Let’s use the example I have used in previous articles, the guy who wants to own a business, but is unwilling to ask the five questions…
If he ever wants to become a business owner who needs to talk to employees and potential customers, to vendors, etc. but in his current job as a machine operator he doesn’t have to, he needs to learn and get comfortable having conversation with people. Otherwise he will never develop confidence, authority, and his business will fail before it starts.
This exercise is a great way to start practicing, but it scares him. So what can he visualize? He can visualize saying hello, and requesting this conversation, explaining why. Then see himself confidently asking the five questions, taking notes, nodding, be grateful.
He may have to spend hours practicing, but get over the hump before actually doing it. 1
He could practice celebrating his victory. He could practice walking taller and with a lot more confidence, because he did it.
It is always a real benefit if you have someone who bridges between the dominion of the mind and the dominion where Life is happening.
But I did something very courageous: I shared with a friend that I was going to do the work required to get successful with the course I abandoned 18 months ago, and as a result I got more work done in that today than in the 3 months I was “trying” to do the work, pretending to do the work 18 months ago.
The hardest steps are the first ones. They are hard two ways:
- they are intellectually hard. It is hard to know what action would make a difference. Really hard. It is fraught with uncertainty… and that is hard to pit yourself against.
- They are often outside of your comfort zone… you have never done a thing like that, or you have memories of failures along the same lines.Regardless, the combination of publicly promising, and practicing visualization is a winning combination.
I feel like a million bucks.
- Visualization is an often-taught mental rehearsal technique in sports. It is an extremely powerful tool and numerous studies have been done to test this. You may have heard of this basketball study or a different one with similar results.
A study conducted by Dr. Blaslotto at the University of Chicago was done where he split people into three groups and tested each group on how many free throws they could make.
After this, he had the first group practice free throws every day for an hour.
The second group just visualized themselves making free throws.
The third group did nothing.
After 30 days, he tested them again.
The first group improved by 24%.
The second group improved by 23% without touching a basketball!!!!
The third group did not improve which was expected.