To visualize something is to create a mental picture of something. For example, imagine what you are hoping to achieve, and what it actually looks like. It is a way to focus on your goals and allow your subconscious to be aware of those ends.
It can allow you to think more clearly and specifically about what you want to happen, and make you more likely to follow through. If you don’t know exactly what you want, your thoughts will go in circles, and you may give up when things get difficult.
Be Prepared to Succeed
Plenty of studies have shown how visualization can help mentally prepare for a big life event. Doing so allows you to be more confident in yourself and be ready to take action when opportunities arise. Furthermore, letting yourself see what the future may hold for you if you are successful before it happens makes you more likely to try your best.
Following through with visualization involves you taking action and moving towards your goals. Sitting and thinking about them doesn’t get you anywhere; you have to get up and take what you want.
Be An Olympian
The fastest human in the world we have on record is named Usain Bolt, an Olympic sprinter from Jamaica. Bolt currently holds the world record for the 100 meters, 200 meters, and 4 × 100 meters relay. He has won 8 gold medals and 11 world championships, and his fastest speed was recorded at 27.33 miles per hour.
Shortly after breaking the world record for the 100 meters with a time of 9.58 seconds, Usain Bolt was quoted as saying, “I just visualized and then executed my plan.” Does this mean visualization is the reason he came out the champion? No. However, it is a technique many athletes use, and we would be foolish to ignore it.
Visualization can also be known as a mental rehearsal or even meditation. It is a skill that requires a lot of relaxation and patience. For example, athletes will often run game plans in their heads over and over. It may sound simple, but it takes time and practice to master it.
A few studies suggest that just thinking about a certain activity can cause the brain to stimulate the muscles required for that particular activity—even if you’re not actually moving at all.
By practicing certain techniques in your mind and visualizing them repeatedly, you will stimulate your muscles to respond in turn. This makes your neural pathways stronger, promoting motor memory. It can potentially be a great way to practice without exerting yourself.
Clear Your Mind
Visualizing yourself winning creates an obvious advantage, especially with sports, but can offer an advantage in many other aspects of life. Being able to truly visualize comes easiest to those of us with the best imaginations as children—the world is what you make it.
Many people describe visualization as watching a movie in your mind, with you as the star. However, if you truly wish to bring your visualization to life, you have to be willing to put in the work; otherwise, it is no better than a childish fantasy.
Creating Your Own Reality
The Visualization method has been tested and proven as a way of coping with stress, not only in sports but also in business.
Just as an athlete can visualize the precise movements needed to win, an executive can do the same thing by visualizing actions that will allow them to secure a deal, or whatever other successful endeavor you’re hoping to take on.
Motivational Speaker Steve Backley has been known to use visualization throughout most of his career. He is a retired British javelin thrower who held the world record back in 1992 before Jan Zelezny later broke it. Backley said he would prepare for stressful environments by imagining himself in the last round, losing, and with only one throw left. He would then visualize himself throwing a flawless final throw, and winning.
The end goal is a positive image, but it doesn’t have to be positive through and through, as Backley shows us. As long as the end result is successful, use whatever means necessary to get yourself there.
Successful athletes have to be confident in their ability to get to the top and put in the effort and dedication it takes to get there, or it simply doesn’t happen.
Mental skills are just as important as physical skills when it comes to training, and keeping your mind in shape is just as important as physical fitness. Athletes known to have a “mental edge” are people who are most confident in themselves and are just as mentally prepared for their sport as they are physically. Additionally, your drive and motivation are equally as paramount as physical skill.
True visualization is more than just thinking about something for a moment. It requires serious time, patience, and dedication. Here are a few tips if you’re interested in practicing true visualization.
Finding a nice, quiet, and peaceful place to concentrate is the first step in practicing visualization. Your mind and body need to be completely relaxed and ideally in a place where you will not be distracted or interrupted.
Over time, you will learn to remain focused even if things are going on around you but, for now, start alone.
It will be hard to focus for very long when you’re first starting out. To help, try scheduling bits of time for practicing every single day, gradually adding more and more time. With practice, over time, it becomes easier for you to concentrate for longer periods.
Visualize The End Result
The end result you should be picturing here is you achieving your goal. If that goal is finding a relationship, perhaps the image is of you embracing, loving, or talking to that person.
On the other hand, if your goal is a promotion, the picture could be the tasks you would be doing in that position, or sitting in your new office.
Fill In the Rest
If you now have your end result in mind, start from the beginning and fill in the rest of your story. Think about everything that would need to happen between now and the end result.
Consider all of the steps you need to take, and what the repercussions will be. Everything together will add up to you achieving your goal.
Add the Details
Having as many details as you can in your visualization does wonders for your focus. Include all of your senses—sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell.
Feel your emotions in real-time; think about the food you will eat, your boss’s cologne, or the flowers you might put on your new desk. Make it as real as possible for yourself.
You could also try writing these details down so that they are fresh in your mind, and you can replay the same thing each time you sit down for a session.
Does It Really Work?
If you’re willing to put in the effort and work, yes, visualization works wonders. Visualization has great potential to make someone more successful because it increases your confidence, clarity, and determination.
Visualization is not magic or an instant-win button. However, it is a skill you can develop into a useful tool that more people should take advantage of. It is only one step in preparing yourself for success. Being able to believe in yourself and that you will achieve your goals is critical to actually achieving that success.
Keeping your goals realistic is key, and that comes with knowing yourself and what you are capable of. You may not be able to beat Usain Bolt in a rase, but you can certainly be an Olympic athlete if you put your mind to it. There are other races for you to win in life, such as building a career or a family, and these are things that are easily obtainable with the right attitude.