Imagine it before you do it
Posted on 5th October 2016 at 07:45
Mention visualistion to people and the most common response is that it’s one of those “airy fairy, new age” things. Not for real people busy living their lives in the real world.
And that’s a real shame as it’s something we all do naturally, without ever realising it.
Don’t believe us?
Well that’s exactly what happens when you do anything creative whether it’s painting a picture, cooking a meal or thinking about your garden. Being able to “see it” in your mind’s eye – visualise it – is the crucial first step.
Can you imagine starting to paint a picture without having any idea of what you’re wanting to paint? Or cooking a meal without any idea of the end result? It just wouldn’t work! However it’s so instinctive that few people realise that’s what they’re doing.
And that’s also what happens when you sit daydreaming. Imagining what you would like to do – or happen. Letting your creative juices flow. And once the initial seed – or thought – has been sown it’s amazing the cascade of ideas, coincidences and instances of pure serendipity that follow.
It’s such a shame that so many people lose touch with this ability at school with its emphasis on logical, left brain thinking. Who hasn’t been told to stop daydreaming and concentrate on the lesson in hand?!?
The good news it’s that never too late to start consciously harnessing the power of your imagination again. Not only will it make your life much easier, but it’s great fun to do too.
Visualisation is a great way to start. It’s simple to do, quick and helps to build up your “imagination muscles”. You’ve probably seen it used by professional athletes – when they stop for a minute to focus and imagine scoring the goal or winning the race – as well as many businessmen, politicians, actors and those in the media lime light.
So are they simply thinking about what they’re going to do? Well, yes and no. Much more than just thinking “I’m going to do x” it’s more like a mini dress rehearsal. It’s all about the specifics of what they’re going to do and the process goes something like this:
Picturing the end result they desire.
Feeling how good it will feel to do it.
Imagining how they will do it. The individual steps.
Feeling how easy it was to do.
And, finally, feeling grateful that it’sbeen done so easily.
By running through the whole process beforehand they know that it can be done AND feel confident that they can do it. It’s gone from something they would like to do, to something they are certain they can do.
Imagination is always about pictures and feelings NOT cold, logical thoughts and words.
For an athlete about to run a race it would start with imagining crossing the winning line first. Feeling the elation and happiness. Then going into the specifics of imagining how the race as a whole would go. The start, how they gathered speed and crossed the winning line first. Feeling how easy the race was, how much they enjoyed it and how grateful they felt afterwards.
For a business man about to make an important speech, imagining the standing ovation at the end of his speech. Feeling the surge of elation and happiness from it. Then taking it from the start, imagining walking out on to the platform and looking around at the audience. How easily the speech went, how well the audience reacted to it and how quickly time went. Feeling how enjoyable the whole event was and how grateful they were for the entire experience.
Now contrast this with the “normal” left brained approach to things. Perhaps by thinking that you “must do x” or running through it in words, rather than feelings.
The key to visualisation – and all creative processes – is to think in pictures, not words AND to feel good throughout the process. To be clear on the end result you desire and how you would like to feel when achieving it. It’s all about lining up your thoughts, intentions, feelings and energy in the same direction and, more importantly, a successful outcome.
Visualisation doesn’t need to be reserved for special occasions. In fact it’s best if you don’t, but practice doing it for even the most routine, mundane activities.
How about a job you don’t really enjoy doing – or have been putting off – or phone call that’s likely to be difficult? These are all great for practising on. So, before you start, spend a couple of minutes running through it:
Imagine it done, achieving the end result you desire.
Feel how good it feels having done it.
Imagine the specifics of doing it from start to finish.
Feel how easy it was to do and enjoy the feeling that it was much easier to complete than you expected.
Feel grateful that it’s done, see yourself smiling and give yourself a virtual pat on the back.
No longer is it something “you really should do” but something you know you can do and are certain you will do too. Once you’ve reached this state, doing it becomes a mere formality.
Funnily enough visualisation was exactly what happened before starting to write this blog post today. From the topic itself, to sitting down to type it, how easily – and quickly – it was written, how easily a great picture was found to illustrate it and how good it felt to have done it! It really is that simple.
And, before we finish, a lovely quotation we came across while looking for the picture for this blog:
“Logic will get you from A to B, imagination will get your everywhere.” Einstein.
As always, the choice is yours.
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