“Everything is created twice, first in the mind and then in reality.”- Robin S. Sharma
Day-dreaming is a mis-understood art. Some people think that it is a waste of time.
I disagree. I would rather day dream than watch Netflix, prance around in video game land, or engage in mindless banter between frivolous topics- As therapeutic and necessary as these activities may sometimes be.
To me, visualization is a vital part of attaining success, happiness, and just about anything worthwhile in life.
But I am not a wisher.
The key difference between visualizing and wishing is how a person uses self-talk.
By simply wishing, one is saying to himself “That would be nice.”
By visualizing, one is saying to himself “That WILL be nice. I SEE myself attaining it through A, B, and C.”
One is WISHy-washy and passive. The other is detailed and active.
One does not truly believe that success will happen to them. The other KNOWS that they will claim success as a matter of time and effort.
Many successful people TODAY are using visualisation whether they admit it or not. I can tell you that Conor McGregor, the UFC fighter who skyrocketed fame and became the first MMA fighter to claim belts in two divisions, uses visualization for his fights, career, and business.
“If you have a clear picture in your head that something is going to happen and a clear belief that it will happen no matter what then nothing can stop it. It is destined to happen. It’s perfect.”
You may look at this and feel uneasy.
After all, we have been told time and time again that nothing in life is certain.
I offer you a thought.
If belief does not alter reality, then what explains the placebo effect? It is the idea that taking a medicinal treatment that has no actual medicine can cause a disease to regress. In fact, most drug research inevitably pits the drug to be marketed against placebo (sugar pill). Many, many drugs cannot even out-do the placebo pill, and many drugs on the market today have only proven “statistically significant” advantage over placebo. This advantage often entails a few percentage points, depending on the size of the study population.
What is more fascinating is the fact that the placebo success rate is almost never zero. Whether you attribute the placebo effect to the stress hormone lowering phenomenon, the healthy neurochemistry changes, or the better self-care resulting from positive belief, there is a single recurring theme.
What if by believing in something that gives you joy and motivation, your mind and body can work better in synchrony to attain that something?
I believe it.
I think that believing something with great detail and dedication increases the odds of bringing that thing to fruition.
Right here and now, I will give you some tips on how to practice visualization and self-belief, whose marriage herald’s massive success.
Consider this the day-dreamer’s guide to success and happiness.
Number one: Shift the focus.
Shifting the focus does not mean ignoring the negative. Focusing on something does not mean you refuse to accept everything else.
There is a famous study done on Olympic medal winners from decades ago. It showed that on the whole, bronze medal winners were happier than silver medal winners. The reason hypothesized was simple: The bronze winners focused on the fact that they actually placed on the podium with pride, where as many silver winners focused on the fact that they did not attain the gold with regret.
So how do you shift the focus? The answer is simple: Actively re-word your self-talk.
Instead of saying “This is bad”, say “This is a challenge, but is ultimately going to be good.”
Instead of saying “I lost”, say “I am grateful that I have had.”
Instead of saying “What might have been”, say “what will be, will be.”
Embrace that silver medal and cherish that silver lining.
Be a positive thought seeking commando, whose mission is to:
- Seek the good.
- Find the good.
- Focus on the good.
- Accept the bad.
- Re-affirm the good.
- Move on.
Number two: Visualize every day ahead of time.
Before you go to bed at night, imagine what the ideal day for you looks like. Imagine what kind of activities and self-investments you will be making. For example, if you decided on working out in the morning, picture yourself lifting the weights and doing the push-ups. Imagine how great it feels to finish with a good sweat and nice muscle pump.
If you are anticipating a significant event, such as a date, place yourself at that event. See yourself saying “Hello” with a genuine smile, extending your hand, and saying something complimentary. The specifics are important, but also try to focus on the feeling. The motions and the emotions of the moment go hand in hand.
If you foresee a challenge, visualize yourself in the ideal state that you would want to be in to deal with it. See yourself handling the situation with grace, logic, and calm. Use the frame shift technique to tell yourself that even if the result is something you do not want, you can still gain and improve from it.
Number three: Use affirmations.
Even the most optimistic minds can be weighed down by life. You may visualize, anticipate, and do your best to re-frame challenges. Still, sometimes something comes out of the blue and catches you off guard.
These times are when affirmations are helpful.
Find your affirmation. It may be as simple as “I am greater than what I am going through” or “Despite the challenges, I will not bow.”
My favorite affirmation is simply: “I am grateful. Thank you.”
Say these affirmations aloud, and think them to yourself whenever you feel overwhelmed.
There is a technique coined by the naturopath Dr. Mercola as the “Emotional Freedom Technique” (Video here). It involves the meditative act of tapping on anatomic meridians as a person recites his or her affirmations aloud.
I have tried this technique in the past and have found it to be useful for relieving stress.
Number Four: Surround yourself with dreamers.
In the words of John Lennon, you may say that I am a dreamer, but I guarantee you that I am not the only one.
Most people today want to be dreamers whether they know it or not. They want happiness and fulfilment as much as you and I. Too many distract themselves with mainstream media and television. Too many young people would rather invest time in a TV or internet personality than in themselves.
I have good news for you. The fact that you are reading this article means you are on the journey of self-improvement.
I encourage you to find others who share in your vision. Not your hobbies or favorite media entity. Your vision.
A dreamer’s eyes will light up when he or she talks about pursuits and principles.
Visionaries SEE the future. Their foresight is 20/20. Interacting with them will not only energize you, but also allow you to share your vision with them. Sharing your goals with random people can drain you, but sharing your dreams with other dreamers can create a spiritual resonance.
When dreamers talk to non-dreamers, the non-dreamers will say “That’s crazy” or “I don’t know if that’s possible.”
When dreamers talk with other dreamers, it is like having two candles next to each other. You will light up the world.
Number Five: Put in the work and SEIZE the day.
I do want to be out-worked by anyone. That said, I always look for ways to work smarter and work more than others.
The fact is that dreamers are diligent learners. They see a goal, and they will work towards it with any means and tools possible. Dreamers create, innovate, and optimize often.
Working harder does not mean more adrenaline. Working more does not mean more all nighters.
In fact working on a craft for one hour everyday can bring massive success in the long run.
The key is having an iron will of discipline.
One more thing.
By visualizing success, you will also see more opportunities in life. Ironically, when you day-dream, your eyes become wide open to more openings for success. Venues become available, but you must take them if you want to accomplish anything.
Number Six: Reject the victim mindset.
This is a specific aspect of the frame-shift technique, but it is so powerful that I place it as a separate point. Embracing the winner mindset will set you up for success, and more importantly happiness down the road. You will never find yourself begging for a ladder up, but rather will have the tenacity to help yourself up.
In a world where banks, governments, and corporations subconsciously create dependence, you will always have your own independence with the winner mindset.
Rejecting the victim mindset and embracing the winner mindset is simple.
Again, the key is switching your self-talk.
The victim says:
“I have not achieved success because I am _(Something unchangeable)_”
The winner says:
“I have not YET achieved success because I am _(Something changeable)_. But I will achieve success.”
Happiness is not gained through money or success, but rather through the pursuit of those things.
Which brings me to…
Number Seven: Build resilience.
It never gets easier. It does get better, grander, and more fulfilling.
You see, success at the end of the day is not about attaining a goal, but rather the realization of your inner strength. When you become resilient enough to face challenges every single day, then you will be successful. Seeing yourself overcoming a challenge, and then proving it to yourself is one of the greatest feelings alive.
Loving yourself means having the courage to leverage your own ego, assets, and status quo.
Life will become “easier” when you stop looking for easy.
A smooth sea shall seldom satisfy your senses as a skilled sailor.
Number Eight: Write things down.
My blog and my journal are what hold me accountable.
The words you and I write are a reflection of our values. To put our dreams into reality requires action, and writing your dreams down is the first step towards achieving your aspirations.
Your words, when written from a place of truth and strength, become your totem. When you need re-affirmation, reflection, or grounding, they will be reminders of who you aspire to be in this moment in time.
Write, and write often.
Number Nine: Clear your mind and let go.
To visualize more effectively, we must cut down the worries and other irrelevant thoughts vying for our attention.
In today’s world, our minds are often filled with monkey chatter. The reason many of us experience anxiety is largely a consequence of the psychological patterns we partake in.
How do you calm and smooth your mind of thoughts?
How do you steady the water in a drinking glass?
You do not do so by holding on tighter or placing more effort in trying to stabilize it.
When you let go and put it down, it will calm by its own accord.
There is a reason why people sleep better during the day. They don’t care if intrusive thoughts come or not, because an absence of sleep during the day does not trouble the mind. As a result the thoughts come, stay for their intended duration, and take their leave.
Such is the way to handle stress and worry.
Let the thoughts come, and say “Okay thought, I accept you. Stay for as long as you like. I am not going to focus on you. And if I do, that is okay.”
In this way of meditation, we are clearing our minds and lowering our anxiety. The result is a clearer mental picture of our vision, and a cleaner space to assemble ideas in order to reach that vision.
Here is a great video of the philosopher Alan Watts talking about the monkey chatter mind, courtesy of Tragedy & Hope’s YouTube channel.
That is all for now.
If there is one thing you can take from this article, it is this:
Reality is unclaimed land. Our visions are the settlers.
Until next time.