The power of visualization has astounded me for many years. There is a spectrum ranging from athletic deployment of “mental rehearsal” techniques, all the way to the Law of Attraction.
I’m became curious about what is really going on when I realised how much I had automatically used visualisation in my life to achieve my goals.
I’m nothing special- We all do this on a daily basis.
We are manifesting, visualisation machines.
Our minds are designed to make our future a reality. I think this realisation is powerful when we back it up with the tools and the practice to visualise the most incredible, game-changing, abundant and adventure-filled future we can.
As Jack Canfield says:
“When we visualize goals as complete, it creates a conflict in our subconscious mind between what we are visualizing and what we currently have. Our minds are hard-wired to resolve such conflicts by working to create a current reality that matches the one we have envisioned.”
Am I talking about the Law of Attraction?
That depends on your view of the LOA. A lot of the chat I have heard when it comes to the Law of Attraction just comes across as wishful thinking.
Sitting on the couch, eating my KFC and visualising my six-back is probably not going to make that a reality.
The idea that if you just think about the things you want in life and you will get them is silly.
Lets take a closer look at how this phenomenon of turning ambitious dreams into rock-solid reality works… based on my real life experiences, so you can understand my view of the Law of Attraction- because this is a 100% real thing my friends!
What goes on in the Brain when we use visualization?
The Reticular Activating system (RAS) is the part of your brain that acts as a filter between your conscious and subconscious mind.
At every given moment our nervous system is swamped with information overload.
We take in 8 million bits of information at any one time, and the vast majority of that information we simply don’t need, so it is filtered into our backup hard drive- our subconscious.
Imagine you are walking through a busy airport. Crowds of people, babies crying, bright lights, a hum of noise. Your RAS takes it all in but filters most of this out of your attention.
But what happens when you hear your name called on the loud-speaker? Suddenly, you are alert, your conscious mind is activated and you create a plan of action.
Your conscious mind has set of specific instructions implanted in it, and one of these is the instruction:
“Listen out for my name”.
Your RAS does it’s job by filtering this message to your subconscious. Your subconscious receives the message and instead of filtering it out as background noise, it brings it to your attention.
Here is the kicker…
We can deliberately program our RAS to serve us. We can pre-program our filter to our advantage.
Your RAS thinks in pictures, not words.
By visualizing your desired outcomes on a regular basis, you are feeding the RAS images to look out for and it will start filtering images accordingly. Your RAS will begin paying attention to the things you have decided will help you achieve your goals- information that previously would have been filtered out as irrelevant.
Perhaps you have decided on a type of car you really want to buy. It is a clear goal with a clear picture in your mind. All of a sudden, you see this type of car everywhere. It isn’t that there are more of this type of car on the roads. Your filter has been realigned by your goal.
Now your RAS recognises the shape (visual image) of this car and makes sure your conscious mind sees it, without fail.
Your RAS can not tell the difference between reality and “synthetic reality”.
The RAS does not have a “bullshit detector”. We can use this fact as a powerful hack for higher performance. This is how athletes have used visualisation, often called mental rehearsal.
A 2004 study split 30 people to 2 groups. One group did physical training exercises with their little finger. The other group imagined doing the same training. Group 1 upped their finger strength by 53%, and group 2, those doing nothing but mentally rehearsing the movements upped strength by 35%. Amazing!
The basic logic behind this is that because the brain can not tell the difference between what is real and what is imagined, we can create the same neural networks that instruct the muscles what to do whether we are doing it or just imagining doing it.
Have you ever been in a position where you want to complete a goal but all you can bring to mind is the failed outcome, the exact opposite of what you want?
I have found myself doing this sometimes when I surf or snowboard. It is very annoying that my mind sometimes wants to manifest wipeouts.
Visualizing failure is to predestine failure. This is why I see worrying, as little more than negative visualisation.
When we worry about things we can nothing about, we could in fact be implanting the undesired outcome in our subconscious and thereby increasing the likelihood of its eventuating.
This is one way of understanding why negative people attract negative outcomes in their life.
The Law of Attraction in a Nutshell
Focus on what you want to attract in your life, as opposed to what you do not want to attract in your life.
TIME FOR ACTION
Here is a step by step guide on how you can use basic neuroscience and smart habits to start creating the outcomes you want in life:
- Get very clear on what you want and why
This is obvious, but is worth spelling out. Get really, really clear on your goals. You are not going to have much success turning a fuzzy idea of what you might want into rock solid reality.
Spend time writing down some ideas and then refine, condense, crystalize. Make sure you know WHY you want this goal, as this will make the WHAT so much clearer for your mind to imagine.
- Learn what type of Visualisation works for you and practice
Visualization is not necessarily the art of seeing your goal complete in your mind’s eye. We are all wired to be dominantly auditory, visual or kinesthetic learners. Some people find it very difficult to visualise, and some use other sensory experience such kinesthetic imagery (imagining touch, movement and feelings).
If you are struggling to visualise your goals, persist. Write them down. Spend time by yourself, in silence working to bring these goals to life in your mind’s eye.
Regular practice is important, and you will also benefit by using the 1st person perspective when you visualise. This is a very important point. First person perspective will be far more powerful than third person, because it is through the first person view that you will live this imagined reality.
Neuroplasticity describes the brain’s ability to morph according to the prevailing thought patterns it processes.
By “taking in the good” of your experiences and by imagining, absorbing and enriching the feelings of past, present or future success, you are literally changing the way your brain operates, and becoming a more positive person much more likely to achieve positive outcomes in life. This is because we have evolved to have a “negativity bias” which kept us alive in more dangerous times, when everything was trying to kill us.
Spend time practicing the feeling of achieving your goals- perhaps cultivating the sense of pride, accomplishment, contentment and happiness. This is powerful inner mastery work and as well as profound brain transformation work.
- Practice Visualization with FEELING
Thinking about and visualising a goal is just basic level visualisation. When you are a black belt visualiser, you use the power of emotions. You will 10x your visualisation results by adding the element of FEELING to your mental projections. As with Positive Neuroplasticity Training, this means to create and then absorb the emotions, the joy, excitement gratitude and pride of achieving your goals.
Research has shown that imaging combined with intense emotion create projections that can stay locked in our memories for our lifetime. So visualise with passionate intensity, with taste, sounds, senses and emotions.
- Establish Rituals and be in the Moment
Daily visualization is powerful, but if you spend all day visualising your future you are stepping away from the present moment. The way to create the right balance is to merge visualization into a daily ritual.
The precious few minutes after you wake up and before you go to sleep are the most powerful times to infuse your subconscious with a desired reality. What we feed our consciousness in those precious moments of live where we journey between sleep and conscious states, is said by experts to literally reprogram our mind and create our future.
Practicing visualization directly after meditation will create more powerful results, because during meditation you are more tuned in with your subconscious mind.
Once you have visualised for 5-10 minutes, thats it. Get back to the present moment in the knowledge your subconscious has absorbed your desires.
- Commit hard: Take MASSIVE ACTION
Change nothing and nothing changes. It’s amazing to understand what happens in the brain when we visualise, goal set and create affirmations, but to rely on this and and not commit to massive action is just lazy.
Yes we can use the “synthetic reality” hack to feed our subconscious with desired outcomes, but combining all these approaches with smart and hard effort will maximise your returns.
The one thing that brings your dreams and goals closer to reality is ACTION.
The law of attraction is superseded by other more universal laws which dictate that being a lazy shit will result in dreams probably not coming true. 😉
Furthermore, the more action you take that is in line with your goal, the more your RAS will filter in information that is in line with this.
- Surround yourself with Inspiration
We are all conditioned by those around us whether we like it or not. So make sure that the people around you are the type who’s qualities, passions and perspective are in line with your highest goals and dreams.
But it’s not just friends and people that influence you. Every moment of your life you are absorbing information. Remember your RAS. Remember that it is a filter. Program it the right way and it will filter out what does not help you and filter in what does. But feed your consciousness an endless torrent of crap and it will be overwhelmed. Just like a drain after days of torrential rain, your mind will fill up with crap.
Take action to decide what you absorb. Decide what inspires you and cultivate the people, media, stimulus, places, possessions that are aligned with that inspiration.
Your future is firmly in your own hands- you are a creative being. Go dream up your most beautiful and epic life.
Here are some interesting resources related to this post:
Positive Neuroplasticity Training with Rick Hansen
I hope you found this post useful, if so please share it with your friends.
It would be great to hear some of your own experiences. How have you used visualisation or any other brain ninja training to achieve your goals?