The Dangers of Visualisation

Do you use visualisation techniques?

(And I don’t mean the airy-fairy ‘think it and the Universe will throw piles of money, trophy wives and muscle cars at you, without you having to do aaaaanything!’ Creating outcomes and results requires that you take action and implement).

If you do use visualisation: are you doing it right?

It matters, because if you get it wrong you could be generating exactly the kind of results that you don’t want, and there’s a lot of neuroscience to back me up.

Here’s what I mean:

If you visualise an outcome, it’s exciting and it feels good – just look at yourself, winning in business, or marrying that tremendous person, or living in that villa!

But that kind of visualisation works directly against getting those outcomes.

Why?

Because your subconscious can’t tell the difference between a real experience, and a visualised experience. And I can prove that to you right now:

Close your eyes, and imagine a lemon.

Imagine you pick it up, see the yellow, you feel the dimpled skin, and the roundness.

Imagine you lift it to your mouth, and you notice the faint citric smell.

Bring it to your mouth and touch it with your lips…

And now: BITE into that thing!

Open your eyes.

Did your mouth water at the thought of biting into a lemon, or did you notice some other physical response?

Exactly.

It’s your brain taking the vision for real, and causing a neurochemical reaction in your body.

When you visualise an outcome, something similar happens.

Your subconscious experiences the outcome, takes it for real, proceeds to spend the afternoon watching Netflix, waiting for the outcome to show up.

But you know full well that without DOING something, outcomes don’t tend to show up. Funny how that works, eh?

Visualising an outcome isn’t wrong or bad, but it’s not enough.

The trick is to visualise behaviour, the kind that gets you the outcome.

If you want it to work, you’ll need to do it in two stages.

First, you visualise the outcome, and then the behaviour.

That still makes your subconscious experience the behaviour as already present and real, but now you have a powerful mental anchor, that you can use to drive yourself into the behaviour.

Without it, the anchor is ‘having a thing’, and where the hell is my thing and when will I get it? Hey universe, are you even listening?

So:

Want to get fit? Imagine going to the gym daily.

Want to clear the decks and get productive? Imagine yourself hard at work.

Want to get more clients? Imagine yourself taking action to get in front of people.

Want to own a muscle car or a fancy house? Imagine yourself saving up money.

That’s how you do visualisation right.

Because of my background in the monastery, I have a lot of experience with this kind of exercise, and sometimes I guide clients through the exercise.

It’s fun, and super effective.

Let me know if you want the experience for yourself…

Cheers,

Martin


Also published on Medium.

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