Also known as Visual Mental Rehearsal, it's the process of imagining events or objects in your mind’s eye to achieve a desired outcome.
Most people can visualise. Let me give you an example – what colour is your door?
When you thought about that question, you saw an image of your door. That is visualisation. Some people get full HD colour images, and some get vague images. Either is good. If you are one of the very few people who simply can’t visualise, don’t panic – just go with the feeling of having what you want, rather than seeing the actual images.
Numerous studies have proven that the brain does not know the difference between imagining something or doing it. Therefore, visualising positive outcomes enables both the brain and the body to become responsive and conditioned to that result. In other words, we are kidding our subconscious mind into believing that something is happening in the way we want it to happen.
Learning to visualise is a skill you can learn, just like any other skill. As with any new skill, practice helps. You can strengthen your visualisation techniques when you start to make the images brighter and stronger, adding colour, movement, smell, sounds and – most importantly – emotion.
In a famous study that appeared in the North American Journal of Psychology, athletes who mentally practised a hip-flexor exercise had strength gains that were almost as significant as those in people who did the exercise five times a week for 15 minutes on a weight machine. How cool is that?
Many sportspeople and celebrities have used visualisation to increase their success for years.
Tiger Woods started using visualisation techniques from a very early age. He has been using the incredible power of his mind to visualise exactly where he wants his golf ball to stop for years.
Another great example is the famous Hollywood star and governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger. He has used visualisation techniques to fulfil his hopes and dreams from a very young age. When he first started as a bodybuilder, he used to visualise what it would be like to win the title of Mr Universe and then acted as though he’d already won it, which he did a few years later.
And there are many others, such as Oprah, Tony Robbins and Bill Gates, who have claimed that visualisation has played a significant role in their success.
What are your thoughts? Ever tried it? Sound a bit woo-woo?
It's had a huge impact on my life. Seriously, don't knock it until you've tried it!
Business & management coach, mentor, trainer, author, speaker, social entrepreneur, (and chief pot and bottle washer!)