You may think about being successful all of the time, but your brain may have a different idea. Here's how to bridge that gap.
Advertisers spend millions of dollars to motivate us into purchasing things that we probably don't even need.
Think about automobile commercials. In them, you virtually experience the speed, smell, and luxury associated with owning the car of your dreams. This kinesthetic experience may be very real, even pleasurable, for the 30-second duration of the commercial. But if you continue to think about owning that pricey vehicle it will create something in your brain called cognitive dissonance. This is the feeling of discomfort that results from holding two conflicting beliefs; the belief that you really want and deserve that car and the belief that you simply can't afford it.
You experience a similar tug of war all of the time: You work tirelessly, for long hours, hustling for a dream you are not yet living.
What many people don't realize is that we have the power to program our subconscious minds to assist us in getting what we want. It may seem too simple; for some it may seem too "out there," but the act of visualizing your dreams can make them more achievable.
Why is visualization so powerful? As you see and feel images that portray your desired outcome, the cognitive dissonance in your brain increases. But this is a good thing. The increased discomfort sends a message to your brain that you are not giving up on this goal. The brain wants to create balance so it will change directions to figure out ways to make your success happen.
As we routinely and intentionally visualize a desired outcome, and step into the belief that it is possible, our brains increase the motivation to make it happen. We become more and more determined to do whatever it takes to achieve our goals.
In addition to increased motivation, you will begin to get creative ideas that will help you to achieve your goal. You may wake up at 3 a.m. with a brilliant thought, or experience a download of pure genius while in the shower. This is because visualization prompts the brain to "wake up" to messages and resources that it previously shut out. Now that it's well aware of your goal it assists you in becoming more aware and open to finding the answers.
At the beginning of his career Jack Canfield, best-selling author and one of our earliest champions of peak-performance, had never earned more than $8,000 in a year. When he began daily visualization, focused on the goal of earning $100,000 in a year, ideas began to surface after only 30 days. These ideas were always available to him but had never occurred to him before. When he began to program his mind through visualization, his brain found the solutions to his $100,000 problem. Canfield achieved this goal in less than one year and has continued to increase his income, happiness, and success over the years. He even created a hugely successful career in teaching and inspiring others to do the same.
"Your brain wants to solve your problems," says Canfield. "When you are 'stuck' it simply means that your mind isn't open to the solutions. Visualization releases this resistance and allows the brain to do its job and make you happy."
So what have you got to lose? Use these simple steps to incorporate visualization into your daily routine for 30-60 days and see what happens!
Decide exactly what you want.
Your goal must be very clear and specific. Let's say that you want to increase profits by 30%. Don't get caught up in the "how and why," those will come to you. Simply get very clear on your goal and make it believable, yet just out of reach. As you become an expert at visualization you will naturally set your sights higher.
Choose an image.
Choose at least one image to hold in your mind's eye as you go through your daily visualization process. How will it feel to increase profits by 30%? How will you know that you have succeeded? Capture a visual of your celebration or of taking that vacation that you've put off for five years.
After you become skilled at visualization you will be able to do it anywhere, but in the beginning a quiet space is a must. Make yourself comfortable and focus on your breathing. Relax. Now see that image of success and allow your mind to wander with the image. See yourself on that vacation. Imagine taking those checks to the bank. Step into the feeling and power of this image; make it very real. It's important to hold this heightened feeling for at least 20 seconds, but 10-15 minutes is ideal.
Be consistent and don't give up. And then come tell us about how you made your dream became reality!
MARLA TABAKA is a small-business adviser who helps entrepreneurs around the globe grow their businesses well into the millions. She speaks widely on combining strategic and creative thinking for optimum success and happiness. @MarlaTabaka