Success is often an elusive term. We all want to be successful and most of us put all their strength and efforts into achieving that success – then, why do so many fail? Aristotle wrote about success over 2,000 years ago, saying “First, have a definite, clear, practical ideal; a goal, an objective. Second, have the necessary means to achieve your ends: wisdom, money, material and methods. Third, adjust all your means to that end.”
Success on its own doesn’t mean anything, it’s the goal that gives you a purpose and motivates you to pursue your dreams. So, in order to be successful, you first need to set yourself an objective and then follow your path with all the hard work and determination you can find.
Unfortunately, many of us get stuck somewhere along the way and never go beyond the initial goal stage. Having something to strive for is great, but if your objective is not supported by a clear plan or even a set of intentions, it won’t get you very far. So, what can you do to move in the direction of your goal and finally make your dreams come true?
It’s simple: visualize them!
People say that seeing is believing. Think about it – if you can’t see yourself as the successful business, the aspiring novelist or the well-respected artist, how could you expect to find the motivation to pursue your goals? To be able to reach your destination, you first need to know where you’re headed and this is especially true, when it comes to success. Through visualization, you can see the desired outcome and become to perceive the possibility of finally achieving it. Visualizing the success you’re looking for means catching a glimpse of the reality of this success – how your future will look like.
There is a vast amount of research to support the idea that visualizing your success is the single most effective tool that will help you achieve it. Brain imaging studies demonstrate that visualization activates the same neural circuits that are equivalent to a real-life action. What this essentially means is that, when you imagine doing something, you’re priming your brain to act in a way that is consistent with the image in your head. According to professor Aymeric Guillot from the University Claude Bernard Lyon in France, paths of interconnected nerve cells link what your body does to the impulses, generated in the brain to control it. You can use this to your advantage by utilizing the neural circuits by imagining yourself doing a particular movement. Legendary golf star Jack Nicklaus, for instance, was well-known for “practising” each shot in his mind before actually taking it.
What’s more, a study from 2007 published in the North American Journal of Psychology demonstrated that athletes, who visualized themselves performing specific hip-flexor exercises, ultimately had strength gains, comparable to those, who actually engaged in the exercise daily. There’s a number of studies that suggest a link between what your mind does and what your body think its doing and visualizing is one of the most effective techniques to utilize this odd phenomenon. In addition, when you repeatedly visualize yourself performing a particular task, you also condition your neural pathways, so when you finally go to actually doing the task, it feels familiar and easier to perform.
On a purely psychological level, visualization can help you feel more confident and more motivated to pursue your goals. If you lack a clear picture of what your success looks like, there is little chance you’ll know how to achieve it. Visualizing the details of your future life can give you a starting point, help you understand what you need to do in order to get there – while boosting your confidence and belief in yourself at the same time.
Increased motivation is often the first thing you’ll notice, when you start visualizing your success. What’s more, the simple process of “seeing” your dreams become true will flood your mind with creative ideas that will help you achieve your goal in the long-term. Daily visualizing of your success can often wake you up in the middle of the night and make you feel inspired. This is due to the fact that visualization prompts the brain to work on the task at hand, even when you’re essentially thinking about something else – it makes the visualized success your mind’s primary goal.
So, how can you start visualizing the success you’re looking for? Some people find writing it down key to the successful and efficient visualization. Jot down a few bullet points or, if you feel more creative, create a detailed description of each aspect of your future life. A couple of elaborations will unleash your creativity and imagination and help you fill in the picture. When it comes to the actual process of visualization, find a calm and quiet place and relax. Meditation can often help you, especially if you’re coping with high stress levels. Once you’re there, make your visualization as vivid as possible – focus on each aspect and make it look and feel real. Think about not only what you see yourself doing, but how you’re doing it.
Visualization is, essentially, a tool that will help you understand what separates your present “you” from your desired future. It will boost your confidence, condition you to pursue your goals and give you the motivation you need to start working towards the success you’re looking for.