We seem to be constantly looking for success. How can I succeed in my business? my relationships?
But we rarely ask ourselves – What defines success?
Will a few more digits in my bank account make me a success? or is it something else?
Success, as Winston Churchill has it, is “moving from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm”.
From my personal experience, and from my research thus far of successful individuals, it seems to be true. Perseverance seems to be the key to making things happen. Taking chance out of the equation.
Why? Because you never know. You never know how close you are, you never know the entire picture or all the variables in this fantastic game of life. Nobody does.
A very interesting component of “sudden” success stories, is our subconscious mind.
The subconscious has been the subject of extensive research over the years, yet it’s still considered to be shrouded in secrecy. it’s still difficult to determine its exact influence on how we think, how we act, and how we perceive ourselves.
Though, so far, research tells us that our subconscious acts as an automatic mechanism that is being fed by our beliefs, thoughts and actions, and is being guided by our self image (our mental projection of who in fact we are).
It is laid down beautifully in the book Psychcybernetics, by Maxwell Maltz
In his book, Dr Maltz explains the term “self-image” and its effects on our lives. In short, he says that each and every one of us has a certain perception of who in fact we are.
For example, I may see myself as a good, smart guy, who is not very successful in sports. That is my self-image.
My thoughts, my feelings, my beliefs and my actions will all have to align with this self-image that is being held by my subconscious.
Anything outside of this “comfort” zone, will immediately be rejected as a “lie”.
Furthermore, each and everyone of our experiences would be tailored to fit our self-image. If I happened to score a goal while playing soccer, I would probably consider it to be pure luck, definitely not an improvement in my playing skills. However, if I’d perform well on a math test, I’d certainly give credit to my “awesome calculus abilities”, and probably wouldn’t consider the option that the test was ridiculously easy.
This is my self-image in play.
The problem begins when your self-image has more destructive characteristics than being bad at soccer (important as that may be). For example – I’m not good at making money.
This core belief that manifests as your self-image, would become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Next time you’d be in a job interview, you wouldn’t notice it consciously, but you would be self-sabotaging yourself, and in effect, killing your chances to getting that job.
And the problem? Each and every time such “under the radar” self-sabotage would occur, you would have reinforced your belief of “I’m not good at making money” making it even more difficult to get rid of.
So, what can we do? What can we do if we too have destructive beliefs that ruin our lives and every chance of ever being happy?! (well, I’m a little exaggerating here).
This is The Answer. If you could do one thing, only one thing in your pursuit to change your life for the better, that would be it. (And a close contender would be meditation).
Now, we aren’t just talking about day-dreams. We’re talking about really “living” the experience in your mind.
In order to perform a successful visualization, you must first think of your goal – let’s continue with the belief presented above – “I’m not good at making money” – And turn it into a positive belief – “I’m experiencing abundance, I’m working in a job I love and I earn more money that I know what to do with”.
Now, take that statement, and see yourself living this life.
How would that feel like? How would that smell like? Taste like?
Embrace this experience using all 5 of your senses, feel every tiny detail, from the leather seats in your sport’s car, to the feeling of living in a california beach house. Exaggerate all you want, as long as you can feel it as vividly as possible.
Now, you may think to yourself, alright.. this is probably a little better than day dreaming, but still.. how is that going to make me successful?
Research proved again and again, that your mind cannot tell the difference, between an actual experience, and an experience vividly imagined.
One research I especially liked (it was cited in Psychocybernetics),
took 3 groups of people, and asked them to throw a few shots at the basket.
They calculated the average shot accuracy, and then told the groups to proceed as following:
Group number 1 was to do absolutely nothing.
Group number 2 was to practice throwing shots every day.
Group number 3 was to visualize practicing throwing shots every day.
After 3 weeks, the groups were asked to throw a few shoots again.
Group number 1 didn’t make any substantial improvement.
Group number 2 increased their average shot accuracy by 24%.
Group number 3 increased their average shot accuracy by 23% (a marginal difference).
There are many other researches done on piano players which show that visualization is just as effective as actually practicing.
And why is visualization so precious?
Because it allows you to gain experience in areas you might not have access too. Like certain jobs who require experience – but how can you get experience in a job if every job requires experience? Visualization.
Never give up on yourself, even the magical power of visualization takes time to perform. Your subconscious soaks in all of your efforts, you just have to get to that critical point in which real change happen.
And then, the most magical thing will happen to you.
You will wake up one morning, and be an NBA player. (just kidding, or not).
But you will find yourself acting just like the “hero” you in your visualization. You would suddenly get that job, start earning money, feel free to express yourself, talk freely with women, or any other limiting belief that you might have.
I believe in you, you can make it.
Now, you just have to believe in yourself, and start visualizing like it’s going out of fashion!
P.S: Every day, for 10-15 minutes would definitely do 🙂