The brain is an amazing machine, with the ability to both create and destroy. By harnessing this to our advantage, we can use the tools we are all born with to forge a better life
The first and most important function of our brain is to keep us safe. This means it is brilliant at magnifying any potential dangers, so we can steer clear of them.
But it doesn’t know the difference between what’s real and imagined. This means it is possible to control the way we feel, just by thinking about something.
Unfortunately, most people spend more time worrying about things they don’t want to happen – while we often find more success in focusing on what inspires us.
Successful people in all walks of life have a vision of what they want to achieve. Positive visualisation is simply using the power of our mind to imagine and create a vision of our future. Here are five ways that harnessing the power of positive visualisation can help you.
1. Providing inspiration
People tend to do things for one of two reasons: to move towards the feeling of pleasure, or to move away from pain. The trouble with moving away from pain is that, while it can be a catalyst for change, it’s a very draining way to motivate yourself.
Thinking about what you want to achieve, and staying focused on positive outcomes, is a powerful way to keep you feeling inspired. The more inspired you feel, the easier it will be to take action towards your goals.
Take five or 10 minutes every morning to quietly focus on your day ahead.
Visualise a positive, happy experience where you overcome any setbacks, and achieve all your goals with ease. It’s not always easy to focus on the positive, but this simple step can work wonders.
2. Overcoming setbacks
No matter what your goals are, inevitably you will face obstacles and setbacks. They are part of the process, but ensuring you are equipped in the right way can prevent them from bringing your progress to a halt.
One of my clients, Rochdale FC footballer Joe Thompson, used the power of positive visualisation. After conquering cancer, not once but twice, he was able to use his mind to stay focused on what he wanted to achieve, when everything around him was crumbling. He stayed focused on the future, returned to professional football, and scored the winning goal that saved Rochdale from relegation on the final day of last season.
Staying focused on the positive through setbacks and challenges can be hard, but positive visualisation, if you can master it, will always help to keep you on track.
3. Motivating others
When leading a team, keeping members positively focused on the future is a vital part of maintaining motivation.
In every business there are tasks that can become monotonous and uninspiring. If the team doesn’t have a clear focus on where they’re going and why, they can quickly lose their sense of motivation.
Regularly reminding them of the positive vision of the future is a vital part of inspirational leadership. Set aside time each week to talk about the overall business goals, making sure that everyone is aligned to the same strategy. People are happier when they feel part of something bigger – and making them feel included in the vision will help their wellbeing, too.
4. Boosting happiness
The brain is better at recognising the things that go wrong because it’s designed to protect us from danger. But when we focus more on what has gone wrong, rather than what’s gone well, we can feel pretty low.
Studies show that happier people are more productive, and this has a powerful cumulative effect when it comes to teamwork.
Focusing more on successes results in better performance. A simple way to introduce this is to start each team meeting by reviewing all of the things that have gone well.
Success leaves clues…
5. Reducing mistakes
In sport, the more athletes think about executing their skills successfully, the more chance they have of doing it when the time comes to perform on the field of play.
You can take this into all kinds of situations, such as giving a presentation. A lot of people fear public speaking, so they spend more time worrying about making mistakes than imagining it going really well and seeing themselves speaking with confidence, clarity, and composure.
You must see it to believe it. Build the practice of positive visualisation into your life, and watch your results start to soar.