Have you heard about the basketball experiment that proved you can vastly improve your chances for success by visualising the results you want? No?! Well, a psychologist named Alan Richardson split a group of basketball players into 3 groups:
- The first group practiced free-throws for 20 minutes a day.
- The second group visualised themselves making successful free-throws everyday, but didn’t physically practice.
- The third group didn’t practice or visualise – they did NADA!
Richardson found that the visualisation group VASTLY improved in their free-throwing ability, and were almost as good as the group who practiced daily!
What is Visualisation?
Visualisation is a lot like meditation, but once achieving a calm state of mind and body, you then focus your attention on a goal you want to achieve as though you’ve already achieved it successfully.
What’s the point?
The brain doesn’t know the difference between what’s real and what’s imagined. If we have tea with one of our most cherished friends, our bodies respond to this pleasant experience by being relaxed and comfortable.
But if we imagine that someone’s breaking into our home, our bodies respond to this frightening – although imagined experience – by tensing up, increasing our heart rates, and shortening our breath.
Real or imagined experiences, don’t matter to our bodies. They respond to both.
Train your imagination to work for you
There’s a network of neurons called the Reticular Activating System. The job of this network is to notice stimuli in the environment that corresponds with our typical thoughts and beliefs. In this way, the RAS filters out extra information that isn’t so relevant to our typical way of being. But sometimes the RAS screws us over by filtering out information that we need to achieve what we want!
So, if I want to run a successful business but deep down I really believe that I’m not capable, my RAS will be attuned to noticing micro-moments that confirm this belief. My RAS will hone in on my lack of confidence in a meeting, the rejection email in reply to the sales pitch, the mico-expression of contempt on my potential customer’s face.
If, however, I train my brain to see myself running my company successfully, my RAS will pick up on opportunities I can seize to succeed – I’ll notice a book in a bookshop that teaches the skill I currently want to improve in, I’ll notice an opportunity to let people know about my products and I’ll go for it, I’ll speak to my potential customers with way more trust in my abilities and this will give them the confidence to work with me.
“Energy flows where focus goes.”
No matter what your goals are for this week, this month or this year, you need to train your brain to work for you, not against you. You need your RAS to be noticing moments of opportunity, so that your body responds with confidence and jumps to take the action necessary to achieve your goals.
If you approach your goals just hoping you’ll get what you want – you won’t get very far. But, if you visualise the results you want often enough, your RAS will become certain that your outcome is real and will work with you to notice all the information you need to make it happen!
I want to reach my goals! How can I train my RAS?
To train your RAS, you need to consistently practice visualisation. Since the brain doesn’t know the difference between what’s real and what’s imagined, when you practice regularly, your brain stores the imagined desired scenario (your outcome) as a memory.
This means, your brain will think it’s already happened. And if it’s already happened – if you’ve already achieved this – THEN YOU CAN DO IT AGAIN!
To help you with your practice, Pete and I recorded the 15-minute visualisation we shared with everyone at the New Year Evolution Workshop. (If you were there, YOU ROCK!…You rock if you weren’t there too, but next time, you should be there!)
No matter what challenge you have coming up, don’t hope you get the results you want, CREATE THE RESULTS YOU WANT by setting yourself up for success.
Sign up for your complimentary Lifestyle Strategy Session with Emma to get crystal-clear on your vision and create strategies to get there.