Hey everyone, I trust you’re all well. A bit of NLP for you this time; the other day, as I was driving home from a particularly upbeat training session, I got to thinking about how important imagery was to us…well, come on….there’s not much else to think about whilst driving on the motorway is there? It’s all around us – imagery I mean (not boring motorways), and IMHO we can’t live without it. Even words, if you think about it, are a form of imagery. Where would my blogging be if I couldn’t fall back on images in the form of words and pictures?
It’s because imagery is so important to us that we can use it very effectively in the coaching world. Imagery and visualising images is such an important tool that I can’t believe I haven’t written on it until now…Ooops! I aim to remedy that right now with this blog, I hope you find it interesting…as always, please feel free to drop me a line if you’d like to discuss further – very competitive rates! LoL.
So, what is visualisation? I’m glad you asked that – visualisation is generally considered to be any technique that creates images, diagrams, pictures or animations to communicate a message.
Visualisation through imagery has been used to communicate ideas since the beginning of man (and that’s way before I was born). We all know of cave paintings, Egyptian hieroglyphs, Greek geometry and the list goes on. Visualisation nowadays gets into the worlds of science, education, engineering and even interactive computer based multimedia.
The cool bit is that those images or those pictures don’t necessarily only have to live outside in the world around us; they can live inside our own minds too. Sounds kind of obvious huh? Well, it is really; we all picture things much of the time – we even do it when we’re asleep. So, why don’t more of us know how to control these images? Why aren’t more of us visualising the things we want more often? Well, maybe because I haven’t written a blog on it until now!! (Here I go again!).
Ok, so now I’ve rambled on too long. Wouldn’t you like to know how to expand your ability to visualise? Wouldn’t you like someone to provide you with some easy steps so that your powers of visualisation increase almost overnight? Do you want to know how? Ok, ok I’ll get on with it:
There are 4 real parts of visualisation that I’ve outlined. You can learn and practice them whenever you like really, but as soon as you start I can guarantee that you’ll see things differently (See what I did there?).
1. How Often?
Frequency – The first aspect of visualisation is frequency. This is number of times that you visualise yourself performing in an excellent way. Just the same way as, if you beat yourself up too often you’ll end up believing it, the opposite applies too (cool huh?). The more frequently you repeat a clear mental picture of your very best performance or result, the more rapidly it will appear as part of your reality.
2. How Long?
Duration – The second element of visualisation has to do with the length of time you can hold the picture in your mind each time you replay it. If you’re really working at this, you might be able to hold a mental picture of yourself performing at your best for several minutes, or even longer. The longer you can hold your mental picture, the more deeply it will be impressed into your subconscious.
3. How Clearly?
Vividness – This third element of visualisation has a direct relationship between how clearly you can see your goal in your mind and how quickly it transfers into your reality. When you set a new goal for yourself, your image of this goal will probably have been vague or fuzzy, or even in black and white or grey…just not too clear at all. However, the more often you repeat it mentally, the clearer it becomes for you. Have you ever witnessed this? Try imagining the image as a TV picture…Huh? What are you talking about Shaun? Haha, relax…with a TV picture you can simply pick up the remote and alter any of the picture qualities whenever you wish…can’t you? Well, the cool thing is that you can do this with your mental images too. Just form the image of a contrast switch, a colour switch, a volume switch or any switch that you can control. If your image appears in black and white simply adjust your colour switch, if the image is fuzzy simply adjust the contrast and so on…try it…it works! Eventually, it will become crystal clear. At that point, the goal will suddenly appear in your world exactly as you imagined it.
4. How Intensely?
Intensity – The fourth element of visualisation has to do with the amount of emotion you attach to your image. Some people might argue that this is the most important and powerful part of the visualisation process. Sometimes, if your emotion is intense enough and your visual image is clear enough, you will immediately achieve it.
Watch out though, the whole process can help you or it can hurt you. Like nature, the power of visualisation is neutral. It’s a double-edged sword so make sure you appreciate that it can cut in either direction. Visualisation can either make you a success or make you a failure – like always, it’s up to you really. Visualisation brings you whatever you vividly and intensely imagine, whether good or bad.
Have fun with this, but first another word of warning – if you’re practicing this on the train make sure you know the person sitting opposite or those faces you’re pulling are going to attract more attention that you’d like.