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How to Visualize Success as a Creative


I don't want to get all WooWoo here, but visualization does seem to work. Historically visualization and meditation has been a spiritual tool, but we know now that neither require a religious or supernatural premise. If you are religious, that's great. There are centuries of examples and teachings to help you expand and develop these skills within your faith tradition, but if you're not religious, visualization still works.

It has to to with our brains, and the way we're built. I am going to quickly get in over my head, but there have been numerous studies that indicate that meditation and visualization have definite, positive effects. Apart from any religious considerations (I'll leave that for the spiritual directors and theologians out there), when you focus your attention on a problem, or even a desire, you can change the way you address that problem, or the way you pursue that dream. There are actual physical changes in our brains that make the visualized activity almost real.

We love to practice for future events. That's why we ask a girl out in the mirror, before we pitch the idea of the date in person. Visualization triggers the brain to act in much the same way as it would in a real life situation. So not only does it help you to imagine a future event, it can help with relaxation, pain reduction, concentration, lowering blood pressure and increased physical performance. Athletes visualize success all the time. They can imagine a scenario in the future, and feel what it will be like to achieve their goal. They can practice the steps to a goal so that neural pathways are created that improve performance when repeated in real life. It's like they've done it before, so they're better at it.

It's not just monks and athletes though, there are all sorts of academics, and business folks visualizing for success too. It doesn't take a great amount of training, and the results can start showing up in a short period of time.

So how does visualization help with success? Who cares how it works? I'm just delighted that it does. This is not magic, and there is no guarantee that people who visualize will get what they want. But what visualization does do is allow people to see and feel what it is like to succeed. Imagining the steps, the feelings, the pathway to success can make us more subtly aware of small, incremental steps and decisions that move us along that road. You recognize the feelings associated with success, and you can imagine yourself at the next stage of the journey.

So give it a try. Work in some time every day to visualize what success looks and feels like to you. I know you're going to be a huge success in whatever you attempt... I've already seen it myself.

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