This is a different kind of post on health and wellness. Dreaming, setting goals, and working toward those goals plays an important role in our overall well-being.
I have a lot of goals these days, and I’m applying creative visualization as I work to achieve them. Here’s a Toastmaster speech I gave a few months ago. If you can’t access the video, the text is below.
Have you ever dared to dream an impossible dream, or did your dream seem so far reaching that you buried it deep within your heart, where it left its mark in the form of a little crack, a reminder that it still claims a piece of who you are?
Did you try for that dream, but failed? Or are you one of the few who achieved their impossible dream? Why does one person fail yet another succeed? How do the successful ones do it?
Does the old saying “practice makes perfect” apply? Yes. But there are various ways to practice. Take Jim Thorpe, for example, a Native American who proved to be one of the greatest athletes of all time. In 1912, Jim and the other American athletes who qualified to compete in the summer Olympics headed to Stockholm on a voyage across the Atlantic.
While the other athletes trained on deck, Jim kicked back in a lounge chair, relaxing with his eyes closed. A reporter named Francis Albertani asked, “What are you doing, Jim? Thinking of your Uncle Sitting Bull?”
“No,” Jim said. “I’m practicing the broad jump. I’ve just jumped 23 feet, eight inches. I think I can win it.” He did win, taking the gold in both the decathlon and pentathlon.
Jim Thorpe practiced creative visualization. I have no doubt it played a huge role in his success as an Olympian, a star NFL running back, and a major league baseball player. I don’t know if he was a pioneer in visualization for athletes, but nowadays, it’s a common technique athletes use to perfect their skills.
First, what is creative visualization? It’s similar to day dreaming. We use the power of the mind to achieve goals, become successful, be healed of an illness or disease, manage pain, grow spiritually, or pretty much accomplish anything we wish by envisioning the desired result in our mind’s eye.
According to Rich Avery of Life Compass Blog, “It’s not just about seeing it clearly, but hearing it, smelling it, and tasting it, too.” He explains, “When you continuously focus on an idea or image in your mind, you program every cell in your body and mind to work toward achieving that idea or image. Once you impress it into the subconscious part of you, it eventually becomes ‘fixed’ and you automatically attract and move towards that which you desire.”
Some may consider this nonsense. Others think of it as mind over matter or the power of positive thinking. Still, others call it the law of attraction, but the law of attraction, in my opinion, takes matters to a higher level than mind over matter or the power of positive thinking.
Rhonda Byrne, Author of the book, The Secret explains, “Law of attraction is forming your entire life experience and it is doing that through your thoughts. When you are visualizing, you are emitting a powerful frequency out into the Universe.”
The law of attraction can have positive or negative effects, depending on what kind of thoughts people dwell on. If you’re around negative people, chances are you’ll adapt similar thinking.
Naysayers are dream stealers. Tune them out. Let them consider themselves practical thinkers, but let them apply those thoughts to their own lives, not yours. And certainly not mine.
Research reveals how powerful our minds are. Not only do our thoughts and beliefs affect our moods and behavior, but thoughts physiologically affect our bodies.
For instance, there have been studies done on people with multiple personality disorder, which I found to be fascinating. Various personalities in one patient exhibited distinct illnesses or conditions from the other personalities. So Patient A had a persona who had diabetes and his blood sugar levels were different from the blood sugar levels in the other personas of Patient A.
Patient B had a personality who wore eyeglasses, and that personality had different eye pressure readings than the other personalities in Patient B.
There are also instances of people who have discovered wounds or scars on their bodies after dreaming they suffered an injury, such as some people who dreamed they were caught in a fire and then discovered burn marks on their skin when they woke up.
Our thoughts hold power and can affect not only our own bodies. For example, some Tibetan Monks viewed an ultrasound of a cancerous tumor in a woman and then prayed it out of existence.
Does that blow your mind or what? There’s even a video of it on YouTube.
(The healing can be viewed about five minutes into this video. He explains it before that.)
Successful people from all walks of life practice creative visualization to achieve their goals. You might be surprised to learn many famous people throughout history have gained success by applying this same method.
Albert Einstein visualized each stage on the way to his goals. He said, “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”
Shakespeare said, “Nothing is, unless our thinking makes it so.”
The concept of visualization can even be found in the Bible under Mark 11:24: “What things so ever you desire, when you pray, believe that you received them, and you shall have them.”
When I practice creative visualization, I like to make it a prayer because I believe it’s is a gift from God, just as life itself is a gift from God.
Dig up those dreams, those buried dreams, and breathe life back into them. You can use creative visualization to become the person you’re meant to be. So dare to dream the impossible dream, over and over and over…until it’s no longer a dream, but becomes your reality.
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Do you have goals you’re working toward? How do you go about it? Have you ever tried creative visualization? Please share how you fulfill your dreams. We’d love to hear what you have to say!
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I know this works. I found an ad the Love Inspired authors took out in RWR magazine to celebrate 15 years of publications for the line in July 2012. I took the page and tacked it over my computer. I highlighted the authors I had read and set a goal to read the others. I wrote my name at the bottom of the list. In Jan of 2013 I was offered a contract. In October of 2015 my third book with them will be on the self. I think it workd, if nothing else it helps you “see” your goals.
That’s really cool, Jolene! You’re right about it helping us “see” our goals! So nice to have you stop by!
What works for me is breaking my goals up into small, achievable steps, then working on those individual tasks. I have to admit to a good bit of skepticism when it comes to things like The Secret, but there’s a lot to be said for positive thinking, prayer, and surrounding oneself with positive people.
Jennette – Small, achievable steps work well. And working on the individual tasks. Baby steps usually work best for me! I think a lot of people are skeptical of The Secret, but that’s okay. Whatever works best for each of us is the way to go. Positive thinking, prayer, and surrounding ourselves with positive people can’t be understated. Those are super important in my book!
That does blow my mind.
Jack Nicklaus the golfer was a prisoner of war, and while he couldn’t practice his swing, he visualized hitting the ball. When he came home, he won countless tournaments and is considered the greatest player ever to play the game of golf.
Alex – I didn’t know that about Jack Nicklaus. Your comment gave me chills! So creative visualization served as a survival tool for him, but also set him up for huge success and fulfillment. Now that’s what I’m talking about! Yay for Jack Nicklaus. Thanks for telling about him, Alex!
I didn’t know that either, wow.
Wow, what an epic speech! Well done, and kudos on nailing this speech-giving thing. *confetti, streamers* 25-odd years ago, my sister and I bought a book called ‘Creative Visualization’ by Shakti Gawain. We started to read that book, and that was really the beginning of my spiritual journey. Very powerful practice. As the meme on Facebook said today, Ask for what you want and be prepared to receive it!
Thank you, Yvette! You’re too kind. How cool that you found that book 25 years ago! Yes, it’s powerful. We don’t realize how powerful our thoughts are. I haven’t been on FB much lately. I’ll have to look for that meme. I like what it says! Yes, be prepared to receive it!
Great post, Lynn. It’s funny I never used to train outside of TKD lessons though running cross country must have been a huge help in the fitness department but I always remember the older ones bragging about training all the time and they were never the ones who won anything. I used to always go deep into myself leading up to a fight. It gave me great focus. I’d love some of that now lol.