Creative Visualization

Creative visualization is the process of manifesting your goals or dreams by actively imagining the goal as if it has already been achieved. This uses all the senses (vision, hearing, feeling, smelling and tasting). It is a very powerful technique, which conditions the subconscious mind into helping you get what you want.

The technique has been used since time immemorial by some of the greatest inventors. Nikola Tesla, the man whose name is synonymous with alternating current, built his first electric motor in his mind, re-designing and testing it until it worked perfectly. Only then did he actually build it [1]. Many sports people train both physically and mentally to improve their performance. Mental training involves imagining actually training, feeling the pull and stretch of the muscles, feeling and hearing the heart pumping in the chest feeling and hearing the controlled breathing and seeing performance get better and better.

How to Visualize

The word visualize can be rather misleading. It implies that we should be able to see in our minds' eye. Not everyone can do this. My primary representational system is visual (I remember best what I see) but for some people its auditory (they remember mainly what they hear) and for others it's kinaesthetic (they go according to their feelings).

In fact during creative visualization, you should use all your senses. I usually start by imagining seeing whatever it is that I'm trying to achieve. Then I add in the sounds that I would hear, the feelings I would have on succeeding. If I can add smell and taste all the better. So it is best to start with your primary representational system. If you are kinaesthetic and you want to imagine a slice of toast:

  • Imagine feeling the roughness of the toast with your hands. Feel the edges of the toast and the corners. Feel its length and thickness. Feel its warmth.
  • Imagine biting into the toast and feeling it on your tongue. Then you chew it.
  • Hear the sound of the toast as you chew it.
  • By this time you should be tasting it and smelling it.
  • You will suddenly notice that you are also seeing the slice of toast.

Example of Creative Visualization

To give you an idea of how to incorporate all your senses in mental imagery I'm going to use a public speaking engagement as an example. If at all possible, you should try to visit the venue so that you get an idea of the look and feel of the place before your presentation. Then:

  • See yourself confidently addressing your audience. They are smiling and look very receptive. See them nodding in agreement with what you say.
  • Hear the audience clapping enthusiastically and loudly at the end of your talk
  • Smell the bouquet of flowers handed to you at the end of your presentation
  • Feel the sensation of elation and pleasure at your success. Intensify that feeling.
  • Feel the handshakes of members of the audience as they congratulate you
  • Hear them saying how good you were

Make your imagery as vivid as possible and do the imagery on a daily basis. You don't have to follow the order I've put down. You could start with what you would feel or what you would hear.

In his book, The Power of Visualization , Lee Pulos gives a detailed account of the whole process.

Preparing for Mental Imagery

Before you start using creative visualization you should first:

  • Determine your goals
  • For each goal write down what you would expect to see, hear, feel, taste and smell
  • Visualise morning and night

Further Reading 

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