When practicing visualization, most people only focus on the end result, the goal that they want to achieve. But as soon as they face a problem, this vision becomes clouded and sometimes disappears altogether. When you can learn to use visualization as a problem-solving tool, you will be able to overcome those obstacles that hedge the way toward your goals.
Victor Frankl, famed psychiatrist and former prisoner of the Nazi concentration camps, described an experience of using the power of visualization to rise above seemingly insurmountable odds and gain the strength to make it out alive.
It was during a wintry day in Poland, when he was led on a forced march through a field with a group of other prisoners. Cold from lack of clothing and suffering malnutrition, a debilitating cough overcame him and dropped him to his knees. Upon seeing this, one of the guards began to beat him with a club, yelling at him to get up or he would be left out there to die. Victor knew that he was deadly serious, having seen many other prisoners suffer that fate. He said to himself, “This is it for me”. He just couldn’t get up.
It was somewhere in that moment, in the middle of that blustery winter day, undernourished, sick and being beaten by the guard, that he began to visualize himself not in Poland, but standing at a pulpit giving a lecture about the “Psychology of the Death Camps”, before an audience of 200 rapt with attention. He imagined describing how some of the prisoners seemed to be able to survive the situation both psychologically and emotionally better than others. It was a brilliant lecture, all taking place within his mind’s eye and ear. He visualized telling his imaginary audience that somehow during that moment when he felt he would surely die, a miracle happened – he had found the strength to get up and continue walking.
Amazingly, in that moment, he was performing in reality exactly what he was visualizing. He struggled his way back to his feet and finished his work detail, all the while using the visualization of the speech he would give in the future, as a source of strength to get through the day. It was in 1990, nearly 50 years from that day, that Victor Frankl received a standing ovation before an audience of 7000, after delivering the exact speech that he visualized.
Visualization on its own, is by no means a new technique. It’s been around for quite a while and was made popular through the 1960′s book, Psycho-Cybernetics. But when faced with trials, most people’s vision becomes weak and they give up. If you can learn to apply visualization in overcoming these ‘trials of faith’, your greater vision will be achieved.
For example, let’s say one of your goals is to make a successful e-commerce site. You envision that in 1 years time, this site will provide you with net profits of $2000.00/month. Every day you repeat affirmations and visualize seeing the paychecks coming in the mail. For the first 3 months, things are going great, you have the site set up and Google is starting to index it. For certain keywords, you’re even showing up on the first two pages of the search results. You start averaging around $400 month.
Then 4 months into the process, something happens. Sales plummet, new competitors seem to be popping up all over the place, and it doesn’t even look like Google is indexing your site anymore. You make a whopping $3 in profits and your once bright vision dissipates into a cold, dark memory. What do you do?
You could be like most people and give up, rationalizing that “The market’s too crowded”, or “That initial success was only luck.” Or you could, at that moment, start visualizing yourself at the 12-month mark, telling a friend that you could’ve thrown up your arms in defeat, but instead, you changed your strategy and kept pushing on; And that you’re so glad you didn’t give up, or else you wouldn’t be where you are at this moment, making your $2,000.00 in net profits.
The key to overcoming the temporary setbacks that always seem to arise, is through visualizing exactly what you will do to overcome them. It’s that simple. By visualizing in this way, ideas and inspiration will come into your mind to help you find a solution, thereby supporting your vision.
Throughout the journey of achieving your goals, you may stumble. It’s part of the process. But if you can learn to use visualization in the moment of your trials, you’ll find the solutions and the strength necessary to pick yourself back up and continue on, keeping the brightness of your goal in the horizon of your mind.