Visualization known as one form of mental rehearsal has been popular since the Soviets started using it back in the 1970s to compete in sports. Many athletes employ this technique, including Tiger Woods, Adam Małysz, Mohammed Ali, or Emily Cook who has been using it since her teen years. Seasoned athletes use vivid, highly detailed internal images and run-throughs of the entire performance, engaging all their senses in their visualization, and they combine their knowledge of the sports venue with it. World Champion Golfer, Jack Nicklaus has said: “I never hit a shot, not even in practice, without having a very sharp in-focus picture of it in my head”.
For someone like Matthew Nagle who is paralyzed in all four limbs, mental practices have transformed his entire way of life. Matthew had a silicon chip implanted in brain. Astonishingly, ater just 4 days of mental practice, he could: move a computer cursor on a screen, open email, play a computer game, and control robotic arm. While our circumstances may be less stringent than those that Matthew endures, it’s quite obvious that every person can benefit from mental practice.
Being able to make yourself feel certain of success can give you a massive edge in many professional and personal endeavors. Studies have shown that confidence is the deciding factor in making a sale, closing a deal, acing a test, nailing an audition, being hired or promoted. And lack of confidence can put you into the decrepit state where even though you have the intellectual resources to succeed, you don’t even make the attempt – you fail to ask for the sale, the raise, the help etc. You find yourself shying away from challenges, procrastinating on goals you set, earning less money, or even experiencing problems in your interactions with others.
Lack of confidence has the power to cause great problems in your life, not only because it makes you feel powerless and out of control, but also because it triggers you to act in ways that are usually counterproductive to what you want to accomplish. Visualization is one great way to help boost your confidence in many situations in your life.
If great athletes use this technique to enhance performance, how can it enhance your life and positively impact your confidence?
The key to feeling confident lies in a quote from Albert Einstein: “Imagination is more powerful than knowledge.” Even when your knowledge tells you to expect failure, you have the ability to consciously direct your imagination to override that impulse and feel certain of success anyway.
Studies in mental imagery have shown that the brain cannot distinguish from a real or an imaginary picture. The same chemicals release and the same electrical activity displays in the brain whether we are visualizing something or actually doing it. A repeated thought, or feeling, can actually become a belief over time. In other words, your brain is getting trained for actual performance during visualization. So seeing believes.
Using visualization to boost your confidence requires changing and improving your self-image, from the inside out. According to studies, low self-confidence is accompanied by a negative or limiting self- image, so creating a new, positive self-image through visualization will result in increased confidence.
Visualization to Create a More Confident You
- Take a few minutes to write down some ideas about the self-image you’d like to have. Obviously, confidence will be one of the traits you’ll include on your list, but also consider other traits you’d like to have, like compassion, discipline, ambitions, integrity, motivation, focus, and so
- Sit with a straight spine, close your eyes and call up a mental image of your current Does this person have any of the traits you’ve just written down? Most likely you’ll have at least one or two – even if you’d like them to be more prevalent.
- Now, imagine that those traits and the others you’ve chosen are beginning to become obvious in this mental image of your For example, you might see yourself standing a bit taller, smiling with happiness and purpose, or wearing an expression of peacefulness on your face.
- Keep adding more and more visual cues to this mental image of yourself until you can see yourself as the person you want to b Engage as many of the ive senses as you can in your visualization. Who are you with? Which emotions are you feeling right now? What are you wearing? Is there a smell in the air? What do you hear? What is your environment? It will probably take more than one- 10 minutes’ session to gain a clear and strong mental image of this new you, but do the best you can. The more you practice, the easier it will become.
- Now, as you look at this strong, confident person you created in your mind, begin to switch your focus slightly so that you are feeling and behaving as he or she does, mimicking his or her demeanor and postur Feel yourself growing more confident, self-assured, impassioned about your life, motivated about your goals, and so on.
See yourself interacting in your daily life with newfound confidence and enthusiasm! You’re interacting with people easily, making eye contact and moving through your life experiences with zest. Stay with this inner vision for as long as you can, making it feel as real as possible.
After returning to your normal activities, be sure to keep calling to mind a mental picture of this new you as often as you can, and make an attempt to feel and act like that person did during your visualization exercise. Eliminate any doubts, if they come to you. Repeat this practice often. Combine with meditation or an affirmation, for example: “I am courageous; I am strong”.
Rather than reacting to situations like you normally would, pause and remember that you are now a confident, self-assured person! How would such a person handle this situation?
The more you shit your focus to express this new self-image, the easier it will become to keep it going – and gradually become that person inside and out! If you mastered your self-image you can use the same steps to visualize the things you want to achieve professionally and in your private life.