Visualisation as a Tool for Success
As a young athlete preparing for competition, I was introduced to a powerful tool called “Visualisation”. It appeared I had been using it for some time, without knowing what it was. If I saw an athlete perform a move that I’d never seen before, I would replay it in my head, over and over until I felt I was competent at doing it. I’d watch videos of athletes over and over, and this “learning” technique would make the next step of actually performing the move more achievable.
Visualisation though, is not just a tool for athletes. It is used by all of us, in all areas of life, whether we are aware of it or not. The Open University has a section on visualisation techniques for their students, it is not a new concept. It is used by self-help coaches such as Tony Robbins, athletes like Tiger Woods and business men like Bill Gates. But how do we make it work for us, how do we absorb the usefulness of such a powerful tool?
Like any new skill, practice makes perfect. Creating a clear picture of what it is you want to achieve is a basic starting point. Learning to see, hear, smell and even mentally touching the goal, will lead you closer to achieving your goal in reality. How are you ever going to shift your body weight for example, if you still believe in your heart that you are overweight? We all have an image of ourselves that can be changed with cognitive visualisation. Learning to master this skill is a must for shifting your reality.
Think of it as a stage actor, rehearsals are put in place so that the end product is as seamless as possible. At first, there are lines forgotten, props missing and characters, far from perfect mistime and fumble through their movements. But given the constant repetition of rehearsal, soon the production has flow. Actors appear to forget that they are performing in front of a crowd and become their character. The performance is now ready for opening night. This is an excellent example of the effectiveness of rehearsal. Just like muscles need to be trained to adapt a new skill, the mind needs to be stimulated to learn new neural adaptations. Never underestimate the power of setting aside a few minutes each day to learn how to adapt your thinking, and change your outcome.
The next video is taken from a TV show called the Human Mind by Prof. Robert Winston. It details the basic concept of visualisation and puts it into the sporting arena with an Olympic hopeful.