Your Attention Will Manifest Your Reality
Back in my ultra-running days, I used to write post-race reports before race day. I’d stop at my favorite café, sit by a sunny window, and script the play-by-play narrative of how the race shook out. Though it was mostly fun to pretend what might happen at the event, I took this practice very seriously. As far as I was concerned, my mental training was as imperative as physical training.
Turns out I was on the right track. Modern day olympic athletes, in fact, actively train both their physical and mental prowess. It may come as a surprise that, on average, they break it into a 70/30 ratio: 70% mental prep and 30% physical prep. Seems a little backwards, doesn’t it?
It’s definitely not. Because your nervous system can’t tell the difference between a well-imagined thought and reality. When you think it, you become it.
High performing athletes spend more than twice as much time training their brains as they do their body. They know that imagining an outcome has a huge affect on overall performance. It’s why basketball coaches have players practice free throws while sitting on a couch with their eyes closed. It’s also why entrepreneurs spend loads of time (and sometimes big bucks) determining their vision and mission statements, trajectories for success.
Whatever the case, they are giving their brains a chance to witness what success looks like. To experience how it feels in their skin. How it rolls off the tongue. And anyone who practices this sort of active imagery is far more likely to achieve what’s being imagined.
Imagery, however, can work in the opposite direction, too. Mostly because the brain is not discerning. It doesn’t judge good or bad. It’s like that old saying, “Garbage in, garbage out.” Good imagery equals good results, but a flood of strained and stressful input serves only to create more of it.
Your brain doesn’t care what you focus on. But whatever it is, it will deliver the same.
Imagine if your friends and colleagues spoke to you the same way your brain did. Would they be uplifting conversationalists who help you grow as a human being, or would they be total downer assholes whose critical words make you want to punch them in the face?
Research shows that adults have a positive internal dialogue only 23% of the time. Which means only one in four comments is productive. Seriously, would you work for a someone who strung you along like this? Of course you wouldn’t. So why do you do it to yourself?
The challenge is to hold an image of your success without first needing data to convince you that success is possible. Waiting for a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel is to not move at all. To be stagnant forever.
Here’s what I do. Every morning I wake up and read a stack of index cards. Each card has a statement that “predicts” my yet-unattained future. Here are some from my current batch:
1. I wrote, and was paid for 20 articles in 2017
2. I published a business book with a big publishing house
3. I work with at least 2 new clients per month
4. I live part of my year in a foreign country
5. Each month my savings account is bigger than the previous month
6. I own land and a tiny house
7. I am in a vibrant, nourishing, and mutually-beneficial relationship
8. I walked across the USA in 2018
And yes, there are more.
I’ve been doing this index card thing for about six years and have had to redo the stack multiple times. Why? Because everything comes true. Everything. My advice – be as specific as possible about the goal so the universe knows exactly what to do to help you make it happen. Don’t confuse the goal’s manifestation with ambiguity. You can grow every aspect of your life with this ‘pretending tool’.
Side note: No matter what sort of business you are in, you can also help your customers grow their experience with your brand by tapping into their imagination, too. Once you get to know them and their story, you’ll be able to incorporate tons of “just imagine” statements into your interactions with them. You can use imagery to empower them to envision their own successful future.
But whatever the case, be ready for success to happen. Because once you start imagining a successful future on a consistent and regular basis, it will play out. I’ve got hundreds of index cards to prove it.
Tom Griffen is a highly sought after trainer and presenter whose message transcends industries. He’ll help you raise the bar while you reinvent your business.