Wednesday, September 06, 2006


I've talked a lot about affirmations in previous posts. Affirmations are obviously an auditory technique, although it's sometimes a good idea to write affirmations down, over and over again, like doing lines at school!

Another, visual, strategy I've used a lot over the years is visualisation.

I first came across the technique in a book called Creative Visualisation by Shakti Gawain. It's the acknowledged classic in this field. You don't need to read any other book on the subject. I've been dipping into my copy for the last 8 years. It's beautifully written with admirable clarity.

I like creative visualisation because it is easy and simple. It employs an intuitive, imaginative approach to goal realisation rather than the logical, linear approaches favoured in business manuals. As Shakti Gawain explains: "Creative visualisation is the technique of using your imagination to create what you want in your life."

I've used the technique to prepare me for giving presentations and other situations which are potentially stressful and liable to pitfalls. What you do is go through the whole event in your mind, picturing it happening perfectly. This approach has been used a lot by athletes and sports people. It's sometimes called mental rehearsal. (A frequently cited study demonstrated the power of mental rehearsal when two basketball teams prepared for a competition. One team trained physically, whereas the other team could only use mental rehearsal. It was the latter team that performed best in the actual event.)

Visualisation is particularly good for mastering motor skills. I employed it when I decided to learn to drive, which I finally knuckled down to aged 50. It's the hardest thing I've ever done but I know that visualisation helped me enormously, particularly when it came to the test itself. I'm pleased to report that I passed first time.

I created a collage of images when I started to learn to drive. One image was of me driving a smart red sports car. I also had a picture showing a full driving licence with my name on it. This "treasure map" provided further visual reinforcement for my goal.

You can use this approach to picturing having a successful day when you first get up in the morning. Even when things do go wrong or don't work out as you intended, I find that this preparatory work gives you a quiet, inner strength which makes you more resilient and flexible.


Kim Ayres said...

It wasn't a small red sports car we drove in to Auchencairn the other night ;)

Mark Williams said...

OK, Kim, that part of the visualisation didn't materialise. I'm still working on it!