Studies confirm, human brain does not differentiate between the real memories and imagined ones. When we imagine something, our brain can easily memorize it as a real experience. This technique can be used to learn and reinforce the skills: through visualization of the skills’ improvement, we can really improve them!
Visualization is widely used in sports training. It has been noticed that visualization of certain physical skills increases confidence and motivation in athletes as well as has a positive effect on their physical condition. Medical observations of athletes confirm that the human brain responds in a similar way to the real physical activities and to their mental practices.
Interestingly, it is important to visualize the process and not only the outcome. Conducting an experiment with two groups of students, researchers concluded that only those students who visualized the process of doing well in an exam achieved the desired results. It was assumed that the visualization of the process helped students to focus their attention on the necessary steps and reduced their anxiety.
Despite its obvious benefits, the technique of visualization is not entirely simple. It is essential to practice it constantly in order to achieve a sound result.
Below I give a few life hacks for those who would like to give it a try, explaining what to look at. The key moment here is what we focus at. Focusing on a particular goal or skill through its visualization causes our brain to prioritize this particular goal or skill and to work towards its achievement. If we focus on success, our brain activates towards its achievement. Our focus on certain negative aspects may cause our deeper sinking into negativism. This simple rule of the concentration helps to channel your energy towards the achievement of the desired outcome.
How to improve your new skill by visualizing a skill you have already mastered
While learning a new skill we can achieve positive knowledge quicker if we connect this new skill with the one we have already mastered. This will help to reduce time, simultaneously increasing confidence and success. What we need to do is to visualize one of our existing successful skills. Once we choose such a skill, we need to visualize and feel it through our senses – touch, sight and hearing. What do we see, hear and feel when we think about this particular skill? What do we see, hear and feel when we imagine we are using this skill? It is essential to picture the skill’s usage with as many nuances as possible. The best way to process this knowledge is to write it down in all details.
As the next step, we focus on a skill we would like to acquire. We imagine that we have already mastered that skill. How does it make us feel? We then start to assess our senses and feelings exactly in the same way as we have done thinking about the skill, which we already have. As in the first case, we need to register all details, including sounds, brightness of the image, perceptions, etc. Now it is the time to compare two images: one of the skill that we have already acquired and the other one, of the skill, which we want to develop.
Do you notice any differences? This is where the real magic begins! Take the filters of the former skill and place them over the second one. For example: if you have a clear image of the first skill but the image of the second one is pale, add some colors to the second image; you may decide to play with it in your imagination. Once this is done, you will feel as if you have already successfully acquired this new skill.
This feeling of success, pride and gratitude is a powerful resource state, which motivates and encourages our resolution to master a new skill.
If you want to learn more about the science behind visualization, you may like to read this article:
If you are interested in the effects of visualization on physical performance, you may like to read these articles:
A study in the importance of the process of the visualization:
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“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players…”
(W. Shakespeare, As You Like It)
We believe that each and every one of us is not only a leading actor but first and foremost a writer of our own destiny. Overwhelmed by life events, we may unintentionally forget that we are the sole playwrights of our own lives. We may even unwittingly drop or lose the thread of our unfolding life story. Then, we start questioning ourselves and let others do the writing for us. Doesn’t this happen to all of us occasionally? The best thing we can do is to resume the leadership as soon as we can: only we should write the play of our life!
With the renewed confidence and new skills, we design new perspectives. Coaching and training are the best instruments we use to achieve this goal.