I’m often asked about visualization and how best to focus or direct our thoughts…
Working with your thoughts means becoming aware of your thoughts and knowing what they are. Sometimes this can be a daunting task, particularly when you realize that all day long you’re thinking away without ever really thinking about what you’re thinking about!
And then there are those hidden beliefs of yours—beliefs you don’t even know you have—that are responsible for generating their own nearly invisible thoughts. Yikes! Where to begin?
If you can begin to grasp that your world does indeed revolve around the thoughts you choose, then it becomes a no-brainer to realize that at least sometimes, preferably daily, it would be helpful to deliberately “think” the kind of thoughts you’d like to experience. I recommend starting with visualization, as anyone can set aside five minutes a day to visualize and it doesn’t cost a thing. Here are four rules I follow that help me visualize:
1. Don’t overdo it.
Never visualize for more than five minutes at a time, because it’s too easy to start daydreaming and get sidetracked if you try to do it longer. It’s better to have an intense five minutes than a poor fifteen or thirty; quality is far more important than quantity.
When I visualized five minutes a day about turning around my career at PricewaterhouseCoopers, that five minutes was up against all-day-long worrying and fretting about getting fired, yet it won out. The reason those five minutes prevailed despite the huge imbalance is because of our natural inclination to succeed, which makes visualizing all the more powerful.
2. Be gentle with yourself.
Go easy. Have patience. Don’t get mad at yourself if you find your thoughts turning negative or if you find that you sometimes worry throughout the day. I know what it’s like: You’re driving down the road, having an argument with someone in your mind, or you’re worried that things aren’t going as well as you’d like at work or at home.
When you start becoming aware of your thinking, you’ll start catching yourself a lot more often with some pretty surprising thoughts, and this can even happen while you visualize. That’s okay! At least you’re becoming aware in ways that you never were before, and this is a great starting point.
Even when I was visualizing happily walking up and down the hallways of PricewaterhouseCoopers, I would still catch myself worrying about getting fired. What did I do? What could I do? I just did what I could: I pressed on with my visualizing and did my best—and it was enough.
3. Feel the joy.
If you want to really energize and super-charge your thoughts, add emotion to them. Not all thoughts are the same. True, they all strive to become things, but apart from that, thoughts have different intensity levels; emotion is what turns up the volume.
Emotion is pure power, and when combined with visualizing, it makes things happen a whole lot faster. Feel the emotions related to whatever it is you want. Feel the excitement, the joy, the pleasure, the victory, or whatever it is that will accompany your thoughts’ manifestation.
Audience members often ask me what they should do if they are unable to see images in their mind’s eye. I tell them not to worry, as they’re perhaps even at an advantage. I tell them to drop the images entirely in exchange for clarity on the feelings they wish to feel. The more you can feel the joy, the faster the physical details of your life will fall into place yielding your manifestation.
4. Don’t visualize more than once a day.
First of all, your life and happiness spring from the present, not the future, and by dwelling too much on your hopes for tomorrow, you could easily begin taking for granted all that you already have to be happy about.
Secondly, if you dwell too much on your dreams coming true, you may become more and more aware, or conscious, of the difference between where you are today and where you want to go. The distance between where you now are and where you want to be may seem overwhelming, and you may begin to doubt yourself, lose confidence, and quit visualizing altogether.
This principle of thoughts become things is the be-all and end-all of how to live the life of your dreams. It’s really the only rule that matters, and understanding its existence is the first step in mastering your life and living your dreams.
You don’t have to understand how it really works. You just have to understand that it does work. Unfailingly. Never lose sight of that. Never let it go. And as you keep this understanding in the forefront of your mind, proof of its existence will surface in your life, and you’ll realize that it’s been there all along.