Close your eyes and imagine meeting someone you really like.
Take your time and add as much detail to the image as you can: their facial expression, what they’re wearing, what they’re doing, where you’re meeting them, the time of the day, and so on. Let yourself smile as you enjoy being in this person’s presence. And then open your eyes.
You just stimulated the same areas of your brain that would have been stimulated had you actually met them in real life.
This phenomenon is very powerful. Olympic athletes make visualization a major part of their training.
I have begun to practice more visualization exercises and have gotten interested in the topic through meditation and reading The Charisma Myth, which mentions a lot of visualization techniques.
I would like to share some of the techniques that I have incorporated into my life and found particularly effective.
- For focus: visualizing everything irrelevant becoming blurry, the sounds around me fading, and my environment becoming darker and darker until all I can see is what I need to focus on. When interrupted from this state of mind, I often don’t hear what people say to me the first time and have to ask them to repeat.
- At the gym: especially when I’m challenging myself, I spend a minute imagining myself doing the set before actually doing it. I visualize the every fiber of muscle in my body working in unison to help me push for those last few reps. Before public speaking: I see all my anxiety melting away and a deep sense of calm spreading through my mind and body as I walk up on stage to begin my presentation.
- For engaging in conversations: Especially in 1:1 conversations, I picture a very bright spotlight in the room pointing at the person who is speaking. If you get too little light, you begin to wither and disengage. If you get too much light, you begin to burn. Therefore, we must share the spotlight in a balanced way.
- For motivation: I imagine the smile on my face and a glowing sense of accomplishment after I have achieved my goal. I have found it easier to recall a past accomplishment to warm up and then imagine achieving whatever it is I’m after. When in pain or going through a difficult situation: I visualize a time in the future when I’m telling a funny story about the very pain / situation I’m dealing with and laughing over it.
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