When writing a recent article I was thinking about how much more influential our imagination is on our actions than any conscious talk we can have with ourselves. Without training and without exception to the degree we have been gifted by God we are able to use the powers of our mind to reminisce, fantasize, daydream and imagine things. And we always visualize these same things in our mind’s eye as we imagine them (as I see it anyway).
Over the years as a father, I have had the opportunity to coach my kids in sports, particularly basketball. One of my favorite exercises is imaginative visualization (as I refer to it). After going over their shooting form and having my kids shoot many shots from the same spot I would have them stop. Then I would have them close their eyes. With their eyes closed I would have them imagine the same shot seeing every motion step by step and feeling every movement in their mind’s eye and then bring a successful shot into manifestation. Often my kids had great success hitting shot after shot with their eyes shut. And I’m sure this drill improved their confidence when shooting with their eyes open.
In an article I read recently, I learned that researchers like V. S. Ramachandran, director of the Center for Brain and Cognition at the University of California, San Diego, using fMRI scans found that the same cells in the brain light up whether we perform an action ourselves or watch someone else do it (which may explain the obsession with reality television shows these days). The effect also occurs when we simply imagine ourselves performing the action (as I would tell my kids).
One of the most significant psychological discoveries ever, Coue’s Law was defined by the French psychologist Émile Coué. It states “when our imagination is in conflict with what we consciously want to happen, the imagination will always win.” Think about this. It tells us that we have to be very careful with what we allow to enter and camp out in our mind. Thoughts are visitors. When the same kinds of thoughts (good or bad) frequent the mind often, they become permanent residents. And we plan and act out our life according to the images we visualize and rotate over and over in our mind.
Down deep I’ve always known this to be true. As a parent and a coach I have always taught my kids that imagining actions is a great way to help bring about what we want to accomplish. In practice sessions I would say, “As you shoot, feel the ball roll off your fingers. See the ball leave your hands with perfect backspin. See your motion evolve with perfect movement and follow through. And finally see your hands in the air in front of you holding the follow through as you hear and see the ball swish through the net.”
Why do I consider this so important? Because as Mark Twain once said, “You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.”
William “Bud” Hart is a certified “Mindset” Coach, Accountability Partner and Business Consultant. Visit Hart Group, www.hartgroupma.com for more on coaching.