Does Visualizing Success Actually Work?

Larry Alton

March 29, 2020

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If you want to be successful, you have to begin by visualizing yourself being successful. If you've read, watched, or listened to motivational speakers over the years, you've likely heard some version of this statement. But is it true?

Why Visualizing Success Works

To visualize success is to imagine yourself achieving a favorable outcome before it's actually occurred. And while it might seem like nothing more than wishful thinking, some of the world's most successful people believe it's played a role in their greatest achievements.

Michael Jordan spent his entire childhood and early years taking the last shot in his mind. Then, when he actually had to take buzzer-beating shots, he was so mentally prepared that it was a simple matter of execution.

In the days and hours leading up to his championship fights, legendary boxer Muhammad Ali would calm his mind by picturing himself celebrating victory over his opponent.

Tony Robbins, arguably the world's most influential motivational speaker, takes ten minutes every morning to do something he calls "priming." During this time, he slows down his breathing, expresses gratitude, and visualizes success. His advice to people: "Don't think about making it happen, see it as done."

When a young Jim Carrey was a struggling actor just trying to make a name for himself, he'd picture himself as the greatest actor in the world - headlining movies, gracing magazine covers, and winning awards. Within years, he was doing the very things he'd imagined in his head.

The list could go on and on. Thousands of successful actors, athletes, artists, entrepreneurs, salespeople, lawyers, and doctors have tied their successes to the power of visualization. And while there might not be a lot of scientific evidence to support this theory, common sense prevails. If it's good enough for these folks, it's probably good enough for you, too.

4 Tips for Visualizing Your Own Success

Everyone processes information differently and finds motivation in unique places, but here are some of the ways others like to visualize their own success:

1. Daydream About Victories

Whoever told you that daydreaming was a waste of time and energy was sorely mistaken. As long as you're daydreaming about positive outcomes, it's almost always time well spent. In fact, you should spend at least 10 or 15 minutes per day thinking about specific positive outcomes. Daydream with such conviction that you can see, taste, smell, hear, and touch the success.

2. Utilize Technology

Don't have a great imagination? Perhaps you can utilize technology to visualize your success. Whether it's something as simple as Photoshopping yourself into a picture or as complex as using 3D visualizations and virtual reality to imagine a novel scenario, there are tools out there that can make your dreams even more tangible.

3. Create a Vision Board

A vision board can be anything you want it to be. It could be a physical bulletin board, a shoebox, a Pinterest board, or a folder on your desktop computer. Either way, it's a place where you store ideas, hopes, dreams, and pictures that illustrate what you desire to accomplish in life. You can revisit it from time to time to gain inspiration and refocus on the things that matter.

4. Use Trigger Cards

Many successful people use trigger cards to prime the pump and get in the right frame of mind. You could also benefit from this exercise.

A trigger card is simply a 3x5 index card that has a handwritten affirmation or outcome on it. If your dream is to one day become a successful politician, you could write something like, "I will become president of the United States." You then make a habit out of reading it out loud each morning when you rise and each evening before going to bed.

The power of trigger cards is found in their repetition. After saying something thousands of times over, you start to believe it. This increases the chances that you'll actually take the necessary steps to accomplish it.

Putting it All Together

Feel free to adapt some of these strategies and/or create your own mental exercises. The key is to find something that works for you and to make it a consistent part of your daily habits and weekly routines. Over time, this continued focus on successful outcomes will prove to be fruitful in your life and career.

Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.

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