I’m sure you’ve heard of visualizing your goal in many different arenas of life (sports, professional career, military, etc.), and may or may not be skeptical if it even works or if it’s worth the time for an everyday person… If you’re skeptical ask yourself this…. Have you ever had such a vivid dream you wake up and you’re unsure if it has happened or slightly anxious that your dream was sending you subconscious information of an event that’s happened or happening without your knowledge? That’s because your subconscious mind has the ability to impact your conscious mind in such depth, that it becomes “real” in your mind (intuition is related as well).
According to studies conducted over the past 50+ years in health psychology, and not to mention the documented tactics of influential and historic folks throughout human history, the successor enters into challenges already won in their mind. In recent times, almost any Seal book you read, they speak in depth about winning in their mind to prepare for their mission (Mark Divine, Marcus Luttrell, Jocko Willink, Leif Babin, and the list goes on).
Think about relevant successors like Muhammad Ali, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet, Michael Jordan, Jeff Bezos and Chesty Puller – all with the positive mindset and confidence for challenges because they so deeply believe that the only answer is to come out on top.
Do or do not. There is no try.
–Yoda (Star Wars Episode V)
So how can we apply this to our everyday lives? A few simple steps can go a long way:
1. Get Focused with Box Breathing
inhale for 5 seconds, hold for 5 seconds, exhale for 5 seconds, hold for 5 secs X5 breath cycles (can be done driving, waiting in line or for a meeting, grocery shopping, just about anywhere and can be accomplished discretely).
2. KISS Planning (Keep it simple stupid)
“No plan survives contact with the enemy”– Mark Divine.
Strategize your upcoming challenge through many different scenarios, however, stick to the 80/20 rule – be prepared to adapt to unexpected events.
3. Visualize what you want the outcome to be
This goes farther than just seeing in your mind, but physically and mentally feel what the event might bring. Your mind will go into the event as if it’s experienced this before and is better prepared for ambiguity.
Two ways to visualize:
Future me – 3rd person view
Interactive me – 1st person view
4. Have a positive mindset
Negative thoughts or “caring too much” can have reverse effects on the outcome you’d like to experience. Psychologist Kelly McGonigal explains our social perceptions of stress, our bodies physical reaction to stress and how to use stress to our advantage through positivity. I encourage you to watch this quick TED talk.
Whether you’re a working retail, a CEO of a fortune 500 company, a stay at home mom walking into the workout of the day, or military operator, these tactics work. I encourage you to look more into mental models for success and increase your awareness of yourself and surroundings.
Victorious warriors win first and then go to war,
while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.
Sun Tzu (The Art of War)