JUL 20, 2023

Embarking on a Journey of Visualization

One Story

During the interview, a reporter asked Michael Phelps, “What were you doing differently that sets you apart from your competitors?”

“Honestly, what I did was not rocket science. For me as a kid, I had dreams bigger than anybody else could ever dream and I wanted to be the greatest.”

Phelps also used something called "visualization" in addition to training hard. Bob Bowman, who has been Phelps' coach since he was a teenager, says the following.

“Champions rehearse success on a daily basis... When you set a goal, you’re basically creating a picture of yourself in a different way. It’s a different you”.

If your picture is “I’m not all that good but I’m a pretty good swimmer” that’s the way you’re going to be. If your picture is,

I’m an Olympic champion, I will do whatever it takes to get there, I will think about it all the time, I will visualize myself doing and I will see myself doing it that’s where things start to move. Visualization is key in any sort of goal-oriented activity. The best person in the world of visualization I promise is Michael Phelps.

One Insight

Reviewing a huge database of wealthy individuals, one discovery stood out: they intentionally nourish their subconscious minds with their dreams and aspirations.

Think of entering this subconscious realm as a gentle, introspective journey, akin to meditation. Your conscious thoughts step aside, making room for calming alpha waves to sway in your brain. Visualization, a warm and potent method of shaping our subconscious, can be seen as a serene process of creating mental imagery, like capturing still moments of peace and success.

Envisioning our desires is like tenderly planting seeds into the rich soil of our subconscious mind. With time and nurturing, these seeds unfurl into wonderful realities. Here's the key: when these seeds take root in your subconscious, they start to manifest the reality around you in ways that feel like strokes of good luck. This beautiful process is how you attract fortune into your life, and the most charming part is its consistent effectiveness.

The practice is simple, asking for just a few moments of your day. All you need to do is close your eyes and gently envision the future you aspire for. After this, sit back and relax, as you await the joyous days when the fruits of your good luck will ripen.

The most decorated Olympian of all time, Michael Phelps on the secret of great success:

“I think that everything is possible as long as you put your mind to it and you put the work and time into it. I think your mind really controls everything.”

How to exercise visualization(1):

First, think of something you would like. For this exercise choose something simple, that you can easily imagine attaining. It might be an object you would like to have, an event you would like to have happen, a situation in which you’d like to find yourself, or some circumstance in your life you’d like to improve.

Get in a comfortable position, either sitting or lying down, in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. Relax your body completely. Starting from your toes and moving up to your scalp, think of relaxing each muscle in your body in turn, letting all tension flow out of muscle in your body in turn, letting all tension flow out of your body. Breathe deeply and slowly from your belly. Count down slowly from ten to one, feeling yourself getting more deeply relaxed with each count.

When you feel deeply relaxed, start to imagine the thing you want exactly as you would like it. If it is an object, imagine yourself with the object, using it, admiring it, enjoying it, showing it to friends. If it is a situation or event, imagine yourself there and everything happening just as you want it to. You may imagine what people are saying or any details that make it more real to you.”

Source: “Creative visualization” by Shakti Gawain

Last Week’s 1&1

In last week’s newsletter, I asked you to take one dumb thing that you give way too much attention to, and cut it from your life.

Kristin’s going to stop obsessing over what she can’t control:

  • Oh my gosh what perfect timing! I live on the ground floor of an apartment building and recently the guests of my upstairs neighbors have been letting trash fall from their balcony onto my patio. I woke up to red solo cups, some sweet tarts, a piece of gum and several cigarette butts.

    I can hear their sliding glass door when it opens and after a few nights of this I was noticing that I was on hyper alert any time they were outside. I would pause the TV, or stop talking on the phone just to listen and make sure to ‘catch’ them in the act. This was sucking the joy out of enjoying my patio and getting things done in my life.

    So this week, you’ve given me the permission I needed to give this less attention! I work from home so I need to keep my focus on what’s happening in my own apartment. Trusting that the super will handle the situation and it’s not for me to continuously keep tabs on!

Mary-Ann reported on how cutting social media out from her life has freed up time for her to do what she really wants:

  • It was nice to see the ‘One thing for you to try this week’ being something I have already done. That thing being deleting my socials. LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook.

    I was scrolling my life away on socials, wasting six-ish hours of my life per day looking (not evening engaging, so creeping) at other people’s content/lives and also feeling shit about myself, it had me thinking stupid unnecessary thoughts that were starting to affect my mental health and self-confidence.

    Six-ish hours per day I was not being productive at work, not being present with my son or partner (or struggling to be), six-ish hours per day I am never going to get back.

    Now four weeks on, I am being more productive in my work day and reading books and after procrastinating for something stupid like 15 years, I have finally opened my sketchbook to do at least 15 minutes (sometimes hours) of sketches per evening.

Until next week,

James Clear
Author of Atomic Habits and keynote speaker

p.s.Somebody get me a ride with this cab driver immediately.