Is creating a vision the real deal or is it a total waste of time and energy?
After all, an article by Dr. Neil Farber in Psychology Today states that you should throw away your vision board and get practical with action instead. And he makes a really good argument that action is what brings success, not fantasizing.
Which do you think it is? Waste of time or the greatest success enhancer there is?
Before you decide, read on for compelling proof that a vision is not only valuable for your success, it is essential to your success.
Research on goal-setting from Dominican University showed that people who wrote down their goals were far more successful at achieving their goals than people who just thought about their goals. That success was amplified if they had an accountability and support partner and were sent reminders to complete their action goals.
A TD Bank Survey also showed visualizing works. Their results showed that:
20% of small business owners used a vision board or other visual representation when starting their business.
Three-quarters of those owners said that their business was where they envisioned it would be when they started it. **
Over 80% of those owners reported that they accomplished more than half the goals they included in their vision.
**Compare this to the failure rate of the typical small business: over 50% fail within the first five years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Harvard professor Dr. Edward Banfield found that the determining factor in success, regardless of socioeconomic or family background, was having a long-term vision and making short-term sacrifices and decisions based on that distant view. The longer term the vision, the more successful people were likely to be.
Not typically a recipe for happiness and fulfillment. Why?
Growth is one of your six essential emotional needs, according to Dr. John Schindler. If it isn’t met consciously through setting visions and goals, your unconscious mind may just create some chaos — oh, like illness — to meet your growth quotient.
By the same token, your need for growth may be met somewhat by working in someone else’s vision. However, it’s not the vision you have had the pleasure of creating.
Think of it like taking a vacation.
Someone could surprise you with a trip, and they have already made all of the plans. You may even be stressed with work and love that someone else has done all of the legwork and planning for you.
It could be the most amazing vacation ever.
Or it could be a dismal failure.
What if it is a cruise of Antarctica, and you get miserably seasick and hate the cold?
Okay okay, so that might be a wee bit extreme.
To keep this more realistic, your friend has booked a trip for themselves and they’ve asked you if you want to tag along. So, you have the choice of agreeing or not.
Or, your spouse has done their best to think of everything you might want in a vacation.
You just miss out on the fun of creating the perfect trip for you.
I don’t know about you, but my favorite part of a trip is the planning. Comparing different destinations and what they have to offer. Finding the perfect accommodation. Planning different activities and places to see.
I truly get just as much pleasure out of planning a trip as I do in taking it because I get to imagine exactly how it’s going to play out.
The same holds true for your vision. If you work in someone else’s vision, you may feel somewhat fulfilled. And you’ll miss out on the fun of creating and imagining how your own vision could play out.
“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.”
— Jim Rohn
If that isn’t a good enough reason alone to create your own vision, let’s move over to neuroscience.
You have 100 billion neurons in your brain. You can use the power of those neurons to set yourself up for success.
Your left pre-frontal cortex is your executive team.
In my article, 5 Ingredients Missing from Most New Year’s Resolutions Recipes, I explain that your brain’s left pre-frontal cortex lights up when you think of a meaningful goal.
This area of your brain controls all of your decision-making, logic, planning, acting on both short and long-term goals, problem-solving when challenges are faced, and even your self-control in the face of adversity or obstacles.
Pretty important to have that part of your brain working toward your success.
Your unconscious primitive brain is your operating system.
Another key player in the brain game is your unconscious mind, that primitive part of your brain which runs your operating system in the background.
Your operating system needs you to input a destination of where you want to go, just as you would into your GPS.
Therefore, when you create a vision consciously, you are giving your unconscious mind that destination it needs to be successful.
Furthermore, your vision provides the target even when you can’t see the end.
Think of it like driving at night. Your headlights can only see so far ahead, and yet you know the road continues on and you’ll still arrive at your destination.
With no vision, you’re likely going to get nowhere fast.
“If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.”
— Zig Ziglar
Your unconscious primitive brain is your security staff.
Your unconscious mind is also your self-appointed safety control board. It wants everything to stay the same because if it’s happened before, it must be safe.
After all, it is responsible for keeping your heart beating, your blood pumping, your body temperature optimal and more, even if you’re not consciously thinking about it.
Same old, same old is safe and sound.
When you decide to make a change, your unconscious mind decides you must be kept safe from yourself at all costs. It goes into stealth sabotage mode.
The instant you stop focusing on your desired changes consciously — you do need to sleep at some point– it’s ready to derail you.
And it’s usually successful, at least in the short-term. It does know you intimately after all.
However, you can fool your unconscious mind into cooperating and working for you.
In my article, Can’t Lose Weight? Change Your Mindset – Part one, I describe how your unconscious mind can’t tell the difference between reality and imagined. Let me say that again for emphasis.
Your unconscious mind can’t tell the difference between what is real and what is imagined.
Accordingly, when you vividly imagine your vision as if it has already happened, your unconscious mind accepts it and stores it with all of your other memories. Your vision has now become “same old” and safe.
The more you run the movie of your vision, using different scenarios, the more it reinforces the message that your vision has already happened.
Your unconscious mind will feel less and less threatened, so it will tone down the sabotage mode so you’re more likely to succeed.
Visualizing also brings other areas of the brain on-side.
Your thoughts create your physical reality.
Neuroscientist, Adrian Owen, and his team have found that visualizing lights up the same areas of the brain as if you were physically acting. They found this to be true even in about 20% of comatose patients after brain injury.
For instance, if you imagine you are playing tennis and swinging your racquet, the area of your brain responsible for moving your arm will light up on functional MRI.
If you visualize moving around your house, the area of your brain responsible for spatial relationships will light up.
Therefore, the more scenarios you can play out as if your vision has already come true, the more areas of your brain you’ll pull into play.
These areas will form neural networks which will all work together to bring your vision to reality.
Nerves that fire together, wire together.
This is a fundamental principle in neuroscience. The more you use a neural pathway, the more connections form to stabilize it and make communication faster. This is the neural network.
The less you use a pathway, the connections get pruned back so that they can be used elsewhere.
Think of it like this.
If you walk along a trail only rarely, it will be easy for it to grow back over so that you have trouble even seeing your path. The more you walk along that path, the more you’ll wear a track that is easily seen and followed.
If more people walk along the path often, that track will become wider to the point where you could ride a bicycle, an ATV, and so on.
Eventually, that path might be large enough for a car to travel on it. The gravel might become paved. Multiple lanes might be added to the point where that little path has become a superhighway.
A trail which might have taken you ages to walk may now take you just minutes to drive.
The more you use that pathway, the more you’ll believe that it can come true. It will come true.
And finally, it has already come true.
Use belief to release the B.S. blocking your success.
As I stated in my article, 3 Types of B.S. Blocking Your Financial Success, your old B.S. (blind spots, that is) can block you from the success you want. Lack of belief is the biggest roadblock to achieving your success.
Therefore, you must believe in your capability to attain a goal before you can see the best strategies to reach it. That is why, in my humble opinion, Dr. Farber is wrong about jumping straight to action and strategy as his success formula.
Imagining your vision in vivid detail lends you that belief so that you can move from hope to belief to expectation more quickly.
But first, you need to set your vision before you can visualize it!
Now, are you tired and frustrated at being blocked from the success you desire?
Are you ready to start living the life you deserve?
Do you believe that, based on the scientific evidence, creating a vision will help you achieve your coveted results?
Can you invest the thought, time and energy into creating a vision of what success means to you?
If you’re ready to start creating your desired life and feel you need help, Growth-U’s The Big Picture: 30 Days to Creating Visions That Work is an effective way to set and implement visions in all areas of your life.
“You are the master of your destiny. You can influence, direct and control your own environment. You can make your life what you want it to be.”
–Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich