Nathan Sharansky, a computer specialist, accused of spying for the United States, spent nine years in solitary confinement. Every day he spent locked away, he played chess in his mind. He said, “I might as well use the opportunity to become the world champion.” In 1996, Sharansky beat Garry Kasparov, the reigning world champion.
Each of us has been given a superpower: imagination. Within our soul is the unlimited capacity to create. The power of imagination built the Eiffel Tower, discovered penicillin, and made the first pepperoni pizza.
Our imagination was most acute when we were kids. We didn’t care that the grass was green or the sky was blue. Children open up their minds and create unfiltered, building a three-headed dragon, with tennis racket arms, who poops peanut butter.
The imagination creates the possibility and persistent visualization makes your dream a reality. We think in images based on the words we see and hear. A single thought has little impact on our lives, but a stream of thoughts build vision inside of us.
In 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Steven Covey’s 2nd Habit, “Begin with the End in Mind, is based on imagination. He says, “Envision what you want in the future, so you can work and plan toward it.”
No one has tapped into the imagination like the sports world. “Studies show that visualization increases athletic performance by improving motivation, coordination, and concentration. A Russian study applied visualization to four groups of Olympians, assigning each group a different training combination:
Group 1: 100% physical training
Group 2: 75% physical, 25% mental
Group 3: 50% physical, 50% mental
Group 4: 25% physical, 75% mental
The scientists concluded the group that performed the longest amount of visualization performed the best during the Olympics. Visualization works because neurons in our brain interpret imagery as equivalent to “real life” action.
Visualization is a simple technique for creating a mental image of your preferred future and cannot be vague. When you think about your "ideal" future, add as much detail as possible and feel it. Napoleon Hill asserts, “All thoughts which have become emotionalized (given feeling) and mixed with faith begin immediately to translate themselves into their physical counterpart.”
So, let’s say you weigh 250 pounds, and your ideal healthy weight is 150. Instead of seeing yourself overweight, change the picture. Visualize yourself stepping on the scale and it reads 150. Feel the emotion of fist pumping your accomplishment. Are you squealing with delight or wiping away tears? Imagine putting on your celebratory outfit, and it fits great.
Keep yourself pumped up by creating a Vision or Imagination board. Keep the pictures of your “ideal” life in front of you. In You Can, You Will, Joel Osteen says, “Sudies tell us we move toward what we consistently see. You should keep something in front of you, even if it’s symbolic, to remind you of what you are believing for.” If you can see it you can seize it.
Get your God-given imagination primed for His promises and create your Mental Masterpiece.
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