We all have within ourselves an awesome power that most of us have never been taught to use. That power is called visualization. The practice of visualizing our goals and desires as already complete sets in motion the creative process in four different ways.
  1. It activates the subconscious which will start generating new ideas;
  2. It programs the brain to more readily perceive and recognize the necessary resources;
  3. It activates the law of attraction, thereby drawing into our lives the right people and circumstances;
  4. It builds our internal motivation to take the necessary actions.

Visualization is a simple process. You sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes and imagine—in as vivid detail as you can—what you would be looking at if the dream you have were already realized. Imagine being inside of yourself, looking out through your eyes at the ideal result.

Mental Rehearsal

Athletes practice a form of visualization called “mental rehearsal.” All it takes is a few minutes a day. The best time to do it is when you are most relaxed: when you first wake up, after meditation or prayer, or right before you go to sleep. Follow these three steps:

1. Imagine sitting in a movie theater, the lights dim. When the movie starts, see yourself doing perfectly whatever it is that you want to do better. See as much detail as you can create, including your clothing, the expression on your face, small body movements, the environment and any other people that might be around. Add in any sounds you would be hearing—traffic, music, other people talking, cheering. And finally, recreate in your body any feelings you think you would be experiencing as you engage in this activity.

2. Imagine getting up from your chair, walking up to the screen and stepping into the movie. Now experience the whole thing again, only this time from inside of yourself, looking out through your eyes— again, seeing everything in vivid detail, hearing the sounds you would hear and feeling the feelings you would feel. This is called an “embodied image” rather than a “distant image,” and it deepens the impact of the experience.

3. Finally, walk back out of the screen that is still showing the picture of you performing perfectly, return to your seat in the theater, reach out and grab the screen and shrink it down to the size of a cracker. Then, bring this miniature screen up to your mouth, chew it up and swallow it. Imagine that each tiny piece—just like a hologram—contains the full picture of you performing well. Imagine all these little screens traveling down into your stomach and out through the bloodstream into every cell of your body. Then imagine that every cell of your body is lit up with a movie of you performing perfectly— like one of those appliance store windows where fifty televisions are all tuned to the same channel.

When you have finished this process—it should take less than five minutes—open your eyes and go about your business. If you make this part of your daily routine, you will be amazed at the results you will see in your life.

Create Goal Pictures

Another powerful technique is to create a picture of yourself with your goal, as if it were already completed. If one of your goals is to own a new car, take your camera down to your local auto dealer and have a picture taken of yourself sitting behind the wheel of your dream car. If your goal is to visit Paris, find a picture of the Eiffel Tower and place a photo of yourself into the picture. With today’s technology, you could probably make an even more convincing image using your computer.

Find or create a picture for every aspect of your dream life—financial, professional, recreation, new skills you want to learn, things you want to acquire and so on. When we were writing the very first Chicken Soup for the Soul® book, we took a copy of the New York Times best-seller list, scanned it into our computer and, using the same font the Times uses, typed “Chicken Soup for the Soul” into the number one position in the “Paperback Advice, How-To and Miscellaneous” category. We printed several copies and hung them up around the office. Less than two years later, our book was number one in that category—and it stayed there for over a year!

Write Goals and Affirmations

Make a list of the goals you are currently working on and write each goal on an index card. Keep those cards near your bed and take them with you when you travel. Each morning and each night read the cards, one at a time, and close your eyes. See the completion of your goal in its perfect desired state for about fifteen seconds, open your eyes and repeat the process with the next card.

An affirmation is a statement that evokes the experience of already having what you want, for example:

“I am happily vacationing two months out of the year in a tropical paradise and working just four days a week owning my own business.”

Practicing visualizations and repeating affirmations several times a day keeps you focused on your goal, strengthens your motivation and programs your subconscious by sending an order to all your cells to do whatever it takes to make that goal happen. The process is invisible and takes only a few minutes a day; over time, it will transform you forever.

JACK CANFIELD is founder and co-creator of the Chicken Soup
for the Soul books. He is a success coach and a leading authority
on peak performance. Jack Canfield is a featured teacher in
The Secret.