Have you ever had the situation where a thought like “I really hope I’m not late for my meeting tomorrow – my boss would be sure to notice” comes into your head? Then the next morning you are delayed and as soon as you walk into the room everyone stops and looks at you disapprovingly?
Unfortunately, we rarely imagine pleasant situations and are drawn to the catastrophic ones like moths to a flame: “the client will say no”, “I won’t achieve my objectives”, “I’m going to put on weight”, “my loved ones will be disappointed in me”. They become imprinted on our brains and sooner or later they become reality. Then we say “see, I knew it would happen. It always happens to me”. Reality validates the vision.
What does our imagination have to do with success? Everything.
“If you believe it, you built it” (Brian Tracy)
When we make a film in our mind, our brain can’t distinguish between the fiction and the reality. We think, imagine and feel at the same time. For example: our boss raises our target by 30% and our first reaction is “I can’t do it. It’s not possible” (Thought). We are already picturing the appraisal meeting and what our boss will say (Imagination). Immediately we are frustrated, overwhelmed and demotivated (Feeling). We now see the problems rather than the solutions and either we don’t try, or our attempts are half-hearted (Action).
Again, we confirm “see, I knew it wasn’t possible and I wouldn’t achieve it”. We create the self-fulfilling prophecy.
We teach ourselves that we do not deserve success or for things to go well for us. This is human nature, learned through education, culture and tradition over the generations. We are not born this way. Look at little children, how brave they are, seeing the endless possibilities in everything. Sadly, our fear of disapproval, not fitting in, of losing, of being unloved gradually erodes this courage until we become paralysed in our decision-making and actions.
How can we break this vicious cycle?
It is our choice. Why not choose to picture the positive self-fulfilling prophecy instead?
Start with your imagination. What is one of your worries or limiting beliefs? (Thought). Write it down. Take 5 minutes every day for the next 30 days and think of possible positive outcomes or beliefs instead (Imagination). Picture how will it feel when you make it happen (Imagination). You have already taken the first, most important steps to making it happen (Action).
“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right.” (Henry Ford)