We have two minds — the conscious and the subconscious. According to Dr. Bruce Lipton, a former professor of medicine at Stanford University, "the subconscious mind operates at 40 million bits of data per second, whereas the conscious mind processes at only 40 bits per second."
Without our even knowing, our subconscious mind is processing things at an astronomical rate. So how can we harness this power and use it to our advantage?
Well, the subconscious mind thinks in images and feelings. This could mean that if you set a goal of earning a certain amount of money or finding your soul mate, you are much more likely to obtain these future goals if you try focusing on the images and feelings associated with them.
It’s important to visualize your goals with images that trigger you in the most physical way possible. You can tell when you’ve found a great image, because you'll feel the sensation of that excitement in your body.
Whether it's a tingling feeling like champagne bubbles in your stomach, or the hairs on your arms stand up a bit — try taking notice of how different images trigger you physiologically when you visualize your goals.
For example, my business partner and I want to write a best-selling book. So I tried to visualize our book at the top of The New York Times bestseller list, but that image didn't seem quite right. I didn't feel any sensations of excitement in my body.
Instead, I started to imagine that I already had a best-selling book. I visualized the situations that could come with this scenario that made me feel excited.
This was the scenario that came to my mind:
I’m walking through the airport, traveling for business. I’m running a bit late (as I often do), frantically looking up at the monitor and searching for my gate, when out of the corner of my eye, I see my own face looking back at me from the airport bookstore. It’s very surreal, completely unexpected and a bit unsettling. Then I realize it’s my bestselling book and a huge smile spreads across my face!
As bizarre as it may sound to you, it was this series of images that created a happy, tingling and excited feeling in my body.
Another woman I know from my MBA program experienced similar success through her own visualizations. She was single, and wanted to find her soul mate. She said that she could picture clearly, the toasts at her wedding — tears would fill her eyes. And just less than three months later, she met this wonderful man! They just decided to move in together and while she isn’t engaged yet, she’s incredibly happy and feels confident that the relationship is here to stay.
Think of one of your goals right now. Close your eyes and try to imagine different scenarios that could occur if this goal were a reality. Find the images that most excite you in your body and focus on those. If you’re feeling stuck, a great way to get started is to create a Goal Board.
Skeptical? Well, if you’re looking for scientific evidence before giving this visualization stuff a try, research shows that adding a visual element to our written goals may bring even stronger results.
In one 1996 study at Michigan State University, over 200 emergency room patients were given instructions on how to care for their wounds at home before being discharged. Half of the patients received text-only instructions. The rest received the same text accompanied with images.
The research team followed up with the patients three days later to see which individuals were more successful in following their home-care plan.
The results were intriguing:
While almost half (46%) of the people who received the images along with the instructions were able to answer each of the wound-care questions correctly, only 6% of the text-only group did so successfully. And, those in the image group were less than half (43%) better in terms of their adherence to the instructions than the text-only crowd.
So what does this mean for you?
Adding pictures that represent what you want to come to fruition in your life can make attaining those goals easier than just writing them down. You can make a Goal board or even give hypnotherapy a try, by adding the element of guided relaxation to help tune in to your subconscious mind. I find that it helps to try visualizing your ideal life five years from now.
Once you’ve gotten clear on the images that excite you and represent your goals, it’s important to visualize them often in your mind's eye, to continuously trigger the power of your subconscious.
Every night when you go to sleep, spend about two minutes picturing the images of your future success. If you made a Goal Board, look at it right before bed and again first thing in the morning.
According to Dr. Wayne Dyer, the last two minutes before you fall asleep at night stay in your subconscious mind for up to four hours while you’re sleeping! So this is the best time to do your visualization.
When you imagine your future success, your subconscious mind will draw in people and opportunities to make that future success a reality. So give visualization a try and create the future of your dreams!