Visualization is crucial to all kinds of human activities and the achievement of goals of all kinds. An engineer looks at a canyon and visualizes a bridge across it as a necessary part of designing and building a bridge. If all that the engineer did was visualize the bridge, it would never get built, which is the crucial piece that is left out of The Secret.
It takes a great deal of sustained human energy and effort to create that bridge. And there has been some research that indicates that the most effective use of visualization in the accomplishment of a goal includes a significantly different technique than the one taught in The Secret.
It was found that when the research participants visualized themselves taking all the necessary steps in accomplishing the goal, that they were much more likely to be successful than if they simply imagines themselves having already accomplished it. The missing piece is simply to mentally rehearse taking each of the appropriate steps to accomplish the goal, whether it is to get a date with Joan, or earn a million dollars next year.
Mental rehearsal has been used effectively as a technique in hypnosis for centuries.
The key to successful mental rehearsal is to imagine doing the activity as if we were really living it. For example, if we were to imagine driving a brand new car, we would be see our hands in the edge of our vision as we look out at traffic through the windshield, hear the sounds of the engine, and feel our bodies sway as we went around a sharp curve. We would even smell the new car smell.
This is an important distinction. When people to say things like, “I see myself driving a new car,” they are are separating themselves from the experience. That lessens the impact of the mental rehearsal.
There are two simple rules for successful mental programming that we can all take from hypnosis.
First, imagine doing all the intermediate steps from our current situation to the completion of our goals.
Second, imagine doing the steps as if we were actually there using all our senses. We see through our eyes as if we were literally there, we hear the sounds, and feel the sensations of what we touch and of our movements. Including any smells and tastes that may be there as we take each step will amplify the experience as well.
It is not necessary to formally go into hypnosis to effectively program our minds to achieve our goals. Simply mentally rehearsing correctly is enough.