If you think about it… prior to anything actually existing, it first has to be thought of. First comes the idea… then the decision to act… then the doing of the act or the creation of the object. On May 31, 1913, John Paul Jones completed the mile run in 4:14.4 minutes and was recorded in the world record books as having done so. For 41 years, no one ran faster than a 4-minute mile because they didn’t believe it was possible. On May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister redefined reality by finishing in 3:59.4 minutes. Bannister, a medical student, developed his own training methods, which may be what gave him the imagination to believe that running faster than a 4 minute mile was possible.
What role does imagination play in our creation of reality? Do we have to believe before we can achieve? What if you believed but you didn’t achieve? What if you achieved even though you didn’t really believe? Well, I don’t exactly have the answer. I do believe that taking time to imagine what you want in your life… asking yourself the question, “what would I do if I knew I couldn’t fail?” or “what would I do if money were not a factor?” is a fabulous way to open your true self to the possibilities that could exist for you. Go ahead… take a few minutes to answer those questions for yourself!
Sports is an area where mental practice and visualization is now pretty common. As just one example, a study by Dr. Blasslotto at University of Chicago found that a group of basketball players who physically practiced free-shots for 1 hour daily collectively improved by 24%. Another group who practiced daily by visualizing successfully making free-throws, without actually physically shooting a basketball, collectively improved by 23%. That’s 1% difference between a group that did versus a group that imagined. 1%!
I love this history of the concept of self-fulfilling prophecy that I found on Wikipedia…
Merton’s concept of the self-fulfilling prophecy stems from the Thomas theorem, which states that “If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences.” Which to me means that if you believe something to be true… and maybe if you just believe it possible… you will act in ways that influence both yourself and others to make the likelihood of that belief more probable.
According to Thomas, people react not only to the situations they are in, but also, and often primarily, to the way they perceive the situations and to the meaning they assign to these perceptions. Therefore, their behavior is determined in part by their perception and the meaning they give to the situations they are in, rather than by the situations themselves. Once people convince themselves that a situation really has a certain meaning, regardless of whether it actually does, they will take very real actions in consequence.
I’m not trying to imply that sitting on your couch imagining what could be is the road to riches. I guess what I’m saying is that, although visualization and imagination alone are not the answer… action without imagination will only get you to the 4:14:4 mile. Not that there’s anything wrong with that… hard work and determination will take you far. It’s just that… at the end of the day – or your lifetime – don’t you want to be Bannister… the one that broke the barrier… the one that believed in, and therefore accomplished, the impossible? Well, it has to start with the belief and imagination that it is possible.
In addition to your daily actions, take time to imagine and visualize your greatest life. Whenever you’re getting ready to take action, imagine the outcome being the best it can be… and believe, even for a moment, that it is possible! Lets start now!
Love and laughter to you! ~Rashel