One of the quotes in “Maximize Your Quality of Life” is Descartes’ “I think therefore I am.” It cleverly sums up the remarkable achievement of the human brain, namely, that self-awareness leads to self-actualization. Because we can think about who we are, and the nature of our existence, we can make decisions about our destiny. If we fail to make those decisions, or fail to act on the decisions we make, we are but beasts in the field, following our nature unto the grave, effected only by the whimsy of the elements.
Imagination grants us the gift of possibility. It allows us to play with what we know, speculate about what may be, and then try to achieve it. If we were merely imaginative — meaning we never, ever acted on what we imagined — we might entertain ourselves endlessly by thinking of an intimacy we might enjoy, if only it ever happened. But by acting on the imagined possibilities, we can find a better life. In fact, we can maximize our quality of life through imagination.
I’ll use another example from fitness. When Tom Matt heard about body building for people over the age of 50, he had no idea what his body might look like, or how he would get there. He had suggestions from his training mentor, and found experts to help him in the quest, but he used imagination to inspire himself, and to figure out what the necessary steps were.
Visualization is the process of finding a desired outcome (by using your imagination….) and keeping that image fresh in your mind to help you find your way to that goal. We are consciously exploiting one of the neater features of the human brain — picturing an outcome would have been useful, many, many years ago, to visualize dangers and pitfalls in the wild, such as treacherous terrain or dangerous animals. The visualization was likely part of what helped primitive man survive.
Visualization can help you achieve anything, even things you are incapable of doing, as long as you also imagine the process to follow in order to gain the skills you lack.
If you need help with your finances, you can imagine ways to make it better, such as working with a financial planner. Visualization (of finding, contacting, and visiting the financial planner) can then help achieve that goal.
If you need help with your fitness, you can imagine ways to join a gym or find a trainer. Visualize the steps you’ll take, and then also how you’ll plan your workouts, and then make time to invest time in yourself.
The same can be said about family relations, having fun, or nutrition. Imagination and visualization are key to making things better.
It may seem obvious that imagination and visualization can help you, but what I have found is that by repeated practice of the technique helps overall performance. You can improve your ability to imagine and visualize. You can even use them to improve them, if you know what I mean.