Sounds like a bunch of hippy-trippy bollocks…
… you know, no offence Dymphna.
No, that’s ok Rob. None taken. Rob was one of my students, and we were talking about the importance of visualising your goals and positive thinking.
Rob’s a builder. He lives in the real world. In fact, in his view, if you can’t put a nail in it then it doesn’t really exist.
And Rob’s view is pretty typical of a lot of the fellas that come through my course. I don’t know why it is, it just seems to work out that way. Women take much more quickly to the visualisation exercises I do – vision boards and all that. Men seem to have some instinctive aversion to it.
They’ll jump in to the financing modules, or the trust structure stuff no worries. Even though most people would lump those in the ‘painful but necessary’ basket.
Visualising and goal setting is at least as important, if not more so I reckon, and a whole lot less painful. It’s actually kind of fun – dreaming up the life you want to be living.
But guys just don’t take to it.
Maybe it’s got something to do with the fact that you can’t measure your progress..? I don’t know… Anyone got any thoughts?
Is there a psychologist in the house?
Anyway, I’ve talked a lot about the power of visualising and positive thinking in other places, but today I wanted to come clean:
Rob is Right.
Well kind of. I think Rob’s reaction to this stuff – the way it sets his BS detectors off – actually comes from a useful space. And we don’t want to lose that perspective.
We need to keep it real.
So what do I mean by that?
Well, we need to be careful that intention-ful and targeted visualisation doesn’t slip into daydreaming and wishful thinking.
You get nothing for nothing in life, that’s the truth. Visualisation is powerful. It gets you focused on your goals, and helps the world align itself around your vision.
But you’ve still got to do the work.
I had one student who totally threw herself into vision boards and visualisation. She painted an incredible mental picture of a massive multi-property portfolio and waterfalls of cashflow.
“But have you got your trust structures in place?” No.
“Have you talked to a lender or a broker and got yourself market ready?” No.
“Have you even done you tax for this year?” No.
Geez. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t give it a good kick up the backside when it needs one ‘cos then the RSPCA would be on to you… or however that saying goes.
Wishing is no substitute for work.
And day-dreaming is a drug. It feels nice. When you imagine yourself in the Bahamas, watching cashflow stream into your bank balance on your laptop, as far as your mind’s concerned, you’re there. It’s actually happening.
And so there’s a release of endorphins and your blood pressure drops – you just feel good.
But there’s a trap here. If we’re not careful, visualising success can be demotivating and de-energising.
Rob’s out there nodding his head, but how does that work?
Well, if the life we imagine for ourselves, like drinking pinna coladas in the Bahamas, is totally stress free and relaxed, that’s the physical space we put ourselves in. We become stress free and relaxed.
But a little bit of stress is a good thing. It’s an energy and drive. So if we get rid of it all, we need to build it up again before we’re ready for work.
Also, if we imagine that we’ve achieved all our goals, in your mind it’s all done and dusted. It’s beer o’clock.
So then if you run into some sort of obstacle, you mind doesn’t want to dip into your energy reserves. It’s already tasted the sweetness of victory in you imagination, and it didn’t have to work for it then. Why should we work for it now?
Pulling ourselves around to the task can be as tricky as getting a teenager out of bed on a cold winter morning. All we get is resentful grumbles.
And so I think this gets to the heart of Rob’s reservations. In his world, day-dreamers are useless. They’ve got no ticker. No appetite for work.
Well, the key is in building up our ‘ticker’. We need build up our ‘challenge busting’ muscles. Challenges are part of the journey, and we need to celebrate that. Welcome the challenges that make you stronger (and they all do).
And visualise a journey, not just a destination. Rather than just visualising yourself on a deck chair in the Bahamas, being oiled down by a pool boy (I know, it’s addictive), visualise yourself as a successful investor, who bounces out of bed in the morning ready to meet the challenges of the day, and who sometimes treats themselves to luxurious holidays in exotic destinations.
Visualise your goals, but also visualise yourself overcoming (joyfully, fluidly) your challenges.
And give yourself an appetite for work.
Without that appetite, we’re just ‘useless dreamers’.