Monday, 8 May 2023

5 Lessons from Great Athletes Who Use Visualization for Success

If you think visualization is a lot of hooey, think again. Throughout the ages (dating all the way back to ancient China and the days of the Roman Empire), people have been using visualization to achieve their goals. In fact, you'll find many athletes have been using these techniques for years, leading them to achieve more than they ever thought possible. 


Don't believe it? Read on to explore several lessons from the great athletes themselves. 


It Starts in the Vision


MMA fighter James Te Huna said, "I visualize what I'm going to do on that day, walk out to the fight. I'll go over and over it inside my head so when I do actually do it, I've been there 100 times before, so it's nothing new." By having a clear goal from the start, you've already won half the battle. What's your goal?


Focus on the Success 


You're never going to make the goal perfectly. Visualization can start hurting you if you get super-specific on what you want. For example, picturing the perfect shot in a soccer game might leave you so hung up on doing it a certain way, you'll miss a better shot you're already set up for. Instead, focus on the outcome when it comes to things involving factors out of your control.


Focus on an Image


On the other hand, it's good to focus on hard on things you can control. A study done on professional basketball players asked one simple question: Do they visualize themselves making a basket before shooting the ball. The answer was astonishing. Those who visualized the shot, made it about 67% of the time. Those who didn't? 54%. By picturing your outcome in your mind, you are that much more likely to make it.


Do it Often


Professional soccer player, Alex Morgan, had this to say: "Pregame, I eat pancakes for a meal. I always do mental visualization before the game to prepare myself." She's made visualization part of her routine. So should you. By repeating the visualization, you're much more likely to attain the success you desire. 


Don't Forget the Work


Don't rely entirely on the visualization to get you through. These athletes still practice daily. You still have to put the work in, no matter what it is that you want.


Success comes through many channels. Practice, self-talk…all of these things are important. But if you don't succeed first in your mind, you're never going to get anywhere. As every one of these athletes would tell you if they could, their most significant success started right here in visualization. The rest just followed naturally.


What Can I Learn From Tasks I Fail to Finish?

It's quite likely there's been a task you've failed to finish at some point in your life, whether it was a project at work or maybe even one in your personal life.


However, although failing to finish something isn't a great feeling, there are many ways you can learn from the tasks you fail to complete. 


How Not To Do The Task


The first thing you will learn from failing to complete a task is how not to do it. This lesson might seem a little silly, but it matters - a lot. Learning what not to do, is an essential part of the learning process. The next time you aim to complete this task, you know what actions and behaviors to avoid. The more times you fail, the more ways you learn how not to accomplish your task. 


You Will Learn Something About Yourself


Whenever you fail at anything in life, it will teach you a lesson about yourself. Failure - and more importantly - your reaction to failure will teach you a lot about yourself. It will be an insight into your ability to deal with obstacles. You can also learn about your ability to bounce back from failure. Most importantly, failure can reveal weaknesses you need to address or strengths you never knew you had. 


That It’s Time To Move On


Sometimes, when you fail to finish a task, it may teach you that it is time to move on. While on the one hand, you don't want to give up; on the other hand, you need to examine if it is worthwhile pursuing in the first place. 


This lesson is especially true if the reason for failure is completely out of your control. Maybe there isn't a market for that new product idea. Socio-economic issues that you can't do anything about might impact your career. These are times it might be time to move on. 


It's also important to examine if your goals still reflect your current values and needs. If you regularly fail to complete a task, maybe it is because it isn't that important to you anymore?  Why waste energy on tasks that don't reflect who you are? 




You will likely come across a task you cannot finish at some time during your life. Don't fret, though. When you fail to complete a task, it can teach you several important lessons. You can apply those lessons to your next task to ensure you can complete it and finally achieve success. 


4 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Regret Your Past Decisions

Regret is often the outcome of failure. Sometimes it is the result of a poor decision. Sometimes it’s a hard lesson learned. Regret, at its core, is an emotion. But you do not have to feel regret at all when you think of your past decisions that turned out less than stellar. You might even need to be thankful that it happened.


Character Building


Failure, poor decisions, or whatever, it all builds character. Our character is continuously changed and shaped throughout our lifetime. The only way to do that is through experience. The experiences you have, good and bad, will ultimately build your character in a better and stronger version of what you started with.


There’s a Reason for Everything


“Everything happens for a reason” is super cliché, but it’s the truth. Be it a bad relationship or a misstep on an important work or school assignment, there is a reason why it happened. Sometimes that reason is just learning a lesson (start early on a big project), or maybe that bad relationship allowed you to meet the love of your life. When regret weighs heavy, take a step back and look at the big, interlocking picture of your life.


Lessons Learned


We all have to learn lessons. That’s just a fact of life. Instead of regretting every past decision, look back at all the lessons you have learned and the wisdom you now have to move forward more prepared than when you started. Be thankful for the opportunity to learn.


Success Isn’t Free


No success is free. For every achievement you see, someone somewhere had to pay for it. So, you might as well pay for your own success. For every failure you experience in life, every regret you feel to your bones, you are that much closer to succeeding, to having paid your dues, learned your lessons, and having every tool you need in your toolbox to make your success happen.


Regret and success are fickle creatures. You cannot have one without the other. However, sometimes we become so caught up in the woes of remorse that we can’t see the success just over the horizon or that with every failure, we have marked off another way not to succeed. Reframing your regret will open up a new world of possibilities for your past decisions and your future self.