Visualize This!: How your brain gives substance to your dreams

dave martin dream goals vision Jul 08, 2021

Jim Carrey is one of the most beloved and successful comedians of my generation. But during his early days of modest success and career-building, his vision was to play lead roles in highly successful movies. Carrey wanted to earn eight-digit paychecks and receive awards for his performances.

Jim Carrey was more than a mere daydreamer, however. He actually wrote down his dreams and visualized them. In fact, Carrey went so far as to write himself a check for several million dollars. Then he postdated the check and he put it in his wallet, carrying it with him everywhere he went for the next several years.

As time passed, and as the due date for the check grew closer, Carrey’s vision helped ease the wait, and his passion helped him work hard every day in anticipation of his big payoff. Between the time he wrote that check to himself and the date the check would become due, Jim Carrey’s passion and work ethic helped him become a big star, and his popularity at the box office rose rapidly.

He starred in movies like Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask and Dumb and Dumber. But a short while before Carrey’s postdated check to himself became due, he was offered the lead role in a movie that would pay him an amount equal to the check he had been carrying in his wallet for the past five years.

Daring to dream—and then visualizing those dreams—wasn’t a waste of time for Jim Carrey. In fact, it isn’t a waste of time for anybody to write checks or to count stars or to do anything else that can help them give mental substance to the dreams their hearts have produced. Do what you need to do to give your dreams substance and to keep them alive in your soul.

Visualization is one of the most powerful tools in your success toolbox. In fact, researchers have found that, when you perform a task, your brain uses the same processes and mechanisms that it uses when you visualize yourself performing that task. So, chemically and mechanically, the brain doesn’t know the difference between the real thing and the imagined thing. This is why it is healthy to practice positive visualization. It stimulates the mind and brings satisfaction to the soul. It also sustains us while we wait for—and work toward—the realization of our dreams.

One of these research studies, conducted by Harvard University, noted that students who visualize their tasks in advance of performing them have nearly a 100% success rate when it comes to the actual fulfillment of the task. At the same time, those students who do not visualize their tasks ahead of time have about a 55% rate of achievement. Your brain can achieve a lot more when you effectively use the power of visualization than it can when you just jump headfirst into a task or pursuit.

This is why performance experts have become so popular since the 1980s, helping high-level performers, Olympic and professional athletes, and even coaches squeeze more productivity out of themselves and those they lead. Once high-level performers learn the craft of visualization and its amazing benefits, the performer can do things he never could have imagined before learning visualization. Literally!

Learn the power of visualization and its ability to help you achieve your goals.


This article was extracted from Issue 6 (Summer 2021) of the AVAIL Journal. Claim your free annual subscription here.

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