Five Minutes a Day to Change Your World Eric Plantenberg
Sounds dramatic, doesn’t it? But so are the results experienced by myself and others who have put this simple, five-minute practice into action. The practice is called positive visualization. That’s right, positive visualization. Some of you may think this sounds too simple, some of you may think this sounds weird, and some of you may be ready to start a simple exercise that has more power to impact your life immediately than almost any other exercise I have come across.
Before we talk about HOW to do this exercise most effectively, let’s talk about what the purpose is and why it works. The purpose behind visualization is to allow your life to be as good and fulfilling as possible-both in your actual results and in the attitude with which you approach your day.
Here’s why it works: Our minds are always thinking. We replay situations, and usually, we replay the negative ones much more often than the positive ones. If we’re not revisiting the frustrations of today, we are rehearsing worrisome situations for tomorrow. And, what you focus on in your mind is what your subconscious works to achieve. That sounds very philosophical…so let’s use a sports analogy. Take football (far enough from philosophical?) When a quarterback goes to complete a pass, what is he supposed to look at? Not his hands, not the ball, not even where the intended receiver is at the current moment, but where he wants the ball to end up, right? Here’s another one: I used to teach hang gliding. Beginning students don’t consciously know how to turn the glider. However, if a person walks a bit in their way, just enough in their line of site to freak them out, the student stares at the obstacle, hoping to avoid it, and yet their subconscious takes them right to it, and they crash! It’s amazing! They literally don’t know how to turn, but by focusing on something, their subconscious turns them right to it.
Your mind does the same thing with your life, and yet for most of us, the amount of time we spend focusing on negative situations and possible negative outcomes far outweighs the amount of time we spend focusing on good. So what does your subconscious do? It takes you right to the obstacle you are focusing on trying to avoid-the negative stuff. What you are going to do in your visualization is make yourself focus on the positive outcomes you are looking forward to seeing. You might not even know consciously how to get there, but your subconscious will take over and direct you if the vision is strong enough.
So how do you create strong visions of positive things? It doesn’t require an hour of humming and chanting. You simply should set aside 5 minutes in a place where you know you can be quiet and undisturbed. I have found that pulling my car over in the same spot, every day, on my way home has provided consistent and quiet time.
Then play a movie in your mind of a scene from your future that excites you-are you on the beach with your family? Which beach? What are you wearing? Are you golfing in your retirement? Which course? Which hole? Get a clear picture. Then watch and enjoy. The first time I did this correctly, I literally got goose bumps.
On some days, the exercise will end there. On most days you will want to take another step to bring that same enjoyment into current situations that may otherwise frustrate you. All you do is keep that great feeling and change your scenery. Take it with you into tomorrow’s meeting that’s making you nervous. See how it feels to walk into that meeting with the same level of joy and excitement you had in your visualization. Now watch that meeting work itself out much more positively than you had previously imagined.
What you’ll quickly find is that not only will the possible frustrations of tomorrow start to dim in your mind, but tomorrow will often work out just as you had visualized. And not only will tomorrow be better, but your long-term vision will be solidified in your mind and your subconscious will work to get you there.
How Big is Your Dream?
Often people ask me what is the “key” to becoming FREE? What one thing is the source of freedom at work, in relationships, financially, etc?
I have a critical question for you. What was the source of your greatest success? Think back to the time of you greatest achievement. Think about the area of your life that has continually been a source of strength and joy. What is the source of those magical moments?
Many great thinkers have said that everything in our life is created twice – once in thought and then once in reality. I will suggest that the original source of everything great in your life is a dream that you had in the past. Before goals are set, before action plans are created, before timelines and schedules, there is the moment when your mind is racing in thought and you dream about what could be.
Many of you know that this is the last newsletter I will be writing for some time. On June 18th Michelle Mitchell and I will be married, and this fall we will begin a several year sabbatical traveling the world.
Upon hearing this, many people cock their head to the side and give us a quizzical look, somewhat in disbelief. Other people simply can not believe we would possibly do such a random thing. In the end, almost everyone asks how this is possible.
It is not because we are independently wealthy, or that we are running away from our responsibilities, or that we are carelessly leaving our lives to return to chaos in a couple of years. This is a reality for us in the same way that ANY and all of your dreams could be a reality for you.
Both of us began dreaming. Wishing. Hoping. Fantasizing about what it would be like to travel to every continent, to see hundreds of different cultures, meet people from totally different backgrounds, support missions and causes that we believe in along the way.
For me, that dream began over ten years ago and I can truthfully say that there has not been a day in the last many years that I haven’t thought about that dream. Year after year in my mind, the creation process continued to crystallize and become clearer. That led to the development of specific goals, then the daily discipline to realize mileposts we set along the way.
I believe that every single person that reads this email or attends one of our classes has the same potential, the same capacity or more to realize any and all of their dreams. For that to happen, it is REQUIRED that you have a clear picture of what your dreams looks like to you.
How then, specifically, do you do this? I would suggest that you simply grab out a piece of paper and start writing. Write about whatever is meaning to you. Whatever gets you excited? Whatever you are most passionate about. Write out a clear description of your dream home, or the car you would drive if money wasn’t an issue. Where you would go on a shopping spree, what charities you would most like to support, what new sports or hobbies you would like to learn… Or what vision you have for your faith community. Maybe you also enjoy travel and would start by writing down all the countries you would like to visit some day.
It begins with a dream. The bigger your dream, the more likely it is to become a reality.
Will some people think that you are nuts? Of course they will. Just realize they think you are nuts or give you grief because they are afraid. They are afraid of leaving what is comfortable for what they want most. We all need someone to relate with – they are hoping that that might be you!
When your dream is big enough, none of that really matters anymore.