One way to really put yourself on the fast track to success is through the creative use of your imagination. Humans are unique among the animals, as our brains give us the ability to imagine different outcomes for our immediate future. Many evolutionary experts believe this is one of the driving forces behind our incredibly large brains, compared to other species.
This of course can be more of a hindrance than a help. If you’ve ever thought about doing something a little bit risky, you’ll know what I’m talking about. You think about doing something. Like raising your hand in class to ask a question, or speaking up with a perhaps controversial point in a meeting at work. Or you see an attractive member of the opposite sex and you’d like to go and introduce yourself.
What happens next is almost so fast we don’t even realize it. You quickly imagine all the possible outcomes of your prospective course of action, and many times the answer that comes back is a big NO! DANGER!. The brain looks into the future, and imagines what each potential outcome will feel like. Any feelings the brain deems are not desirable, get rejected, and you suddenly feel anxious and nervous about doing what you only thought a minute ago was a no brainer. Now you’re not so sure.
How can you fix this?
Not to worry. Here’s what you do. Before you go to sleep at night, scan through the day for any instances where you wish you could have acted differently. Say you saw a beautiful woman, and failed to take this opportunity to go and introduce yourself. Forget about why, and forget about chastising yourself. Instead, imagine what resource would have been helpful in that situation. For example, what resource would have been helpful when you saw the beautiful woman? Courage? Wit? Charm? Amazing linguistic dexterity? Anything will work. Since this is only in your imagination, you can try different ways until you find something that works really well.
Let’s say you chose courage. Here’s what you do. If it seems kind of weird, don’t worry. It is. But that’s ok. Remember, this is all only happening in your imagination. Scan through your whole life until you find a couple examples of that resource. What was it? Courage. Anytime you felt courage, in any situation, is fine. Now freeze the two memories out in front of your there. See yourself in the memory over there on the left, where you were courageous. And see yourself in the more recent memory over on the right, where you were about to go and talk to the girl of your dreams before you changed your mind.
Exhale all your breath, and breath in all the courage from the picture on the left. Slowly exhale your courage into the picture on the right, giving yourself the courage in your more recent memory. Do this three or four times. Next, float over into yourself on the picture on the right. Now that you’ve infused yourself with the courage that you already experienced, relive your recent memory, only with a different outcome. Walk over and talk to her, throw down some mad game, and get her number, or whatever it is that you wanted to do when you first saw her. Repeat this a couple times.
The key with this exercise is to do it consistently, every night. It might seem difficult, or strange, or evenÂ borderline psychoticÂ at first, but when you get the hang of it, you are sending your brain a clear and powerful message. You can not only imagine different futures, but you can reach back into your past and extract resources from anywhere, anytime andÂ from anyÂ context and apply them to now, so that in the future you’ll be much more successful than you were before you read this article.