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The Path to Success: Act As If

We have all heard about the power of positive thinking.  “Just tell yourself you can – and you will”, they say.  But does this work on any level? 

The traditional teachings of positive thinking have proven to be disappointing for some folks in certain situations.  There are some problems with the way positive thinking has been taught in the past which has (ironically) caused some negative reactions when it hasn’t brought about the desired results.

The good news is that we do have the power to change our thoughts and thus, the power to effect change in our relationships, our businesses/jobs, and our self-concept.  Rather than repeating affirmations over and over again (such as, “I’m thin and beautiful, I’m thin and beautiful”) it is more effective to take the “act as if” approach. 

If you take some time to get quiet, relax, and visualize what your life would be like if you had already reached your goal, your mind stands a better chance of accepting this as a possible reality to work toward.

Not only do we need to get our conscious mind on board with our goals and aspirations, we also need to get our subconscious mind on board.  The best way to get both on board at the same time is to combine the power of visualization, hearing, smelling, tasting, and emotionally feeling what life would be like if the desired outcome had already happened. 

Let’s re-visit the above example (admittedly a slightly silly example) of having the goal to be thin and beautiful.  Just telling yourself over and over that you are thin and beautiful will not bring this goal to pass.  However, if you begin to take relaxed moments (on a regular, consistent basis) to really visualize yourself as thin and beautiful and allow yourself to really imagine how you feel emotionally as this thin and beautiful version of you, your subconscious mind begins to make more room for this expanded view and feel of yourself. 

As your mind begins to act as if you are thin and beautiful (which, by the way, you already are beautiful – regardless of girth, but then that is a topic for another article) then over time, you begin to hold your head up just a little bit higher, you walk with more of a spring in your step, and research has shown, then others will perceive you as attractive and be drawn to you.

Let’s see how acting as if could work for a business or job-related goal.  Let’s suppose you are one of the most talented artists in your area, but you can’t seem to get any gallery time or buying customers.  Get alone, get quiet, close your eyes and let the movie begin. 

See yourself walking through your opening night at a highly acclaimed gallery feeling very content to see your art work proudly displayed with lots of people happily viewing and discussing your work.  Imagine the smells, the tastes, the sounds, and your emotional state as you watch all these supportive people cheering you on and making purchases of your work to display in their homes or their businesses.  The more detailed you can get with your visualization, the better. 

When you move into the strategizing phase of marketing your art, really give yourself permission to act as if the desired outcome you pictured in your mental movie has already happened.  From this emotional space, create your marketing plan and commit to taking measurable actions to move toward this outcome. 

Each time you get ready to take an action step (toward your goal/desired outcome) take a few moments to play your movie in your mind’s eye.  As your conscious and sub-conscious mind begins to accomodate these new neural pathways, your whole mind-body system will begin to move in this new direction. 

Olympians have been using a similar technique for years.  They visualize with as much detail as possible the perfect dive, the crowds clapping and cheering and how they feel after they swim to the surface knowing they have executed their best dive. 

Don’t just mindlessly chant, “I think I can, I think I can” – act as if you already have to move your holistic mind-body system toward success.

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