I as enjoying the Olympics the other night. Men's aerials, I believe it was, when I was struck with one of those little 'A-ha' moments. I watched as an athlete prepared for his run. Standing atop the snowy mountain, eyes closed, he was moving his arms and upper body, moving, twisting, turning going through his routine, visualizing a perfect run. And not just once, but over and over again. It reminded me of Apollo Ohno while preparing for one of his races. His focus was laser sharp and it was obvious he was letting it play out, seeing the track unfolding in his mind, imagining the moves, the turns, the other racers, and seeing clearly everything he needed to do to finish in the lead.
It's common for athletes to use visualizations when preparing for competition. Not only do they see themselves giving a perfect performance, but they see themselves winning. They imagine crossing the finish line first. They envision the roar of the crowd as their top score is announced and they allow themselves to feel the joy and elation of standing proudly on the podium, hearing their own national anthem ringing out. For many, it’s part of their training.
And this is really not so different that what we are doing when we visualize attracting more wealth, a healthy relationship or a better job. It would seem that the most apparent difference would be the intensity and clarity of their visualizations. An athlete will repetitively see themselves doing the same routine, performing perfectly, knowing every move they have to make. They may do this 100 times every day, with no variation in what they are imagining. It’s not quite the same as trying to attract more money, but even so, how clearly do you see your future? Do you know exactly what you want, or are you dreams and visions a bit vague? These world class athletes would never dream of entering a competition thinking, “I hope things turn out ok,” or worse not giving thought to it at all, and yet we go through so much of our lives without clear intent, leaving all the outcomes to chance. Do you imagine the outcome with pinpoint clarity they way an athlete would, or do you often flounder, seeing one thing one day, then something else the next? Do you have a routine of practicing your visualizations daily, or do you just squeeze it in when you have time?
While working to change or improve your life is not an Olympic event and should not be treated like one, there is something to be said for the focus and determination they show. They are on a world stage for a reason. They want something, they want it with all their heart and that is evident in the precision of their focus. How badly do you want this? Is the thread of change woven into every choice you make? Can the people around you sense that you are ‘in training’, that you are working and striving to improve your life, or are you just going through the motions? Even though we aren’t Olympic athletes, perhaps we can take a page from the Apollo’s of the world. We are all capable of change. We are all capable of achieving, and we are all capable of winning. Maybe we should all let a bit of our ‘inner Apollo’ out and really focus on creating something spectacular for our lives.