In a recent department meeting, we discussed the importance of vision. In the book The 12 Traits of the Greats by Dr. Dave Martin, he said that Imagination brings your dreams to life. He said, “I am convinced that one of the main reasons people fail to get what they want out of life is because they haven’t decided what they want out of life.”
No ship ever picks up anchor and sets sail on the high seas until the captain has a destination clearly in mind, and no person will ever pick up and move on with his life until he has a firm picture in his own mind of where he wants to be when the journey is finally concluded. Jesus himself was a tremendous visionary and planner. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus was simply trying to tell people to stop worrying and fretting over those things that God would provide for them on the journey. Believe me, anybody who can plan a marriage feast thousands of years ahead of time is a world-class planner. When you know where you are going in life, it is much easier to establish priorities and stick with them.
One of the main reasons people lose their dreams is because they fail to write them down, and one of the main reasons people fail to achieve their dreams is because they fail to visualize them.
We constantly put our company Mission Statement (We make money to spread the Gospel, As we protect life and property, with Teamwork and a Spirit of Excellence) before us and our staff in the form of pictures to give them a visual. We continually strive to express our mission statement in terms of behavior to remind us of what teamwork and excellence mean. We do quarterly company mission trips to serve in our community to remind us of our mission and purpose as we protect life and property. We continually send pictures of the projects we’ve donated to throughout the year.
God told Abraham that he would be the father of many nations when he didn’t even have a son and was very old, and God used the imagery of stars and sand to help Abraham strengthen that vision within his heart that was growing weak due to the negative impact of temporary circumstances, because it took years before he bore a son with his wife. When Jesus taught, He constantly used the words “like” and “as.” For example, in Matthew 13:31, He said, “…The Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed.” He gave us mental pictures to help us see the vision. Bishop I.V. Hilliard, pastor of the New Light Christian Center Church in Houston, shared in one of his sermons, “If you see what you want, you’ll get what you see.” Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”
Visualization is one of the most powerful tools in your success toolbox. In fact, researchers have found that whenever you perform any 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’s healthy to practice positive visualization. It stimulates the mind and brings satisfaction to the soul. It also sustains us while we wait for the realization of our dreams and while we work toward them.
A study conducted by Harvard University proved 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. Performance experts have helped high-level performers, Olympic and professional athletes, and even coaches squeeze a lot more productivity out of themselves and those they lead.
Stanford University conducted a study on this using basketball players. They had half of the players lie on the bleachers every day, visualizing themselves shooting free throws, while the other half of the squad went about their daily free throw shooting drills as usual. The squad that spent time visualizing their free throws prior to shooting them actually saw their averages rise higher than those who didn’t.
When you visualize your goals as already complete, your brain creates a conflict with your subconscious mind between what you actually have and what you’re hoping for. But if you continue to feed vivid, colorful and specific pictures to your brain through visualization, your brain will begin to capture that information and will begin to do things that are necessary to bring that picture to life. In other words, your brain will go to work achieving the things you are imagining and actuating the pictures you are sending it. Be careful though, because this process also works in the reverse. The person who dwells on negative thoughts and negative images stimulates his brain to give life to his worst nightmares.
Dr. David Yongii Cho, senior pastor of the world’s largest congregation, wrote an excellent book about the importance of visualization, The Fourth Dimension. In his book, he suggests a daily ritual of visualization, particularly in the mornings immediately following prayer when energy is at its peak and creativity is flowing.
Have a mission statement. Define your goals. Do something every day/week to move the dream forward. Create a to-do list. The journey to greatness is not a journey of a few miles; it is a journey of thousands of inches. It’s not a journey of a few giant leaps; it is a journey of hundreds of baby steps. Remember to give yourself some visuals to see where you want to be tomorrow.