There’s a lot of excitement about using positive mindset visualizations to attain audacious goals. These exercises are along the lines of “picture your ideal life in detail and focus on everything going right.”
Are positive mindset techniques the ultimate tool for manifesting our wishes? It depends on how we use them.
These techniques don’t seem to work for most of us but do seem to help a fraction of people achieve the wild success they dream of. These four critical steps can make visualization exercises work just as effectively for you.
We have to first examine our current state of mind to determine if using a positive mindset tool will yield significant results.
A positive mindset isn’t genuinely positive when it’s in avoidance of underlying negativity. If we have to force ourselves to think positively, it’s likely because we’re currently in a scarcity mindset. A positive mindset doesn’t cancel out scarcity beliefs. Furthermore, trying to override negativity through positive thinking doesn’t get us very far. All it does is bypass our inner demons.
Bypassing is avoidance and avoidance is fear. The only way to overcome the scarcity mindset is to acknowledge the negative beliefs head-on.
Our mind is like a computer that runs thought programs all the time. Negative beliefs such as “I am inadequate” are the viruses that disrupt our entire operating system. We have to track these thought viruses back to their roots and delete them from our awareness so that good programs like “I can achieve anything” can perform properly.
Positively visualizing future states may also set us up to deny where we are in the present moment. In doing so, we may end up suppressing thoughts and emotions that need to be released. These thoughts and emotions, if not discharged, can distort our ideas about what we want and set us on a path that is fraught with unnecessary drama and challenges. Furthermore, when our state of mind is negative, dangling a shiny new reality in front of ourselves isn’t going to be that motivating (and may even create frustration) because that reality won’t yet feel accessible to us.
We have to know where we currently stand if we want to get to a new destination. Without an awareness of our starting point, it isn’t possible to map the route. Present-moment awareness is key to moving forward and upward. It is our gateway into the future.
The process of clearing our scarcity mindset doesn’t have to be long and torturous. We tend to believe that big change takes years to achieve. However, there’s an alchemist in each of us who knows how to quickly turn difficult situations into golden opportunities. We can achieve extraordinary results in very short periods of time if we are ready to explore the forces holding us back.
Acceleration happens when we decide to get real with ourselves—really honest, that is. Developing an integrity check-in practice keeps us moving forward boldly. This involves learning how to sense the presence of blind spots, also known as the distortions in our view of reality. Although it is challenging to discover what our blind spots are all about, we can still learn to detect when they show up and find a coach or mentor to work through them.
Conquering a scarcity mindset can seem overwhelming at first, and it’s normal for fear to intensify as we approach the root of our issue. If you’ve come this far, don’t turn back. What usually follows is a completely reversed perspective. It reminds me of the famous movie scene where the curtains are pulled back on the “great” and “intimidating” Wizard of Oz, revealing a frightened and frail being who was, all along, making a big deal out of nothing.
Our weaknesses have no power. They’re weaknesses, after all. The only power they have is the power we give them.
Having a positive mindset tends to feel more natural once we’ve addressed our negativity. In the process of deleting our scarcity mindset beliefs, we shrink the distance between our current and desired states, allowing the visualizations to be a lot more believable.
Once we’ve cleared our thought viruses, positive visualizations can be a great way to propel us forward, provided we keep an open mind as to what’s possible for us. If we get too fixated on realizing certain outcomes, we inadvertently limit how many opportunities we can bring forth. Rather than letting the mind quickly settle on specific results, it helps to retain fluidity in our visions.
In that spirit, I’m going to leave you with a visualization that can open you up no matter where you are in your journey:
Getting to know yourself in this moment, without hesitation, attracts the possibilities you need to accelerate into the future. The results might blow the roof off your mind.
Bianca Finkelstein originally published this article in Fast Company Magazine