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The Miracle of Visualization
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Self-Image and Performance

Jack Canfield
A best-selling author and leading expert in the development of human potential, Jack Canfield is a dynamic, entertaining speaker who addresses thousands of people each year on personal and professional development, inspiring them to pursue their dreams.

He has authored a number of best-selling audio- and videocassette programs, including "Self Esteem" and "Peak Performance," and has coauthored numerous books, including Chicken Soup for the Soul, Dare to Win and The Aladdin Factor (all with Mark Victor Hansen). His corporate clients include Northrup and Unitax.
  Self-Image and Behavior   #853
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You always perform on the outside exactly the way you see yourself on the inside. By using self-image psychology and visualization you can dramatically improve your performance in anything you do. Here is Jack Canfield to give you a powerful technique that you can use for the rest of your life.

Let me give you an example of how you can change your self-image and how that can change your behavior. I have a friend named Dr. Jerry Jampolsky. He lives in Marin County in California, and he's a psychiatrist. And he works right now mostly with terminally ill children, people who have leukemia, and who have cancer. And if you go and see him you got these little kids in there and their bald heads because of the chemotherapy and the radiation treatment and so forth.

He's a beautiful man. He teaches these kids how to visualize themselves in terms of releasing themselves to the disease, sometimes overcoming it, but sometimes just accepting, you know, how to die and surrender to that in a way that's graceful and at peace with yourself.

And he mentioned in an interview in the newspaper that he used guided imagery and visualization as a way to help people do that. And he said in the interview that visualization was the most powerful tool that was available for change.

Someone of the school board of Marin County read this and came to him and said, "Look, we're having a real difficult time with our remedial reading students. I wonder if you could come over and use this visualization stuff and see if you can speed up their ability to learn reading." He said, "Well, I don't know if that will work or not, but let's give it a shot."

What he did was go over and have the kids close their eyes and visualize going into a building, going up to the tenth floor, coming out of the elevator into a lobby of a movie theater. In this lobby is a bathtub. They go over to the bathtub and they stand in it and there's a hose coming out where the faucet would be. And they unzip the top of their head, they take out their brain and with this hose they wash out all of the negative thoughts. "I can't read." "This is too hard." "I'll never learn." "I'm stupid," that kind of thing. And the students watch all of these thoughts, like little gray dirt, go down the drain. Then they put their brain back in their head, they zip it closed, they get out of the bathtub, they go into the movie theater and they sit down.

And then they see projected up on the screen a picture of them reading well. They see themselves sounding out the words, having their parents say, "I'm so proud of you," hearing the teacher say, "Good job, Johnny or Mary. I'm so proud of you." And then they go out of their chair and they walk up to the screen and they literally go in the screen.

And now they look at the movie as if they're in the movie. See, right now if you're watching a movie of you, you see your whole body up on the screen. But when you're in the movie, you just see your own hands. You're looking out through your own face. You can't see your own face right now. We call this associated imagery versus disassociated imagery, which is more powerful to produce change. So whenever you visualize something you want, visualize it from inside of your body, what it would look like if you had it. Don't see yourself outside of yourself. It's not as powerful.

Then he had the kids come out of the screen, sit back in their chair, take this movie screen and shrink it down to the size of a postage stamp, still a three-dimensional, Superscope, Technicolor, Dolby sound movie. Okay? And so then they would take this picture of themselves reading well, stick it in their mouth and chew it up. And each of these crumbs from this chewing up would go down their throat, into their stomach and then out into their bloodstream. And then every cell in their body eventually had a picture of them reading well.

Two and a half months later they retested the kids. They also retested kids who had not been in the study, who'd not learned this technique. What they found was that these children increased their reading scores, their reading levels, two and one half years in a little over two months. The average kid that had been in school had not done this technique had only increased a little under two months. That's how powerful it is when you change your self-image. They didn't change the reading teachers, they didn't change the textbooks, they didn't change the instructional technology. The only thing that changed was what? That's right, the self-image. The image they had of themselves in their heads.

Now, here are two things you can do immediately to improve your self-image and your behavior.

First, create a clear mental image of the kind of person you would like to be, performing exactly the way you would like to perform in some area of your life. Imagine how you would feel when you are performing at your very best.

Second, hold the mental picture of yourself performing at your best and then walk, talk and act as if you were already that person. Fake it until you make it. Your subconscious mind will then accept your mental image and your behavior as commands and organize your performance to be consistent with them. This is very powerful.

Other BestSteps® You Might Enjoy
The Miracle of Visualization
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Self-Image and Performance
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