Negative Visualization 101: Prime your Mind for Victory
Words cause sensations in the body.
With certain words, the feelings aren’t positive.
One of those words is:
It’s easy to want to shut out negativity & only invite in positivity.
That’s much better than only inviting in darkness.
However, negativity has gotten a bad rep.
Without proper usage, this emotion comes in clutch.
Channeled negativity leads to:
To stop being a victim of negativity, one mental tool is:
- Negative Visualization.
I’m not going to talk about this topic from the perspective of Stoicism.
(Although I know they have a profound perspective on the matter).
Instead, I’m going to talk about this topic from my personal experiences.
Pinning Down the Definition of Negative Visualization
My definition of negative visualization is:
Envisioning a dark moment for yourself & rising above anyways.
The reason we are willingly envisioning a dark moment is because of expecting something.
‘What’s the benefit of expecting something?’
When you expect something, you take away its power.
‘What happens if I don’t expect something?’
Other times, rage.
Being caught off guard is something that enrages people.
Imagine a homeowner hired someone to renovate their living room.
The contractor says that it will take 2 weeks to complete the project.
But that’s not what happens.
After the 2 weeks are up, the contractor says it will take 2 more months.
The homeowner is caught off guard and becomes furious.
This anger causes the homeowner to act out of character.
Who knows what happens after…
On the other hand, if the homeowner was expecting that some contractors are full of shit…
And 2 weeks may take up to 3 months.
Then this homeowner could have had workarounds planned.
There is power to looking around the corners.
Strategic negativity expands thinking.
Rising Above Dark Times
Just expecting the negative & leaving it at that is dreadful.
That’s not negative visualization.
That’s called anxiety.
If the homeowner just expected the contractor to be full of shit & left it at that, then anxiety & despair would ensue.
However, if the negative thought led the homeowner to find backup contractors, now creativity & plans would ensue.
2 variables are mandatory for the negative visualization formula:
- Envision the worst.
- Envision yourself rising beyond the worst.
These 2 make a deadly combo.
It’s something to warm up to…
How to Get Started with Negative Visualization
I view the mind as a muscle.
Just like anything with muscles, it’s smart to warm up.
Imagine if you go to the gym & automatically jump into lifting heavy weights.
May hurt yourself…
Have some warmup sets.
Then go heavier.
If you are someone with no mental training, then you may want to wait before doing negative visualization.
Mainly because negative visualization is advanced.
-Can my mind be controlled at will?
A more detailed version of this question is:
-Can I adjust my thoughts at will?
Think carefully before blindly nodding your head.
Controlling thoughts (negative & positive) at will, requires training & a control of bodily sensations.
Self-awareness is key to answering these questions.
If you answered ‘no’… then fear not.
That’s what stretching & warming up is for!
Writing to Thinking Transition
It’s easier to control thoughts when warming up with writing.
- Writing = Frozen thoughts.
- Thoughts = Vapor.
It’s hard to grasp the vapor immediately.
So, warm up with writing.
Create a scenario you want to imagine.
Write it out.
Let’s say you have a speech coming up.
The speech is going to be hosted at IHOP.
‘IHOP?? At least make it realistic!’
I am. One of my Toastmasters clubs used to host their meetings at IHOP.
So, pay attention carefully.
I’m speaking from real-life experience.
What can possibly go wrong at IHOP?
These are some negative possibilities.
What can I do about that?
–Speak louder when the audience gets loud.
-Somehow incorporate the crying baby into my speech.
-Pause when I forgot a point, smile, regroup, then continue.
See the connections?
This is possible with negative visualization.
Now let’s go from stretching our muscles to doing a warmup set.
Visualizing with Training Wheels
At this point, I listed out some negative possibilities & how I can rise.
Let’s connect, shall we??
This is a sample of what I will write:
“I am already feeling a lot of nerves as I see the host about to call my name. My mouth is dry, and my knees feel weak. To make it worse, 2 of the members from Toastmasters kept asking me if I’m nervous. Now I feel jittery. By the time I am on stage, immediately, a baby starts crying. I notice the customers at IHOP are louder than usual. This makes me angry. But rather than letting the anger get to me, I decide to channel it into creativity. I realize that I can incorporate the baby into my speech! Since my talk is about management skills, I can demonstrate how to deal well under pressure. When I incorporate the baby into my speech, the audience is surprised by my thinking on feet skills. They begin laughing. I feel confident when I hear them laugh…”
As I am writing this, my mind is creating the movie.
Notice that I am writing from a 1st person perspective.
Words influence the brain.
If I tell you to envision an “elephant”, you will see an image of an elephant.
The brain converts the symbols of the letters into an image.
I discuss the power of words on the brain in my blog about Neurolinguistics.
Don’t sleep on writing.
It’s a form of visualizing when the intent is there.
Eventually, you can visualize at will, with or without writing.
Negative Visualization = Battle Testing the Mind
A mind that is always expecting negatives will get more negatives.
A mind that is always expecting positives will get wins & disappointment.
And a mind that is expecting positives & negatives will get power.
Even the ‘negative visualization’ label is misleading.
Because it makes you think it’s only “negative.”
Negative along with an empowering ending.
Find creative methods to turn Ls into Ws.
The mind is a muscle.
It eventually picks up the workouts that we repeatedly do.
For more practical insights into CONQUERING your mind, check out the Level Up Mentality: