It is often implied when using the term visualization that you are referring to the future. You are often told to visualize success, or a goal, or a desired outcome before it has happened. There are so many good quotes out there from inspiring people on the power of dreaming about something better in the future. This is all good. It is healthy to lay in bed dreaming about something you have not done, something you want to achieve, or something no one has thought of. The emotional power from these kinds of exercises is tremendous often resulting in confidence, courage, and hope, which are priceless emotions to have at any time.
Because the past is filled with both positive and negative experiences, unlike the future where neither has occurred, we tend to not visualize or dream about the past. It seems counter intuitive at first pass. Why waste time visualizing something you have already done? Well, I argue that visualizing something successful that you have already done is actually more empowering that visualizing something in the future where you have not done it yet. It is easier to visualize the past simply because you were there, you have all the details of the events where you performed at your best, where you were the happiest, or overcame an obstacle to succeed. You know where you were, how it happened, who else was there, and how it felt like emotionally. The past seems to get a bad rap as a place where only bad experiences exist and as such, we forget what a great place it can be to give us confidence, courage, and hope. “If I did it then, I can do it now,” can be a powerful emotional enabler as your past belongs to you, there are lessons in it, and there is legitimate success there that belongs to you. Visualizing the future is good too, but it often involves a good bit of abstract, unlike the past .
This week, make a list of your successes in the past. Pick some strong and vivid ones. Start out with perhaps just five. Before you go to bed each day this week, close your eyes, and relive those experiences. The next day, I will be surprised if you are not more confidant, courageous, and hopeful. You should be surprised if you do not do some amazing things this week!