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African Americans: Decide Your Destiny, Master Your Mind, Part 2
ďA mighty flame followeth a tiny spark.Ē
Generate Passion Using Visualization - Much of the interpretation of our experiences is determined by how we represent them in our minds. An experience must pass through the filter of your past experiences, personal beliefs, value systems, religious understanding and many other filters before being stored in your brain as a memory. A negative experience with telephone marketers may cause you to immediately hang up the phone whenever a telephone marketer calls in the future. A person that believes that lying is always wrong may never lie even when it means others might be hurt by the truth whereas someone with a variation of that same belief may feel it is right to lie to protect others. These beliefs and experiences affect how you represent experiences and ideas in your mind and the actions that result from those interpretations. Some research suggests that it takes seven positive statements to erase the impact of a single negative statement. Negative remarks are more inflammatory and we tend to replay them in our minds with more emotional feeling then positive remarks.
Visualization is one method you can use to reduce the intensity of negative remarks and experiences and to intensify positive remarks and experiences. There are military veterans and crime victims that get medical treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These people have suffered highly intense, negative life experiences and they are recalled unconsciously in their minds with such vividness, clarity, volume and proximity that they actually relive the experience many times over. They present with symptoms of sleeplessness, stress and other physical manifestations of having relived the original experience. Visualization is a process you can control. You can re-experience your lifeís best moments with equal feeling and intensity as your most negative ones. This can make you more productive and more effective in your life just like PTSD can handicap those suffering from it. Consciously visualizing an image needs to be done correctly to have the desired impact.
First, mentally recreate a positive moment in your life. Feel the same good feelings you felt when you had the original experience. What are the qualities of the images that give you those feelings? Are they colorful or black and white? Are there sounds or is there silence? If there is sound, do you hear it internally or externally? Are you included in the images as actually experiencing the event in your mind or is it like you are watching the action on a television screen? Are the images up close or distant? Are the sounds you hear loud or soft? These are merely a few of the modalities you can manipulate to either increase or decrease the emotional impact of your experiences. Play around and have fun with the visualization process.
Learn what changes create the most impact on your experience. Determine which modalities lessen the emotional content of an image and which modalities increase it. For many, a black and white image viewed as a third party from a long distance with no sound may contain the least emotional content, which can be a great way to represent your defeats, failures and mistakes. Likewise, colorful, high volume, first party images that are close up and full of detail can increase the emotional content, which will empower you and boost your self confidence as you represent your positive experiences with greater intensity. When you are negatively criticized, change the voice of the person doing it to the voice of Daffy Duck or Mickey Mouse. That same criticism just cannot have the same impact on your psyche coming from a cartoon character.
This strategy not only works in your mind, it works in real life. That is one reason why DVDs of old movies are re-released in digitally remastered formats with Dolby surround sound effects. Old black and white movies are colorized while more people are paying big bucks to get 50-inch High-Definition televisions and hooking them up with expensive surround sound systems. Once we experience this new technology in the store, we want to recreate it in our homes because it increases the impact of how the movies or sporting events we like to watch make us feel. This is exactly what happens in your mind when you visualize events. Do the same thing with your personal experiences. Take your negative ones and view them as small, gray scale, silent movies. View the image as a tape in fast-forward and blur the image. Does this take away some of the feelings you once felt when you thought of the negative words someone said or the defeat you experienced?
Now take your positive experiences and bring them in close in full, rich color and surround sound. Put yourself inside the action, slow down your mental replay enough to capture all the details and nuances of the experience. Are you feeling the same as you did the day you actually lived the event? Practice leads to perfection with this strategy. Keep working and getting better at visualization until you can produce the emotional states you desire at your command.
Here is another benefit to developing this strategy. The experience does not have to be real to have an impact. If you donít have enough positive experiences in your life to reference then imagine your own. Create images of the future you desire and experience it with full intensity in the present. This exercise will help your desired future become a reality by focusing your mind on the benefits of accomplishing your goals.
This is a critical skill to have in your arsenal. This first strategy to mastering your destiny is all about mastery over the resources currently at your disposal. That means using your gray matter between your ears in the most effective manner possible. Visualization is a large step in that direction and the next strategy is another.
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