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GENIUS ARTICLES HOME: Reader's Creativity Questions: Visualization techniques Q&A 1

Visualization techniques: answers to your visualization technique questions

Clarity of visualization, enjoying visualizing, and visual mind-mapping explored

Shrikanth, a reader of this website, writes:

I read your visualization techniques on the web and found to be very useful. Thanks for your simple exercises on how to improve your visualization skills.

I am just a beginner and I have few queries, can you please help me in answering them :

Q1) As I am new to this visualization technique, so the image which I am trying to see is not clear ? so what should I do ?

Q2) Can you please tell me how to go about to enjoy this visualization technique ?

Q3) As I am a student, I want to mind map in terms of pictures for whatever I am reading for my academics. Can you please tell me the procedure ?

Here is my reply:
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Dear Shrikanth,

Thank you very much for your email and your questions. It's great to hear from you!
Let me address your questions.
1) You are new to the practice of visualization, and you want to know what you should do because the images you are trying to see are not clear. The answer is: RELAX! You don't need to be perfect at this. However well you manage to do it is really good enough.
Two forms of visualization
Visualization is a natural process that takes two forms: memory and imagination. If I ask you what you were doing half an hour ago, you search your memory and get an instant, fleeting image of what you were doing. If I say, imagine a pink eleohant squeezing through your front door, you get a fleeting impression of what that would look like. It just happens. But when people TRY to visualize, they have a concept of what visualization SHOULD be like, and then try and force their minds to work according to that concept. It doesn't work. It makes it seem difficult. But visualization is easy.
Daydream believer
You are a student. So, let me ask you this. Have you ever been sat in a classroom, maybe on a hot day, and the lecture is really boring... and you find yourself drifting off into a daydream? You know, one of those ones where you suddenly 'come to' and realize that you've missed the last 5 minutes of the lecture because you were day dreaming about playing for the national cricket team or going on a date with some gorgeous girl? The whole time you were daydreaming you were visualizing perfectly.
Inner Space
Try and give some awareness to watching your mind. Notice where in the inner space of your mind memory takes place, and where you imagine stuff. Then observe yourself when you are TRYING to visualize. If you are like me, you might notice that when you are trying to FORCE visualization to occur, you are doing it in a different spatial position in your mind than where it would naturally occur. I find that when I TRY to visualize, it's almost like I am trying to focus on a narrow circle in the forefront of my mind. And I just can't get it to come into focus like that. But if I RELAX and let the focus become diffuse (rather like seeing with peripheral vision) then my whole mind opens up to the experience of visualization.

Hypnosis download: Develop powerful visualisation skills
Here's a short article I just wrote that will also help you:


The 5 Visualization Techniques That Can Make You A Visualization Genius

There are 5 visualization techniques you can use to become a visualization genius. When you start using these visualization techniques, it's important to remember one thing: 'visualization' just means using your imagination. Visualizing is simply imagining.
Some people are more visual than others. They might take to these visualization techniques easily. Others can use them just as effectively by describing what they are imagining, or getting an emotional feel for what they are imagining. No matter what, you can improve your visualization skills.
Neuroscientists now say that the brain captures visual images as perfectly and completely as a digital camera. And it has stored everything that you have ever seen. You have a vast photo library in your head to draw upon when doing visualization techniques.
Here are the 5 visualization techniques:
1. Internalizing - this means seeing pictures in your mind's eye. You might visualize yourself doing the perfect golf swing or collecting that Academy Award.
2. Externalizing - this means projecting pictures outside of yourself with your eye's open. Try this now. Visualize a golden cup on the desk next to your computer. Reach out and 'pick it up'. It will seem even clearer and more real as you do this.
3. Forecasting - here you are seeing yourself in an imagined situation like giving that speech at the PTA next week. You just imagine yourself there and see yourself delivering the perfect speech and the audience responding enthusiastically to it.
4. Emotionalizing - with this you are feeling the emotion and energy but not actually 'seeing' anything. If you get into the emotion of an imagined event it will often trigger visual images to form.
5. Verbalizing - means describing real or imagined objects or events out loud. This is the basis for image streaming, the iq-boosting technique of describing the images in your stream of consciousness.
And here are 2 visualization distinctions:
Associated visualization - this is when you visualize, remember or imagine an event as though you are in your body, looking out through your eyes experiencing that situation. When you are visualizing to achieve a specific goal, it's important to visualize yourself fully associated like this.
Disassociated visualization - this is when you visualize, remember or imagine an event as though you are witnessing yourself from an outside perspective. This can be useful when you want to have a clearer perspective on a situation. Or when you want to have some distance from an emotionally volatile situation. Or when you want to improve a particular physical skill, and it is easier to first imagine how your body should look as it is performing that skill excellently, and then you can associate the experience from the inside.
With all of these visualization methods, it's important to include as many of your other senses as possible. Suppose you were imagining walking on a beach for example. Instead of just picturing the sun, surf and sand, you could imagine the sound of the waves, the salty smell of the ocean, the warm sand squidging between your toes, the sweet ice cream melting on your tongue. This will all help you get great results from your visualization techniques.
A2). You want to know how you can enjoy these visualization techniques. I go back to my first point. Relax! This is not an Olympic sport. You are already a natural at visualization if you can remember what color your front door is, or if you dream at night or daydream. Just have fun with it.
You enjoy anything by deciding to enjoy it. Shrug off any seriousness here. You are the master of your life. This is your creation. Take charge of it. Own it. Let the juice of living melt the hard lines of the 'shoulds', and 'have tos' in your mind. You don't "have to" improve your visualization. Change that "have to" to a "want to" and you'll immediately start to enjoy your practice.
Reframe that visual image
Neuro-Linguistic Programming introduced the concept of reframing. Imagine you have a picture of a pretty girl but it's in an old black frame with woodworm. Everytime you look at the picture, the frame spoils your enjoyment. It just doesn't go with the image of the pretty girl. So you reframe it. You put it in a nice new yellow frame that matches the girls dress. Perfect! It now makes you feel good everytime you look at it.
Now let's take your idea of these visualization techniques. You've got a mental frame around it that says it's something that you should do. And that you should be perfect at it -- otherwise it won't work. So everytime you think about it, it feels like hard work. When you try visualizing, you compare your results against your expectations that it should be perfect. And you feel disappointed because the images seem to be fuzzy and fade in and out.
A brand new picture
Okay, now change your mental frame. You decide visualization is natural and easy. After all, it's just remembering or imagining. You've done that millions of times already. You've daydreamed often. Run little scenarios in your head. Imagined little fantasies. You are going to relax about the whole thing and instead of worrying about HOW to do it, you are just going to get on with DOING it. And you won't worry about making it perfect. You'll just enjoy it regardless. And sometimes you'll experience vivid visualizations. And other times they will be fuzzy or indistinct. But that's life, and it's all okay.
A3) In your third question, you want to know how you should create visual mind-maps to accompany what you are studying. There are many excellent resources online teaching mind-mapping, and obviously Tony Buzan's mind-mapping site should be the first port of call. He formalized this technique and made it what it is today. Leonardo da Vinci used his own form of mind-mapping which incoporated images and text. The Victorian poet, Lord Alfred Tennyson, used a mind-mapping process he called nuclear shorthand. But Tony Buzan and his brother invented mind-mapping and are the best teachers of it. You can get a free 30 day trial of their iMindMap software at Buzan's site. I recommend you check that out. It will give you a good experience of how to set up mind-maps. And includes a massive image library to use on your mind maps.
Visualizing Success Tools
Just to close, I would like to mention a couple of resources that tie visualization, goal setting and mind-mapping techniques together. Brian Mayne created a completely image-based mindmapping system called Goal Mapping. And cartoonist Vince Palko creates success visuals to help you visualize achieving your goals more easily. If you want to improve your visual mind mapping skills, I recommend taking a short course in cartooning, such as the Lou Darvas course here.
Conclusion of allusion
I hope these answers to your visualization technique questions have been of some help. You wanted to make your visualizations clearer so they are more believable. I've recommended you relax about the whole thing. I've suggested that you recognize that visualization is a natural process. You do it when you remember something. You are also visualizing naturally when you imagine, daydream or fantasize. While you are caught up in a day dream, you have no trouble believing in it. Nor do you keep stopping every few seconds to say, "Oh I need to make that bit clearer, and that bit more colourful." NO! You just get on with it and enjoy it. You are immersed in the daydream experience. This then is the best of all the visualization techniques. Not to obsess about getting it right. But just get on with doing visualization, and enjoying it.
Wily Walnut
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QUESTIONS: Got questions? I'd love to hear from YOU. Email me: wily[at]wilywalnut.com

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