Can you imagine winning the lottery?
You can? Well done, you are human – you have an imagination. Our minds work on images without us really trying and we are always visualising stuff, bad and good: we imagine the worst, we imagine winning the lottery.
About two years ago I started using my imagination, consciously, to help create positive visualisations ahead of speaking in front of audiences. My performance improved straight away: I felt more in control and confident as a result. It’s very basic, but I calmly imagine being able to get there on time, without any stress. I imagine the audience arriving, then getting up on stage, saying my first few words, and it all going well. Etc.
If you also do this, you’re in good company because after Novak Djokovic won Wimbledon for the fifth time, he credited the power of his imagination.
“I always try to imagine myself as a winner,” said the champion.
Sports psychologist Dr Josephine Perry, who uses imagery in her work with athletes from a range of disciplines, says it can sometimes “feel a bit silly” – but those who take it seriously will really benefit.
“The research shows the more realistic you are able to make it, the more it works,” she says. “It is about being able to incite the smells, the senses.”
So I’m going to ramp up my ruminations and introduce more detail into my daydreams for success. I’ll smell the instant coffee at the networking, feel the slides’ clicker in my hand and hear the rapturous applause. Then, if I squeeze my eyes really tight, the numbers of the winning lottery ticket will appear – and if not, I’ll feel like a winner anyway.