The Olympics are done and dusted for another Olympiad and we can all now slip back into our usual daily routines.
Apart from getting puffed out watching the athletes perform strenuous activities for 16 days, I am wondering whether we can gain anything else for ourselves from this four yearly event. Those hours sitting on the couch needn’t be wasted. We could all benefit from this hard effort on a more personal level.
What always springs to mind when I am watching and reading about these superhuman feats is the mindset of professional athletes. The physical performance of sports can only take us so far, and there are millions of people around the world who could, if we were just talking physicality, perform at elite levels. But only a select few make it. For those who are at such peak levels, mindset needs to be getting a phenomenal workout too, even more so than the body. In fact, life is more than just what your physical body can do. Life is all a mind game. A game that we play in our minds, before we physically take part.
Most of us spend more time worrying about events coming up, rather than focusing and fine-tuning what we want.
There are key qualities that a successful person (in anything) has that often Average Joe doesn’t. This enables them to push their physical body harder, continually grow, keep achieving and push through failure. When they fall, instead of staying down, they get up again. Reflecting on quotes we have seen from Olympians and elite sports people (past and present) the technique of visualisation comes up time and time again.
Visualisation is using our imagination to create a particular scenario in our mind, which is different to the one we are experiencing in real life. All top performers know the importance of picturing themselves succeeding in their minds before they actually do it in reality. Living a part of their life in their mind before it becomes real. Visualisation is more than just thinking about upcoming events. The inner part of our brain doesn’t know the difference between a thought and reality. So if we are ‘visualising’ or ‘thinking’ of what we want in the future, our brain thinks it is happening now. What we want then becomes easier, because it is like we have already done it.
Confidence comes from past successes, so if we have already succeeded in our mind a few times, we are more confident when presented with it in the future.
So how can us mere mortals use visualisation to boost performance in areas in our own lives?
Start with being clear on exactly what you want. What do you want to happen? Picture exactly want you want in your minds eye. Perhaps it is winning a gold medal, maybe it is getting your drivers license, meeting the perfect man or delivering a brilliant public speech.
Start visualising in vivid detail every step towards achieving this. When athletes use visualisation, they feel every step in the event taking place in their mind. From putting on their shoes through to standing at the ceremony at the end with their medal, audience cheering. They feel it, taste it, smell it, see it and hear it.
Many athletes have already undertaken the whole event in their mind thousands of times before they perform the event in real life.
For all of us non-Olympians, it pays to start visualising what we want in our lives, and how we can get it. If we can’t picture ourselves achieving it, chances are it ain’t going to happen.
Whatever you want to succeed in, do it in your mind first, before you do it in real life. You’ve got nothing to lose.