Learning the secret

Visualising what you want can lead to extraordinary things and it starts with something so simple, yet little known.

With Paula Gosney. Image Getty Images

You’d have to be under a rock to have missed all the talk about “visualisation” and the “power of positive thinking”.

If you are anything like I was, when first told to “visualise my success”, I rolled my eyes and looked to the heavens. 

However, a strange thing happened that day, the very stylish woman who dealt this eye-rolling piece of advice, said something that opened my mind and created a new practice that is a valuable part of my life.

She told us to think about blue elephants. We were asked to close our eyes and imagine in great detail, blue elephants: what they looked like, how they moved, what shade of blue they were. She then assured us we’d see these mighty creatures over the coming week.

Yes, much to my surprise, I kept seeing blue elephants. I thought she’d been talking about big blue elephants walking down the street as if they had just stepped out of the jungle; what I hadn’t realised is there are blue elephants everywhere: on signs, TV, logos and cartoons. Because I wasn’t interested in blue elephants, I had no reason to notice them.

There it was, my first experience of “The Secret”. 

The secret being, how to train our brain to bring into our lives the things we want – and, the things we don’t want. Yes, this super-power can be used for evil too.

Visualisation can sound a bit hippy and scare people off; it did me. However, the idea of focusing our attention on what we want feels a lot more accessible. Many of us have experienced this phenomenon when we decide to buy a new car. We set our hearts on a make and model, only to discover the roads are teeming with them.

Why have we not noticed all the blue elephants or gold Volkswagens before? It’s because our brains are processing massive quantities of data subconsciously, it’s impossible for our much slower conscious mind to keep up. However, the moment something becomes a priority for us, it gets brought to the top of the pile, into our thinking brain and we become aware.

Focusing our attention on something does two things. It brings into our consciousness what is already around us (this explains the saying – it was right there in front of me, I just had to look) and secondly, we start making proactive decisions consciously and subconsciously to create more of the outcome we want.

Consider the new car scenario; if I totally obsess about buying the car of my dreams, I will find a way: save money, get another job, hit up my parents. However, if I kept thinking there’s no way I can afford it, then my beautiful, hardworking brain will collect evidence to affirm this. 

Apply this to your life, if you focus on the lack of something, all your mental energy will keep creating this. If you shift your focus practically and emotionally to the solution, your creative brain will kick into action and you will create change.

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