I heard someone talking the other day about a book about positive visualization. In it, there was a case study of a man that was imprisoned and while there, he visualized himself playing golf. The whole time he was imprisoned, he thought about golf. He visualized himself playing the game. When he was finally released, the first thing he did was go to the golf course. He played an amazing game. When he was done, his friends asked him how it was possible that he played so well when he was in prison for all those years. He said it was possible because he visualized it for such a long time.
I found that story so intriguing. I remember when I was a girl, I really wanted a particular doll. I thought about it, wished for it, and, as these were the days of “I dream of Jeannie” I walked the same way to the store every day after school and blinked my eyes three times, just like Barbara Montgomery would. Unfortunately, no doll ever appeared so I think on many levels, that sealed in my mind that it was really only hard work, maybe a little luck and maybe money that got you what you wanted in life.
One of my most favorite books is Deepak Chopra’s 7 Spiritual Laws of Success. I refer to this book a lot in my teaching and working with people in small groups and individually. In the book, he talks about the practice of meditation and the idea that when you get really present and still, you can think thoughts (“seeds of intention” he calls them) and they’ll take root in your mind. I love the idea of that, even if on some level I wonder if it’s true. It’s as if you’re a gardener and as you meditate, you work the rocks and roots out of the garden of your mind. You’re left with rich, fertile soil and in that soil, you can plant the seeds of your intentions. I believe I may have even heard that metaphor used when I was in yoga class once. I remember Deepak also said in the book that the idea only really works for intentions and not desires. In other words, if you’re wishing for a doll (like in my earlier example) or a car or a better job, it may not work. However, if you’re trying to set an intention to be more focused on your passion or if you can visualize yourself doing a job that you love and what that might look like, then yes, those thoughts and ideas can take root in the soil of your mind.
I started perusing the Malcolm Gladwell book, Outliers, this week. In it, he talks about the “10,000 hour rule,” meaning that even with innate talent, you have to really work hard and long hours in order to succeed. When he looked at what separated good talent from great talent, he found that even in the case of “natural born talent” (Bill Gates, for example) he found that the rule applied to their area of expertise.
When I combine the ideas of both Deepak Chopra and Malcolm Gladwell, I get this really interesting combination of hard work, faith and meditation being the ingredients of the magic cocktail when it comes to what helps us succeed in whatever area we’re passionate about. I can relate to that and I think that’s a recipe I can follow.