(Copyright 2000, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)
Preface – The Art of Visualization
It was through the process of visualization that I had the idea to write this book, in order to help anyone utilize the technique of visualization to improve their lives and the organizations they’re part of. Visualization provides you with the opportunity to see anything from a fresh new perspective, explore alternative options, and open yourself to eureka moments of self-discovery in your life and in the organizations you participate in. In the movie Dead Poets Society, the teacher played by Robin Williams has each student stand on top of a desk and look at the world from a fresh, new and radically different perspective. It is this radical alteration of how we look at our world that can change everything for us – and it is the art of visualization that can make it happen!
The Art of Visualization is a technique of looking at something in a new light, independently from the subject of interest. Life itself is a process of visualizing, imagining and replicating the world around us, because our minds function in a virtual world inside our craniums as if locked away in a dark room. Our minds can’t experience or know what’s going on, without receiving sensory inputs that interpret what’s happening around us in the real world.
Imagine having an interpreter translating the events around you as they’re happening. You’re always one step behind, because you can’t correlate anything in real-time. The words are out of phase in both time and comprehension due to the time lag in the process of interpretation. It’s only after the fact, having heard the translation, that you can rejoin words and actions together in your mind to create understanding. What if your interpreter also requires an interpreter in order to convert the speaker’s words into a language you can understand? Take it one step further and imagine that the language the translator is speaking to you in is your second language – and requires your complete focus and attention. Even though you understand this language on a conversational level, technical words and phrases you don’t know cause you to completely miss the original meaning and intent of what’s being said.
This word picture of one interpreter, interpreting for another, who in turn interprets for you what the original speaker is saying, is a word picture of the events that are taking place – and an example of visualization. Your mind requires multiple inputs in order to interpret the world around it correctly. Fortunately for us, our sensory inputs and neurons normally work very quickly, so that our interpretation of the outside world occurs in near real time with the actual events taking place – otherwise, we would always be too far behind to ever react as events are happening around us. The more inputs your brain receives, the better it’s able to translate what’s happening around you. The faster it receives those inputs, the quicker it can resolve that virtual picture puzzle of what’s happening outside its cranium. It’s sort of like a jigsaw puzzle – each sensory input adds a piece of the puzzle and your brain must compile it together into something it can understand. This composite picture made up of various sensory puzzle pieces is what your mind uses to base its decisions on. If you have a few puzzle pieces missing or out of place, then your mind must cobble together a compilation of current sensory inputs and past experiences to try to understand what’s actually taking place.
When we think a unique and independent thought, our minds simply arrange virtual puzzle pieces out of our past experiences to artificially create something imaginary in our minds. This process of visualizing something that we’ve never before experienced, or hasn’t taken place – or doesn’t even yet exist – allows us to explore new and imaginative ways that we can transform the world around us and create the world of our dreams. When we meet challenges that are difficult to overcome, we can simply imagine new and unique approaches to solve them. The best solution to any challenge is always a simple and elegant approach in form, function and application.
Our mind also weighs each of our various physical senses (sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch, as well as other various minor senses) in a reliability test, if one of our sensory inputs is known to be degraded or has been unreliable in the past. Usually, our eyes are the most trusted of our senses, but they can be fooled. Perhaps we know that our sense of smell is not very reliable, and as a result it doesn’t count as much in the total composite picture our mind builds. For some of us, we know that our color vision is under-performing in certain lighting conditions, or that our hearing isn’t as accurate as it once was – so we discount them based on their level of prior performance and known reliability. For most people, the sense that is the most trusted and relied on is our sight – and that’s why visualization is so vital and important to our imagination. The saying our mind’s eye is a way of describing the fact that we often see what we’re thinking. When someone describes something to us we often develop a mental picture of what they’re saying – even as they’re saying it to us.
So open your mind’s eye as wide as you can, and free your mind to look at your world anew as if for the first time ever – and use The Art of Visualization to see new and unique solutions to solving and overcoming your challenges! In the process of visualization, you may even catch a glimpse of the future – if for only a fleeting second in time! May your visualizing help you color your world, and expand your horizons in ways you could never before imagine – simply trust your mind’s eye to first paint that beautiful picture and blueprint for you to follow in your imagination!
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