the power of visualization

I’ve heard about the concept of visualization many times over the years, and recently I was reading a book about the power of the mind. It argued that you can heal yourself, improve memory exponentially, and become a better navigator all through the power of mental imagery. In other books, I’ve heard that you can “practice” a sport or instrument mentally and actually become more proficient at it. They cite sports teams that do this regularly. In still other books, I read about visualizing your day in the morning, picturing everything you want to get done and how you’ll do it, how you’ll feel, etc.

I love this advice and implement it as much as possible. Usually I just stick to visualizing my day; that’s fairly simple and doesn’t take much time. But if there’s a commitment or obligation I have that I’m not excited about, I can visualize going, and by the time that thing rolls around, I’m fully prepared. With visualization, you can reduce unpleasant surprises.

I also visualize who I want to be and where I want to end up. Envisioning the end unconsciously makes me act out those things. It’s like the old advice about writing down specific goals. I won’t go looking for those statistics, but apparently people who write down their goals are something like 90% more likely to achieve them than people who don’t, ceteris paribus. Don’t quote me on that, but it was a really high number. I don’t think I read about why that happens, but something about the act of writing it out, internalizing it, helps you work it out in reality.

In fact, one really enjoyable exercise I like to do is to plan out my ideal day. If I had no job and no school, or my dream job, what would my perfect day look like? I wrote it out exactly, from waking up to sleeping, and boy was it a heady experience. I mean, I could taste the coffee whose steam wafted over the vistas of mountains and ocean (cough). I’m hoping that by doing this, I’ll actually build some of the habits I dream about into my current routine. Baby steps, y’all. Baby steps.


experiment in solitude or; the misadventures of an overactive imagination


These sneaks were made fer walking…alone?

I went into town by myself for the first time. That seems odd, but really, in the six months we’ve been here, I’ve never been anywhere alone. It’s often myself and my best friend; we cook together, so it’s natural to go grocery shopping together. But, knowing that soon enough I will (hopefully) be alone in a strange country again without her, I decided to go on an experimental journey today and see what would happen when alone.

Well, first off, Godzilla ran off kilter and ended up on our coast instead of Tokyo’s, so I joined in a pack of screaming natives and ran all the way down to an underpass. We huddled for hours, until his giant booming steps marched off to other realms. Then, just when we thought we were safe, China decided to go ahead and attack with bombs full of stinky tofu and durian, proven to be much more powerful and incapacitating than mustard gas. Eyes streaming, I watched from inside a local bookstore, managing to purchase some more notebooks despite the general chaos.

Of course, as soon as I came out and wanted to go to the grocery store, the large Taiwanese wolves had come out, noses twitching, and a pack of them chased me all the way to RT Mart. I managed to beat them off by spitting tea bobas periodically, but I barely escaped with my life.  And I miss those bobas.

…okay, so maybe not ALL that happened. But if I wrote what I did do, it would look like this: I went to the bookstore and bought notebooks. Then I walked down the road and bought milk tea. Then I went to the grocery store and bought food. Then I sat down and waited for the bus to come. Then I arrived at home.

My other version is much better, right?

Well, shenanigans aside, it was instructive at least, in showing me that my imagined difficulties of operating alone were groundless. Not that I was in the least afraid, but once you haven’t done something for so long, the prospect of doing it becomes bigger than it should be. Like the moon close to the horizon appearing bigger in your head but not in reality.

If you’re in a foreign country alone, kudos to you, because you’ve had to get out there and be independent and stuff. Beat those wolves, man, beat ‘em! If you’re on a team or with a group, I encourage you, if you’re in a safe country, to try going it alone at least once. Then you know you can, that nothing will jump out and eat you, and you’ll be happy you did. And if something does eat you, don’t blame me. I said to make sure you’re in a safe country.