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Thread: Power and Limits of the Human Mind Though Visualization.

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Power and Limits of the Human Mind Though Visualization.

    This past weekend, I read a book that my mother-in-law gave my wife a few years back called “The Secret” It was a quick read and while I thought that most of it was complete crap, there was a few interesting points made in it. In the book “The Ant and the Elephant” The author explains how the conscious and unconscious mind works. He uses a story that the conscious mind is like and ant and your unconscious mind is like an elephant in that your conscious mind uses 2,000 neurons, whereas the unconscious mind uses 4 billion neurons. That is why we can get into a pattern of doing things without thinking about them all because of repetition and emotion. Professional athletes have been taking advantage of this for years. There are tons of stories of visualization exercises, and even a study done on the US ski team that showed that visualizing a race caused the muscles to fire in the same pattern with the same intensity as they did when they were actually out on the course.

    Recent talk about the Olympics reminded me of the book 10-Minute Toughness where the author tells the story of Peter Vidmar and how he would train, over and over again, that he was the last contestant to go, and a perfect score meant winning the gold and anything less would result in another loss to the Russians. He would visualize the entire experience, from the sound of the buzzer, to the glare of the green light, to the location of the judges, and go through the routine as if it was the Olympic finals. Then when it came time, there was no pressure on him, because he had been in that moment so many times before, it was anticlimactic, and it resulted in a perfect score.

    The emotional part of an activity or event is what makes the biggest impact on the unconscious mind. For example, we may hear a song, smell a food, perfume, or cologne, see a particular picture, or taste a certain food and it will result in a flood of memories coming back in such detail, that you can not only picture it in your mind, but the feelings and emotions can come back too.

    Stephen Covey event talks about it in the book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, in habit 2, Begin with the end in mind. He explains that with the Law of Attraction, things will be drawn to you if you focus on what you want, v worrying about the problems and issues that might come up. He also explains that all things are created twice, once in our minds, then into reality.

    I have also heard “legends” about people who have thought themselves to death or why being hypnotized had physical changes such as burn marks or scars appear, and even eye color changes. I don’t know if any of those are true, but it gets me wondering, what are the limits of the human mind?

    Have you ever had a situation where mental training came into play? Perhaps in getting ready for a big presentation or event? Do you think that the human mind can cause physical changes in our appearance, or even kill us? Do you think that it can change our futures by attracting particular types of people, options or rewards to us?
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Wow.... Not everyone at once now....
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

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    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    Have you ever had a situation where mental training came into play? Perhaps in getting ready for a big presentation or event? Do you think that the human mind can cause physical changes in our appearance, or even kill us? Do you think that it can change our futures by attracting particular types of people, options or rewards to us?
    I will often visualize important meetings or conversations. Inevitably thought, things never go as planned, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

    I do not believe the human mind can cause changes in our appearance or kill us.

    I believe visualization techniques are more impactful for physical acts, such as the athletes you reference.

    I do not believe the human mind alone attracts particular types of people, options or rewards. I believe that our physical acts attract these things.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by btrage View post
    I will often visualize important meetings or conversations. Inevitably thought, things never go as planned, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

    I do not believe the human mind can cause changes in our appearance or kill us.

    I believe visualization techniques are more impactful for physical acts, such as the athletes you reference.

    I do not believe the human mind alone attracts particular types of people, options or rewards. I believe that our physical acts attract these things.
    WHAT? You don't believe that a 350lb guy can 'think' themselves into a 170lb cast member of the movie 300 overnight?

    I agree with your thinking and I think that thinking and believing does help speed things up or make thinks simpler, but it does not work unless a person takes action. I was talking with a personal trainer that explained that he teaches people to visualize the body that they want while they are working out. He said that people will think about abs, arms, or some other feature and inherently will work that group harder, and the act of thinking about it will further stimulate that muscle more than if they just worked it out. But he explained that it is never enough to just think thin.
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

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    Cyburbian Rygor's avatar
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    I do believe that by thinking of the end result, and really desiring it really helps motivate the mind and the body to take action. Motivation + goal = likelihood of achievement.

    There is definitely something to the visualization techniques of athletes and the like. In fact it works with all motor skills or anything requiring muscle memory. This relates to the rule of 10,000 hours, wherein it supposedly takes 10,000 hours spent practicing something to attain true "mastery".
    "When life gives you lemons, just say 'No thanks'." - Henry Rollins

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    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Rygor View post
    There is definitely something to the visualization techniques of athletes and the like. In fact it works with all motor skills or anything requiring muscle memory. This relates to the rule of 10,000 hours, wherein it supposedly takes 10,000 hours spent practicing something to attain true "mastery".
    And it extends beyond physical tasks. The 10,000 hour rule applies to almost any skill set. Malcolm Gladwell refers to it a lot in his book on success "Outliers." Everyone from hockey players to computer programmers benefit from logging such long hours on the same issues/problems/tasks. Its very hard to become an "expert" without logging the time. Gladwell's observations are that almost anyone who is considered an "outlier" in terms of success had some sort of advantage or opportunity when they were younger to log these high numbers of hours and that is what propelled them to exceed their peers.

    I think visualization is very useful and I use it a lot in preparing for presentations, physical activities and the like. But its not magic. Its really a strategy for staying focused and running your mind through the paces again and again resulting in a better performance when its "live." Its mental practice which, on top of physical practice, can help lead to excellent results. Maybe we can see it as a way to log extra practice hours by running through the paces in our mind. But I do not believe you can change physical aspects of your body just by thinking them into action. If this were true, I am confident we would have heard more about it by now...
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

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