One of the best ways to use your imagination is to visualize or fantasize success. Long ago I came to realize that projecting myself into a successful situation was the most powerful means of attaining my personal goals.
That’s what a placekicker does when he comes on the field to kick a winning field goal. Three seconds left in the game… 80,000 screaming fans… 30 million people watching on TV… and the game is still in balance. As the kicker begins his moves, he makes the hundred tiny adjustments necessary to achieve the mental picture he’s formed in his mind so many times—a picture of himself kicking the winning field goal.
The ability to project is a common trait among all great athletes. They have vision. They see things happening a split second before they actually do.
Jack Nicklaus, one of the greatest golfers of all time and a PGA Tour Hall of Famer, was asked about his tremendous success, especially in making crucial tournament-winning putts. He thought about it for a bit and said, “I never missed a putt in my mind.”
Nicklaus is not considered to be the best at hitting his woods, long or short irons, or even at chipping and putting. But almost everyone considers him the greatest thinking golfer of all time. There has simply been no equal at the mental part of golf, which for me is half the game.
Thomas Watson Sr. was 40 when he took over as general manager of a little firm that manufactured meat slicers, time clocks and simple tabulators. He had a vision for a machine that could process and store information long before the computer was a commercial reality. To match his lofty vision, Watson renamed his company International Business Machines Corporation. Toward the end of his life, Watson was asked at what point he envisioned IBM becoming so successful. His reply was simple: “At the beginning.”
Fred Smith’s vision for a nationwide overnight express air-delivery service was first unveiled in the early ‘70s in a term paper for an economics class at Yale University. Unfortunately, his professor didn’t share Smith’s excitement, and gave him a C. Smith, however, took the idea and created an exceptional company known as Federal Express.
The renowned religious leader Billy Graham prayed, “God, let me do something, anything, for You.” That attitude allowed Billy Graham to find a vision that drove his life.
The ability to visualize something better in the world is the cornerstone of countless other success stories. For example:
- Henry Royce was unwilling to accept anything but automobile perfection, and the Rolls-Royce remains an emblem of the exceptional today.
- Orville and Wilbur Wright were inspired at a children’s birthday party when they saw a toy with a wound-up rubber band take to the air. They turned that inspiration into a reality.
- Marie Curie held high her commitment to scientific excellence in spite of doubters, and she made important discoveries until the day she died.
Such successful people were able to visualize—above and beyond the majority of folks—a condition that was just right. They taught us that a vision begins with imagination coupled with a belief that dreams can one day be realized.
And a man by the name of Viktor Frankl owed his 92-year-long life to his ability to project himself. He was a renowned Viennese psychiatrist before the Nazis threw him into a concentration camp. I heard him speak some years ago, and he held the audience spellbound.
Viktor Frankl’s words: “There’s one reason why I’m here today. What kept me alive in a situation where others had given up hope and died was the dream that someday I’d be here telling you how I survived the concentration camps. I’ve never been here before. I’ve never seen any of you before. I’ve never given this speech before. But in my dreams I’ve stood before you in this room and said these words a thousand times.”
People begin to become successful the minute they decide to be.
Excerpted from: The Mackay MBA of Selling in the Real World