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How to Succeed In Everyday Life

Updated on March 22, 2010

What do top athletes and successful managers have in common?

Success starts with a vision. Without a well-defined vision, priorities become confused, time management collapses, and performance wanes. Positive mental imagery (PMI) is a simple and effective technique to help you in your everyday working life 1. What do top athletes and successful managers have in common? They have the ability to regularly picture success before taking the necessary actions to achieve it.

Proactive daydreaming

To understand PMI, think back to the times when you've daydreamed2. Without consciously thinking, your mind comes up with colorful images, sensations and actions that gave you a compelling picture. We can learn to draw upon this powerful human resource and focus on it to achieve the results we desire.

Build an internal strategy

PMI is used in the athletic world to rehearse competitive events before they occur. By rehearsing the exact type of performance required - physically, mentally and emotionally - the athlete is able to develop an internal strategy that prepares for the actual event. In the world of work, the technique has also been used to prepare for presentations and meetings.

Simple and effective

To start using PMI, find a quiet place where you know you will not be distracted. Taking five minutes in the morning or evening will be time well spent. You can sit or move around, depending on what activates your thinking. Select the specific event that you want to focus on. Slowly picture the exact situation - one frame at a time. Use all your senses to get the most impact. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you feel? What do you smell? What do you taste?

Imagine the specific outcome you want. Make it bigger, brighter, and louder. Heighten the emotional impact. See yourself overcoming any obstacles or barriers. Picture any solutions you need. Adapt your breathing to suit the result you want. This may require you to breathe more dynamically, or to breathe in a controlled and relaxed fashion. Let your muscles also adapt to the scenario. If it requires them to be firm and taught, or soft and relaxed, adopt the right muscular position. Re-run the image in your mind until you have clearly anchored the exact result you desire.

Repetition is the key

Although it may sound unrealistic at first, consistently practicing PMI does achieve results, and it can improve a variety of situations3. For specific events, such as presentations or meetings, you should practice as far in advance as possible. For everyday activities, including telephone calls and regular communications, it is helpful to rehearse the mental image of your desired outcome right before you answer the call or return an answer.

Be innovative

Probably the greatest benefit of mental imagery is that it can lead to innovation. We live in a fast-paced world requiring quick solutions. Training your mind to influence the delivery of results can be extremely beneficial. There is an old saying, "If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always got." Be prepared to use mental imagery to get the most benefit.


  1. Covey S. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Simon & Schuster. 1989
  2. Wilson P. Calm for Life. Penguin. 2000
  3. Robbins A. Unlimited Power. Simon & Schuster. 1988


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