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iStock 000032730722XSmallOne of the best things we can do to help ourselves achieve what we want in our lives is to model people who have achieved those things – to find out and copy the strategies they have used to achieve what they have achieved. This is why reading biographies and listening to or watching interviews of people who inspire us is so enjoyable! This came to mind for me again as I was talking to someone close to me about a musician he greatly admires and had the opportunity to meet and talk to.

It got me thinking about creating music, and how when someone has complete mastery of an instrument, how much creative freedom and imagination that allows them. I thought about how, though I don't consider myself particularly visual, I sometimes visualise choreography when listening to music, imagining people dancing. It got me thinking about visualising notes, chords and scales as patterns, and how much fun it is to create music, and how that level of fun would increase with one's proficiency in the instrument.

And of course it got me thinking about how the same ideas used to achieve mastery of a musical instrument can apply to mastery of ourselves – of our thoughts, behaviours and strategies and therefore our emotions and quality of life.

And it got me thinking about the personal qualities of this musician which would be valuable to emulate. Hearing him speak in interviews he comes across as a very nice guy, amiable, considerate, articulate, and also very focussed on the outcome he is setting out to achieve – his creative vision for a concert, album, composition, orchestral arrangement. He's achieved great success because he set himself up to do it and decided to do it. He imagined what was possible, and also what would be required along the way to achieve it.


So back to you and me and the year ahead. It's all about what we focus on and where we put our energy and attention. We can give our energy to our bullshit stories of defeat, blame, judgement and awfulness, or we can give our energy to creating a vision of a loving and positive life.

Amongst the gazillions of personal development emails and facebook posts I've glanced at recently, someone said something about putting effort into imagining the process and the steps involved in achieving our outcomes, as well as the details of imagining the enjoyment and benefits of the outcomes themselves.

This little gem stood out to me, because I think it's a really helpful one. What this means to me is that when we're doing our quiet time or our meditation or any time we're working on thinking about what we want to achieve, our positive intentions etc, we include the behaviours or actions which are required and imagine these as part of who we are.

This links our behaviour to our identity – we think about the choices and actions we need to take, and who we are being when we are making those choices and taking those actions.

In one interview with the famous musician, (Steve Vai), he talks about how realising he could apply himself and learn something new on the guitar whenever he wished became addictive because of the sense of achievement and accomplishment it gave him as well as the pleasure of the music itself.

He also talks about the beauty of music and it being something he wanted to control and master. This interested me as being a really constructive way of meeting the need for certainty which we all have (according to Tony Robbins). Seeking mastery of a skill and understanding of a concept or discipline absolutely gives us a greater feeling of certainty, and in a sustainable and resourceful way, because we are demonstrating by doing so that we are capable and have the resources within us to do it. And of course the only real certainty we can ever have is in ourselves.

Part of Vai's success strategy as he describes was also imagining himself as he believed he would need to be to play in front of audiences, as confident, enigmatic, in control, in command of the instrument, picturing elegant, effortless playing. He says that "you perpetuate your reality" and that a lot of what he does now is a result of things he envisioned as a kid. He says you must first imagine it and see yourself doing it, then like magic it starts to happen.

Here he was including the identity component – he understood that it was not enough to have a goal – he needed to imagine vividly and identify with who he needed to be to be living that goal.

He says a hell of a lot of other cool stuff too, like playing to your strengths, finding what excites you, and that the emotional connection you need to succeed must be supported by developing the necessary skills. The discipline he speaks of comes to us so much more easily when we follow his advice to find what excites us and play to our strengths.

So what this all means to me, apart from being inspired to make modest improvements to my guitar playing, is that what this guy has done is a template which can be applied to other things. In my case, what interests me the most is applying these concepts to developing and improving my mindset, strategies for better thinking and functioning in life, developing skills for helping others through writing and coaching.

Here's how I see myself using vision and imagination to help me towards my goals:

- Daily quiet time or meditation which includes time spent thinking about what I want to achieve, the reasons why (my values), and who I need to be and the actions and behaviours I need to do to reach those goals.

- Building up the details and experimenting with any visual or auditory aids (pictures, music etc) which assist me in enriching my vision.

- Looking for the fun and excitement in my vision and the natural strengths I can exaggerate and play with.

By the way, my daily meditation or quiet time is still a work in progress. One recommended time of before the family wakes up doesn't really work for me, because one step towards the kettle or even the bathroom and the animals know I'm awake, so I still tend to attempt some kind of meditation at random times when not surrounded by kids. I read that even a split second of nothingness in the brain is a good achievement, so I'll just keep working on it. Hmm, and I can apply what I've written above to improving this part of my life too.


#2 pamela nazareth 2014-04-14 02:45
:-) thanks so much, yvette, for your wise words of wisdom and encouragement! keep up the good work and keep me posted. thanks
#1 Anshula Ohri 2014-04-14 00:23


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