Task 50 – Visualise your wish
Visualize your wish
Visualizing what you don’t want
I was bad at cross country skiing when I was a kid, especially in competitions. I dreaded them for days in advance. I would imagine the others pulling away from me and I would become numb. My fear created a disaster film in my head. I still remember the sound of the whistle at the starting line. And, as feared, I usually ended up in last place.
Even after I began to paddle at a high level of competition and exercised 700 hours per year, it was challenging for me to deal with my nerves at races. Fortunately, books on mental training emerged at that time. They taught me mental techniques for dealing with pressure and for visualizing a race. For me, the mental techniques were just as important as the phy- sical ones.
In the crucial qualifying event to make the national team I was sure I was going to win. Beforehand I had seen this race in my head again and again, and I finished ahead of the oth- ers. Then I just had to do it one more time. I qualified by a half meter just as I had visualized. It was not the number of hours I spent training that separated me from the next competitor; the decisive difference was in my head. All of the hours I put into creating new pathways in my brain, for creating new expectations, had led me to the desired result.
What we expect to happen has a tendency to come true. The brain predicts the results, and we should take more control of these predictions in order to improve results. The brain uses previous experiences to predict what is going to happen next. If these experiences are unsuccessful, they tend to be repeated. But we can override these predictions by visualizing what we rather want to happen. The most successful people seem to be able to plan and visu- alise themselves and their actions in the future.
There is a much greater chance to succeed doing something if we have first made it hap- pen in our heads. In order to get what we want we have to start visualizing it. If this is not something you do naturally, then you have to set aside some time to practice it.
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Imagination becomes images
Today I saw an article on Facebook about daydreaming and how doing it was important for children. That is where castles in the sky are built, which turn into castles in reality. It is where experiences we have had and our future dreams are mixed together and turn into useful trea- sure maps.
Everything that has been built, written or invented, began in someone’s imagination before it was realized. You have to believe it before you can see it. In photography this is incredibly important. Before we go out to take photographs, we can visualize what we expect to encounter. We picture how we are going to meet people, smile at them, greet them and pick up the camera. We see examples of compositions and light conditions. The pictures float on the insides of our eyelids; we bring up previous ones we have taken and mix in what we imagine taking. These inner pictures make their mark on the ones we actually take.
An experienced photographer will inevitably see future pictures in his imagination just like a soccer player can sit on the metro and play football matches in his mind’s eye. We can reinforce this process by practicing visualization, just like a downhill skier does some practice training through the gates or an actor goes through his performance. Over time, deliberate visualization becomes a habit. But in order to make the visualizations a reality, we have to do whatever it takes to make it happen.
Visualization can be used in so many areas. As soon as I get annoyed with some minor frustration, I can visualize myself lying on bed sick with cancer waiting to die, or I put myself into my grandfather Konrads mind as he was drowning after his oil tanker was hit by a German torpedo in WW2. This makes the trivial irritation fade quickly.
Turn your thoughts to a place you have photographed before. Imagine what you would photograph there today. Close your eyes and mentally walk around the place. Choose a main subject and then some elements you would like to include. Assess what kind of light you want in the picture and if it is going to be in color or black and white.
Grab your camera and go to the place. Most likely you will not find the exact photo that you imagined. However, you have increased your chances for taking a good one.
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BOOK SUGGESTION: Fearless by Anja Hammerseng Edin