If I asked you where you would love to be in 3 years, chances are you would think about a place, position or experience. Whichever the option. your mind will create an image of your answer. Even if you do not realize that.
In the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, history was made by a high jumper who revolutionized the sport and subsequently became known as one of the most influential figures in track and field events.
Richard Douglas Fosbury, now famously known as Dick Fosbury, was little known until he did what had never been done. Prior to that Olympic event, the high jump was predominantly dominated by a feet-first technique where jumpers tried to jump the highest by crossing the bar feet first. There was no rule that stipulated that as the only acceptable technique. But no one else had SEEN any other way.
Enter Dick Fosbury.
Photo credit: www.worldathletics.org
1968 Mexico Olympics: Fosbury does the flop for the first time
In 1968, in a bid to jump higher than anyone had ever done, Dick observed that the aerodynamics of a back-first approach favored a higher jump than the practice of the day. No one had ever done it. But Fosbury saw it in his mind and was certain this could work. And so was born the now famous ‘Fosbury flop’, still the most popular approach for high jumpers today.
It had never been done, but he already saw it. Fosbury would go on to say about peak performance in the sport, “When you reach that elite level, 90 percent is mental, and 10 percent is physical. You are competing against yourself, not against the other athlete.”
The same applies to life. Everything we do outside is first created in our minds, and because most of the time it happens so fast that we do not recognize it, we think we just do things. The mind is the control room. This is what high achievers acknowledge and harness to their favor: THE POWER OF VISUALIZATION.
20th Century American author, Earl Nightingale, once said, “Visualization is the human being’s vehicle to the future – good, bad, or indifferent. It’s strictly in our control.”
Photo credit: www.informationisbeautiful.net
I once had a conversation with a friend concerning a project he was undertaking. In trying to proffer alternatives because of a hiccup he was experiencing along the way, I asked him why he was so insistent on a particular aspect of the project not being let go. I remember he paused for a moment and said to me with a voice that carried the weight of a hundred-year-old conviction, “When I pictured the completion of this project, the smile and relief I saw in the faces of these guys is something I cannot unsee. It was so real. If we take this away. it robs the life out of that dream.”
I understood him. He had pictured this so much that it took a life of its own, and that life had captured his mind and drove his determination.
We see this every day in action without recognizing it. Whether it be as majestic as Lionel Messi weaving gracefully through a maze of defenders, or as grand as Elon Musk pouring countless hours and billions into making reusable rockets for space, or as seemingly mundane as you cooking a delicious pot of food. The reality is the mind holds a picture of the end product before the journey begins.
Visualization is like the pause that births the melody. As sports columnist. Ezequiel Fernandez Moore rightly puts it, “In the pause. there is no music. But the pause helps to make the music.” Visualization is the process that tunes our minds to our utmost desires and aspirations, creates the outcomes we want, impresses them in our minds and gives us the momentum and drive to go and recreate the magic our hearts have curated.
High achievers harness the power of visualization to get themselves ‘in the zone’ as they engage their goals. This is because the mind will feed and breathe more life into the images you dwell on, seeking avenues to recognize the resources, people, and opportunities that align with that which occupies the mind. This in turn creates a domino of recognize-attract-leverage-repeat.
As Fosbury rightly pointed out, 90 percent of the job is taken care of mentally: in our minds. All that is left. is to recreate the magic through execution.