For better or worse, everything we do begins in our mind. Or, more specifically, in the mind’s eye.
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Adults spend thousands of dollars every year on books and seminars and coaching to learn to do something that most kids do pretty naturally. Visualize. Picture. Imagine. “Fire up your goals with a vivid picture, complete with the emotions you’ll feel when you reach your goal.” Sound familiar?
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I wonder what would happen if we took steps to reinforce the ability to visualize during childhood while it’s still easy and natural? And why would you want to?
1) It works. The first thing that springs to mind is that favorite old W. Clement Stone quote, “What the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve.” Being able to preview the end result is an important step in motivation and action.
Visualization is the skill that motivates some of us to get on the treadmill or to help our kids with their math homework. Let’s face it, sometimes it’s the picture of fitting into favorite jeans (or “seeing” her get into veterinary school) is what it takes to motivate us to actually show up and complete a less desirable task at hand.
2) Constructive imagination can enhance emotional intelligence and help build empathy. And, it is fairly easy to practice emotional intelligence skills with our children. (This sort of practice can lead to some great conversations.) In the course of a day, what do you and your children notice together? Sports scores? News? People bumping into one another? Helping someone out? Protesting? Volunteering?
Just about any situation that you observe with your kids can provide a natural opening, one that allows you to ask: “I wonder how that person feels right now?” Practice prepares your child for situations they haven’t personally encountered, perhaps even how to respond should they feel an urge to bully someone.
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3) It could save you money. The best way to learn something is to teach it. Practicing visualization skills with your kids could help improve the mental rehearsal skills needed to reach important goals in your own life. And what better teacher for your chid than a parent who is walking the talk?
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