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Have you ever tried to visualize yourself while facing competition or exposing your project to your collaborators or potential investors? We usually tend to prefigure what may be the different possible scenarios deriving from the actions we perform.

In particular, if we are afraid of making a wrong impression or not being up to the task, we feel anxiety and fear of being unable to manage a situation. In this case, we will be frightened by the challenge we face, and our thoughts will create stress for us.

This process, which involves most people since childhood, will not only cause anxiety and stress but will heavily affect our preparation for the event and performance. In other words, if we visualize ourselves while making a silent scene in front of an audience or while losing a critical race, our brain will process sensations identical to those we would experience if that scenario were real. Our brain does not distinguish what is real from what is not.

As children, we were terrified of ghosts, zombies, and evil wolves. That fear was genuine, and our bodies reacted precisely as they would in the face of real danger.

The same thing happens to adults. If I imagine myself in a financial crisis, my body begins to stiffen, I become afraid, and I will start to feel as if the imagined situation were real.

The same thing happens in sports. Who knows how many athletes are terrified by the worst scenario they create in their minds before their tests?


Be careful: stress is not harmless; it stimulates the production of cortisol, also called the stress hormone, which stiffens the muscles and slows down our ability to concentrate and solve problems. The same happens with the stomach, which will close out of fear and sleep that will be agitated if not absent.

One of the most important postulates of the Law of Attraction, but also of NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), Transurfing, and other techniques used in personal development, is that our thoughts and not vice versa generate reality. So, if I visualize a negative situation for me, it is highly likely that it will occur in the future.


How can we get out of this trap and turn the process to our advantage?

First of all, by reversing it. Take at least 10 minutes and put yourself in a comfortable position where you can't be disturbed. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. You can help yourself by taking four seconds to inhale and four seconds to exhale, keeping your breath constant for the duration of the exercise. Once relaxed, try to imagine yourself in your ideal scenario, try to live the situation by visualizing all the possible details, carrying out your business successfully, overcoming the difficulties that arise, the people with you, the emotions you feel, and the final result. At first, you may be bothered by boycotting thoughts that tell you that it is not possible, that you will not succeed, but do not stop and continue.

Like all things in life, visualization also takes learning time; like all habits, it needs at least 21 days to become it's own.


This exercise's execution applies to all aspects of our life, from business to relationships and sport. Visualization trains our unconscious to attract the desired situation, but above all, it teaches us to be ready for critical challenges.

An experiment testifies how vital visualization is for our performance.

In it, a group of students used mental exercise to achieve better results in basketball without making real throws.

Three groups were formed:

the first practiced shooting daily for twenty days, and the score of the first and last day was calculated. A second group had its scores equally calculated on the first and last day, but they did not practice or exercise. The score of a third group was calculated on the first day. For twenty minutes a day in the following nineteen days, the players practiced only mentally, imagining that they were throwing the ball and correcting the aim according to the mistakes made.

The score of the first group, who had trained for twenty minutes a day, improved by 24%. The second group, who had not done any training, did not register any improvement, while the third, who had only exercised mentally, improved by 23%.

This surprising result shows us the incredible scope of visualization, and when this is combined with real practice, the results can be extraordinary.

Patrick Vom Bruck is a Certified Professional Coach (ACC) at the ICF - International CoachingFederation.

He specializes in sports coaching and personal development

Patrick holds Coaching sessions both in the studio and remotely, even with English and German-speaking clients, and organizes events and seminars in Italy and abroad.

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