Would you like to relieve stress about future upcoming events and prime our brains to reach our goals? By doing a mental dry run of an event in your mind multiple times before it occurs, we can alleviate any associated fear and prepare ourselves for what is to come. Because of this, mental rehearsal becomes a powerful tool for anyone who wants to become unstoppable.
But one difficulty people have is that they often can’t see life continuing on normally after the event in question has taken place. Picture a couple who are about to get married. All their thoughts and energy are focused on that one date. They can’t see past it. Pressure builds up between now and the wedding day to the point it becomes almost unbearable. It’s almost as if life stops on this day, regardless of whether it’s meant to be the best day of your life. The event has been “overamplified” and taken out of context with your life as a whole. This single-focused mindset allows no room for error. If something small goes wrong, people react as if it’s a life-or-death situation.
But by simulating the event in your mind and going beyond it to see what you’ll be doing in the days, weeks, months, or years that follow, you release the pressure. You’ve shown your brain that life goes on and gets better after the event has taken place and, more importantly, that it isn’t a life-or-death situation. Better yet, you “drop into the moment” and become profoundly present, allowing yourself to enjoy the journey leading up to it.
Mental simulation can be used in the following scenarios:
- Priming your brain for the day ahead to help increase your productivity
- Progressively overloading your brain to adapt to future events that may stretch your comfort zone (e.g., starting your own business)
- Any other event you have coming up you want to be primed and ready for so you’re on your best game
Let’s walk through the process now:
Step 1: Get Quiet
Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed for at least ten minutes, close your eyes, and take several deep and calming breaths.
Step 2: Visualize the upcoming event
In your mind’s eye, a picture on a TV in front of you an upcoming event or goal that may be causing you stress or making you feel overwhelmed. Perhaps there’s an event coming up where you need to perform at your best. It could be a major project or simply the activities you have scheduled for the day ahead that you want to complete on time.
Step 3: What do you see, feel, hear?
Think about it to the point that you start to feel some discomfort. What do you see, hear, feel, smell and taste?
Step 4: Manipulate the image
Now, shrink that image down and place it on a screen, about the size of an iPhone, a few meters in front of you. Turn the image to black and white and take it out of focus.
Step 5: Dissociate
Imagine floating out of your body and standing behind yourself. You’re watching yourself watch yourself on the TV in the distance.
Step 6: Rewind the movie
Rewind the movie until just before this event, when you were laughing and having fun and everything was perfect. Really see it and feel it.
Step 7: Fast-forward the movie
Then fast-forward through the event, seeing what you’re seeing, hearing what you’re hearing and feeling what you’re feeling. Picture yourself doing what you need to do and everything going smoothly, not just around this event, but a day, week, month and year into the future after the event is over.
Pause this image and turn it into colour. Turn up the colours, sounds and feelings of success to 10 out of 10. Take it from 2D to 3D. What do you see, hear, feel, taste and touch? When you hit level 10, snap your fingers to anchor these feelings to a gesture.
Step 8: Rewind the movie
Now rapidly rewind this event, going as fast as you can, seeing what you’re seeing, hearing what you’re hearing and feeling what you’re feeling, until you’re back at the start just before the event happened and you’re laughing and happy again. Turn up the volume on these feelings and snap your fingers when you hit level 10 in intensity.
Step 9: Step into the TV
Step into the TV and actively visualize yourself doing what you want to do, everything unfolding exactly as you want it to. See yourself overcoming any challenges that may come your way with ease and grace until, once again, you’re back at an image of success with a smile on your face. Amplify the volume on these feelings until you hit level 10, then snap your fingers.
Step 10: Rewind/Fast-forward
Rewind the event, fast-forward it, rewind it and fast-forward. Do it faster and faster each time. Repeat this at least 10 times and snap your fingers every time you reach either end of the timeline.
That’s it! You’re now ready to go about your day.
I’ve used this exercise for every book I’ve written. On the days I forget to do it, I write 50% less. My brain isn’t prepared for the focus I need to get it done. This exercise will become your cornerstone for productivity and help you unlock your mental capacity in less than ten minutes per day.