Can you imagine your way to success?

A recent BBC article called ‘Can you imagine your way to success’ looked at whether we can use our imaginations for personal and professional growth. The answer, according to the article, it seems is yes. Examples given were how a focused use of the imagination can improve performance in sport, education and weight loss.

In our approach to therapy, we introduce clients to an important psychological law called The Law of Concentrated Attention. This law states that our brains actively bring about what we focus our imaginations on. In simple terms, the BBC article and the Law of Concentrated Attention, equate to this principle: negative in, negative out, positive in, positive out.

It is an absolute requirement for therapists – or anyone else involved in supporting and developing people – to appreciate this.

Forward momentum

All human beings are subject to the laws of physics, meaning we have no choice but to move forwards in time and space. One way our brains move us forwards is by utilising the material we give them, material generated through cognitive activity such as thoughts, observations and beliefs. The quality of this material is determined by what we focus our attention on. Negative in, negative out, positive in, positive out.

Anxiety and depression

Emotions such as anxiety and depression by their very nature, make it easy for someone to focus their attention on what is wrong in their life. Now our brains are designed to help us thrive and survive as we move forwards, but if we don’t give them positive material, if our attention is focused on the negative, then they have no choice but to go with it. The importance of this can not be underestimated. Given the chance, our brains will actively work towards a deterioration in our mental health.

The role of the therapist

The role of the therapist is to make The Law of Concentrated Attention work for someone rather than against them. Clearly, therapy addresses negative issues, but when done effectively the negative is transformed through a positive use of the imagination. Ineffective therapy fails to do this. Worse, some therapists actually encourage clients to focus more on the negative. As well as being potentially dangerous, it is also plain unnecessary.

Think of it this way: The Fast-flowing River

A therapy client says their anxiety makes them feel like they are being swept along by a fast-flowing river. The safety of the river banks is out of reach as the strength of the current makes it impossible to swim towards them. Our anxious client sees their therapist on the right river bank. Do they want them to jump in with them and be swept along as well? Or do they want their therapist to pull them out on to the safety of the river bank?

Positive outcomes: A blueprint in the imagination

With effective support, anyone struggling with their mental health and wellbeing can be shown how to use their imaginations to establish a success blueprint. Positive in, positive out.

“My marriage was suffering because I didn’t enjoy sex anymore. This was an issue for my wife because her sex drive was still high. I told Mark that I couldn’t see why my wife would want to have sex with me because, I was ashamed to admit, I found myself physically very unattractive. Mark picked up on my use of ‘see’. He talked to me about the role our imaginations can play in generating problems such as the one I came to see him about, and he introduced me to a psychological law called The Law of Concentrated Attention. Unless and until this law worked for me, he said, my issue would likely remain unresolved. To cut a long story short, I worked with Mark to get myself into shape, the type of shape I imagined my wife would find attractive. I can now ‘see’ why my wife wants to have sex with me, and I can now imagine wanting to have sex.’ John

Can you imagine a positive outcome for yourself?

If your answer to this question is “No” then you might want to consider getting support. At Conversations With Impact, we have shown clients how to use their imagination for personal and professional growth. For more information and a free telephone consultation, please get in touch.