April 7, 2021

Seeing is Believing

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John writes most of the blog posts for Love the Process and Adriane will pop in from time to time with a thought to share. Be on the lookout for the Love the Process book, written by John, releasing in 2022!


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I wanted to share a story that I heard recently. Major James Nesmeth was an average golfer prior to being called into the Vietnam War. He would usually shoot somewhere in the mid to low nineties and wanted to improve his golf game. This effort was interrupted by the Vietnam War, where he would become captured and spend seven years imprisoned in a cage that was about 5 feet tall and 5 feet long. During his imprisonment, he saw no one, talked to no one, and had no physical activity. Within a few months he realized that he had to find some way to occupy his thoughts or he would go completely insane.

Nesmeth devised a mental program in which he’d play his favorite golf course every day in his mind. He imagined the clothes, the smell of the grass, the sun, and the gentle breeze. He’d see every tree, hear the birds, and envision every slope of the course. He imagined playing golf this way every day for 7 years. His shots in his mind were typically well executed.   Major Nesmeth was finally released and came back to America. His physical condition had deteriorated as much as you would expect after living in a tiny cage for so long.

Here is where the story turns incredible. Shortly after he returned, he decided to go and play golf at his favorite course that he had played in his mind for nearly 7 years. Amazingly, he shot a 74. He hadn’t swung a real club in 7 years and had undergone indescribable physical deprivation, and yet he managed to cut nearly 20 shots off of his average. 

Neuroscience is teaching us that our brains are like plastic. They’re able to reshape themselves and continually function in new ways throughout our lives. Therefore, reality is much about our perception. One of the most under trained skills is visualization. We spend a great deal of time to train our bodies, we train our minds, but we often neglect to train our imagination. The beginning of accomplishing your goals and dreams resides in this power of visualization. Only those who have not done it consistently are those that scoff at this idea. I am not supposing that there will not be challenges and the need for massive effort, depending on the size of your dream—but I would suggest this. If this story moves you to hone in the discipline of visualization—make sure you really want the dream to occur—because it very likely will, as long as you stay the course of visualizing vividly that which you aspire to achieve.

Wishing you massive success in any endeavor you aspire.

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