Are You Visualizing Too Much - Pinterest pinOne of the standard techniques that we use for manifesting the things and experiences that we want in life is visualization – the practice of imagining, in detail, those things and experiences as if they were already our reality. But are you visualizing too much? Powerful thought this technique is, it can be easily abused and you need to exercise caution when using it, as it is possible to visualize too much.

The danger of visualization

The allure of visualization is that it allows us to experience a reality different than our current one. And the danger, especially when the vision that we have for ourselves is very different than our current reality, is that we get seduced by the vision and drawn into it in a way that is very counterproductive to our ability to turn that vision into concrete reality. The danger is that, as with the magical Mirror of Erised from the Harry Potter books, we will become so entranced by the vision that we waste away before it, spending all our time gazing into its depths and forgetting to take the actions necessary to build it in reality.

It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live. ~J.K. Rowling

When the vision is very different from our current life, the temptation is to spend more and more time visualizing that alternate reality because it’s so much more appealing than what we are currently living. In our vision, we are already running our successful business; already in the great relationship; already 20 pounds lighter; already surrounded by wonderful friends; or already accepting that Academy Award.

Dreaming can’t replace doing

And it’s so much more comforting to stay stuck in that vision than to have to deal with a less than appealing reality-as-it-currently-is, or to suffer the growing pains of actually having to create it. It’s easier dream about what it’ll be like when we’ve written that acclaimed novel than it is to start writing; easier to think about all fantastic new clothes we’ll be wearing when we’ve gotten into shape than it is to start working out; easier to dream about our Fortune magazine cover photoshoot than it is to start coding and launch our website.

You cannot build a dream just by thinking about it! Click To Tweet

And when we get drawn into that kind of quicksand pit, all the time that we have available to build the dream is sucked up in a fantasy that can never become a reality; you cannot build your dream just by thinking about it. You will never be a best-selling author if you just dream about it and never write the book. You’re not going to meet Mr. or Ms. Right just by thinking about how perfect everything will be when the two of you get together and never going out where you could actually meet someone. And you’re not going to hit the Forbes list of wealthiest business people just by imagining yourself on the cover and never launching your business.

It’s about dreaming AND doing

This is not to say that the mental work is not important, on the contrary; it is vitally important. But it goes hand-in-hand with the getting-your-hands-dirty, actually working part of things. Yes, thinking about all the wonderful things that you want to experience and have in your life and taking time to imagine yourself in those situations is important – up to a point. But if all you ever do is dream, than that’s all those visions will ever be: dreams. If you want to see your reality change, you must DO as well as dream!

If you want to see your reality change, you must DO as well as dream! Click To Tweet

And that means limiting the amount of time you spend dreaming. Visualization  is powerful, but it is nothing more than an alignment tool. It’s meant to get you excited about what you’re building for yourself, and it’s meant to motivate you to actually do the building part. It is NOT meant to replace living your life as it currently is.

Don’t forget to live your life…

Your life is meant to be lived, even if you’re not happy with the way it is right now; especially if you’re not happy with the way things are right now. Your existing reality is the result of the past and what you choose to do right now is shaping your future experiences. That’s why it’s so important that you go out there and live it, deliberately – knowing inside of you that everything you’re doing is bringing you closer to that vision.

You can fritter that future away by floating through your life in a dream state, or you can choose to take charge and start creating the foundation for everything you’ve ever wanted. But to do that, you need to start taking the action steps necessary to building the foundation for what it is that you want. You may not see the results you want right away, but by deliberately and consistently working towards that vision, it will start to happen for you (or, as you start moving, you’ll be drawn to something even more appealing that what you had originally dreamt of).

photo credit: cc (modified by me)

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