My good friend Robert recently reminded me that, “Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is just the natural consequence of consistently applying basic fundamentals.” It’s a quote by the late teacher, Jim Rohn. (See Lessons Of A Lifetime.) It’s was also the foundational concept of basketball’s legendary coach and leader, John Wooden.
This might offend you:
I was lurking, I’ll admit it. I couldn’t help it. On my flight to Phoenix last week, the woman next to me was reading a magazine article with, “Instant Ways to Look and Feel Healthier.” They included things like getting a new haircut, buying a new outfit, applying make-up, getting a massage, standing before a mirror while saying positive things to yourself and even just smiling! But looking and feeling healthier is not the same as becoming healthier and two days later, possibly hundreds of dollars poorer, when the makeup washes off and the shoes are back in the closet, you’re no better than you started. You’ve actually wasted time and money to get absolutely nowhere.
This REALLY might offend you:
I know people, people I dearly love, that have read everything from Oprah to Wayne Dyer yet still can’t seem to lose the weight, find the perfect relationship or create wealth and success in their life. They might post inspirational memes on Facebook and have book shelves replete with homeopathic approaches, some that even make the law of attraction seem nearly scientific. What they don’t have is one single book about marketing.
No amount of Deepak Chopra or practicing The Secret will help your enterprise whether it’s a business, to lose 20 lbs, or finding the perfect partner without both a fundamental knowledge of the topic and consistent application of tactics.
I get it though, I really do. These books make you feel good. They make you feel like you’ve already achieved success even before you have. Far easier to convince, accept and love yourself as you are than go run for 45 straight minutes at the gym. And it would be nice if there really were a ‘Universe’ out there, constantly conspiring to give you everything you want if you only know how to ask but there isn’t.
Years ago, when I first really committed to my own personal development, I read about a famous study illustrating the power of visualization.
It was conducted by Dr. Blaslotto at the University of Chicago. Dr. Blaslotto split people into three groups and tested each group on how many free throws they could make. After this, he had the first group practice free throws every day for an hour. The second group just visualized themselves making free throws and the third group did nothing.
After 30 days, when he tested them again, the first group improved by 24%. Amazingly, the second group improved by 23% without touching a basketball! And the third group did not improve which was pretty much expected.
I’ve seen this study referenced many times since and it sounds great! It almost makes it seem as though to get better at something, all you have to do is visualize it, right? But the funny thing is I’ve yet to know a single person who reached the NBA by merely visualizing it – or a champion bodybuilder who sat around and just imagined strength training. These achievers train, study and condition themselves for years to actualize their success. Or maybe someone never told them all they had to do was just sit around and think about sinking three pointers? At best, people are putting the cart before the horse and at worst, just intellectually lazy. To achieve real success, success at a high kick-life-in-the-ass level takes work, time and dedication.
I’m not suggesting there aren’t benefits to theses thinking systems. I believe and practice many of them. I meditate, I visualize and I practice gratitude every day of my life. And yes, many great athletes also practice visualization, but these things don’t create propulsion to your goal. They’re the added value, the turbo, and the afterburners. Propulsion comes from consistent applied effort of the proven fundamentals.
There are no shortcuts but there are efficiencies.
Want to know the real secret? Work hard, be patient, and take 100% responsibility for your happiness, health and success. Appreciate, cherish and love what you have and kick ass for what you really want.
When researching for this post, I found there might be no evidence on record of a Dr. Blaslotto or the popular study that continues to be circulated. See http://skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/8531/is-visualisation-almost-as-effective-as-practice