||This article may present fringe theories, without giving appropriate weight to the mainstream view, and explaining the responses to the fringe theories. (March 2012)|
New Thought Beliefs
Creative visualization (sports visualization) refers to the practice of seeking to affect the outer world by changing one's thoughts and expectations. Creative visualization is the basic technique underlying positive thinking and is frequently used by athletes to enhance their performance. The concept originally arose in the US with the nineteenth century New Thought movement. One of the first Americans to practice the technique of creative visualization was Wallace Wattles (1860–1911), who wrote The Science of Getting Rich. In this book, Wattles advocates creative visualization as the main technique for realizing one's goals; a practice that stems from the Hindu Monistic theory of the Universe that is subscribed to by the book.
Creative visualization is the technique of using one's imagination to visualize specific behaviors or events occurring in one's life. Advocates suggest creating a detailed schema of what one desires and then visualizing it over and over again with all of the senses (i.e., what do you see? what do you feel? what do you hear? what does it smell like?). For example, in sports a golfer may visualize the perfect stroke over and over again to mentally train muscle memory.
In one of the most well-known studies on creative visualization in sports, Russian scientists compared four groups of Olympic athletes in terms of their physical and mental training ratios:
- Group 1 received 100% physical training;
- Group 2 received 75% physical training with 25% mental training;
- Group 3 received 50% mental training with 50% physical training;
Group 3 had the best performance results, indicating that certain types of mental training, such as consciously invoking specific subjective states, can have significant measurable effects on biological performance. According to Cummins, "The Soviets had discovered that mental images can act as a prelude to muscular impulses It has since become more widely understood and accepted in neuroscience and sports psychology that subjective training can cause the body to respond more favorably to consciously desired outcomes.
Visualization practices are a common form of spiritual exercise. In Vajrayana Buddhism, complex visualizations are used to attain Buddhahood, e.g. Generation Stage. Additionally, visualization is used extensively in sports psychology.
In popular media
Some celebrities have endorsed the use of creative visualization and claimed it had a significant role in their success. Such celebrities include citation needed], Tiger Woods, During a 2008 interview with Tavis Smiley, actor Will Smith said he used visualization to overcome challenges and, in fact, visualized his success years before he became successful. Another example is actor Jim Carrey, who wrote a check to himself in 1987 in the sum of 10 million dollars. He dated it 'Thanksgiving 1995' and added the notation, “for acting services rendered.” He visualized it for years and in 1994 he received $10M for his role in Dumb and Dumber.[
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- Will Smith segment on Tavis Smiley - Law of Attraction on YouTube
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