A Better Visualization Technique For Achieving Your Dreams

We are the culmination of the consistent actions that we take. 

Success doesn’t happen immediately and doesn’t happen overnight, but as billionaire Charlie Munger Says: 

Step by step you get ahead, but not necessarily in fast spurts. But you build discipline by preparing for fast spurts… slug it out one inch at a time, day by day. At the end of the day – if you live long enough – most people get what they deserve.

— Charlie Munger

All of the best presidents, leaders, entrepreneurs, billionaires, and top athletes follow the consistency principle. 

Instead of looking for the magic button solution, follow this foundational rule and you’ll get ahead

 

So.. How do we create consistency? (hint: learn from the best)

During his bodybuilding days Arnold Schwarzenegger embodied the consistency principle. 

Each day he woke up at 5:30 am, trained 2x a day (sometimes 4-6 hours each day), prepared his food, ate the same boring meals (6-8 meals a day), and went to bed at the same time each night.  

Everything he did aligned his life towards the goal of building more muscle and ultimately winning Mr. Olympia. 

The result?… A 6x Mr. olympia winner, becoming the highest paid Hollywood actor and eventually the Governor of California

While most of us don’t have any interest in becoming a top bodybuilder, actor or governor, we can learn from people like Arnold understand the underlying factors behind their consistency. 

Let’s Dive Deeper

The next question that you should ask… is why can someone like Schwarzenegger create the type of consistency that most of us dream about? How can they slug it out everyday and give up the vices that hold most of us back?

The answer is simple: They have a clear vision and fully believe they will achieve it. 

 

Introducing “The Maltz-Schwarzenegger Technique”

This technique takes the best visualization techniques from Schwarzenegger, self-image enhancing methods from research psychologist Maxwell Maltz, neuroscience and biofeedback technology from the HeartMath Institute

 

Step 1: Create an 18 month goal and get connected to It (top performers only)
 

In his book the education of a bodybuilder, Arnold Schwarzenegger says this:

I continued doing precisely what I knew I needed to do. In my mind, there was only one possibility for me and that was to go to the top, to be the best. Everything else was just a means to an end.

— Arnold Schwarzenegger

 Arnold is saying that his goal of being the most muscular man in world became
crystallized in his mind. From there he just focused on the day-to-day tasks in
front of him an executed.
 
You can take this same framework and apply it to whatever goal you want.

Exercise:

  • Write down THE BIG GOAL you have in mind (starting the new business, moving into a new career, reshaping your body, finding your spouse etc). 
  • Use a pen and write THE BIG GOAL in big bold letters in the center of the sheet.
  • Write down each month from today until you get to 18 months out.
  • Now write down all a smaller sub goals for each month (18 total) and all of the steps that you can associate with that goal. 
  • Write down whatever it is going to take to get there.

 
Good!
 
Now you have the goal in mind and you can see all of the sequential step-by-steps actions it’s going to take in order to get there. Most people never plan things out like this, which is why they never get ahead. 

 

Step 2: Create a ‘Mental Movie’ of your success and use biofeedback to amplify the results. (Adapted from Maxwell Maltz)

As Maltz points out in Psycho Cybernetics:

Your mind does not know the difference in between something real and imagined

— Maxwell Maltz

 
What he means is that we can create consistency when we hack our nervous system into thinking that we’ve already done the new action or habit. We can experience success even before it happens and eliminate the fatigue and energy draining effects of implementing new habits.
 
Maltz calls it creating a Mental Movie’

 

Create Your OWn Mental Movie:

  • Look at the list that you created in step one.
  • Intensely focus on each action on the list and imagine yourself executing each action.
  • Replay each image in your head as vividly as possible. Think about what your body will feel like going through the actions, how others will react to you, what it will feel like etc. 
  • Think of all of your past successes and achievements. Re-live them. 

 

Step 3: Run through your ‘Mental Movie’ while in an ALPHA Brainwave State

Alpha brain waves have been the target of Buddhist monks and hippies for thousands of years.
 
You don’t have to travel to Nepal and stand on Everest in order to achieve this brain state. In fact, current technology and ancient mediation practices allow us to get there in a few minutes.
 
A Quick Benefits overview of ALPHA Brain Wave States [8]:

  • Less anxiety and less nervousness.
  • More creativity
  • Increased attention and focus.
  • Amplified memory I/O
  • Improves gut health and sleep.

 

Here’s the Exercise:

Every morning for 5 minutes (while using the EmWave2, neurofeedback or binaural beats), visualize your ‘Mental Movie’ focusing on you past successes and the step-by-step achievement of your future goals. Use the list you created above as a reference.  
 
In the Alpha state, you become a sponge, learn optimally, creativity is amplified, it turns off normal over-monitoring and relieves stress.
 
This way your imagined goals in an Alpha state become wired into subconscious mind and become REAL. Because your brain is a sponge while in an Alpha state, it’s primed to soak up the mental movie that you’ve created. 

I can’t stress enough how important this is. You have the ability to create an empowering reality using very simple techniques. The only limiting factor is how hard you are willing to work. 
 
From there, you just execute.
 
NOTE: If you don’t have access to any of the technologies listed above listening to Classical Baroque music will work in a pinch.

Save this infographic for your notes. That way you can reference it whenever you want.

Save this infographic for your notes. That way you can reference it whenever you want.

 

My Results?

Practicing The Maltz-Schwarzenegger Technique I graded out at an average habit completion score of 97% in the following weeks and ended up creating StopStartDo.com as a result. 

Not bad huh?

Conclusion:

The Maltz-Schwarzenegger Technique” can be adapted and customized to fit any person. I’m continually tinkering and hope you do the same. 

It will take some practice but once you get it down, but once you do… it will turbocharge your habit consistency. 

 

Sources:

  1. Munger, C., & Kaufman, P. (2005). Poor Charlie’s almanack: The wit and wisdom of Charles T. Munger. Virginia Beach, VA: Donning.
  2. Schwarzenegger, A., & Hall, D. (1977). Arnold: The education of a bodybuilder. New York: Simon and Schuster.
  3. Schwarzenegger, A., & Petre, P. (n.d.). Total recall: My unbelievably true life story.
  4. Maltz, M. (1960). Psycho-cybernetics: A new way to get more living out of life. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.
  5. Oka, T., Yamamura, Y., Ichikawa, J., Yokoyama, Y., Oka, T., & Kurachi, M. (n.d.). Influence by Psychological Effects on 1/f Fluctuation in Brain Waves (.ALPHA. Waves). Nihon Hotetsu Shika Gakkai Zasshi, 612-616.
  6. Alpha brain-wave neurofeedback training reduces psychopathology in a cohort of male and female Canadian aboriginals. (n.d.). Retrieved March 13, 2015, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23341412
  7. Toward using alpha and theta brain waves to quantify programmer expertise. (n.d.). Retrieved March 13, 2015, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25571208
  8. De-stress, stress survey, well-being, stress solutions, lower stress, stress management tools, Institute of HeartMath. (n.d.). Retrieved March 13, 2015, from http://www.heartmath.org/

 

 



About Ben Austin

My friends call me the illegitimate love child of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bill Nye. I’m a bodybuilding-yogi-science loving-foodie bringing an engineering approach to lifestyle design. Join me as I analyze the systems that go into optimal mental and physical performance and explore the stories and tactics of people who set the standard for the rest of us.

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