(Copyright 2000, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)
Preface – The Art of Visualization
It was through the process of visualization that I had the idea to write this book in order to help anyone utilize the technique of visualization to improve their lives and the organizations they’re part of. Visualization provides you with the opportunity to see anything from a fresh, new perspective, explore alternative options and open yourself to eureka moments of self-discovery in your life and in the organizations you participate in. In the movie Dead Poets Society, the teacher played by Robin Williams has each student stand on top of a desk and look at the world from a fresh, new and radically different perspective. It is this radical alteration of how we look at our world that can change everything for us – and it is the art of visualization that can make it happen!
The Art of Visualization is a technique of looking at something in a new light, independently from the subject of interest. Life itself is a process of visualizing, imagining and replicating the world around us, because our minds function in a virtual world inside our craniums as if locked away in a dark room. Our minds can’t experience or know what’s going on without receiving sensory inputs that interpret what’s happening around us in the real world.
Imagine having an interpreter translating the events around you as they’re happening. You’re always one step behind, because you can’t correlate anything in real-time. The words are out of phase in both time and comprehension due to the time lag in the process of interpretation. It’s only after the fact, having heard the translation, that you can rejoin words and actions together in your mind to create understanding. What if your interpreter also requires an interpreter in order to convert the speaker’s words into a language you can understand? Take it one step further and imagine that the language the translator is speaking to you in is your second language – and requires your complete focus and attention. Even though you understand this language on a conversational level, technical words and phrases you don’t know cause you to completely miss the original meaning and intent of what’s being said.
This word picture of one interpreter, interpreting for another, who in turn interprets for you what the original speaker is saying, is a word picture of the events that are taking place – and an example of visualization. Your mind requires multiple inputs in order to interpret the world around it correctly. Fortunately for us, our sensory inputs and neurons normally work very quickly, so that our interpretation of the outside world occurs in near real time with the actual events taking place – otherwise, we would always be too far behind to ever react as events are happening around us. The more inputs your brain receives, the better it’s able to translate what’s happening around you. The faster it receives those inputs, the quicker it can resolve that virtual picture puzzle of what’s happening outside its cranium. It’s sort of like a jigsaw puzzle – each sensory input adds a piece of the puzzle and your brain must compile it together into something it can understand. This composite picture made up of various sensory puzzle pieces is what your mind uses to base its decisions on. If you have a few puzzle pieces missing or out of place, then your mind must cobble together a compilation of current sensory inputs and past experiences to try to understand what’s actually taking place.
When we think a unique and independent thought, our minds simply arrange virtual puzzle pieces out of our past experiences to artificially create something imaginary in our minds. This process of visualizing something that we’ve never before experienced, or hasn’t taken place – or doesn’t even yet exist – allows us to explore new and imaginative ways that we can transform the world around us and create the world of our dreams. When we meet challenges that are difficult to overcome, we can simply imagine new and unique approaches to solve them. The best solution to any challenge is always a simple and elegant approach in form, function and application.
Our mind also weighs each of our various physical senses (sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch, as well as other various minor senses) in a reliability test if one is known to be degraded or has been unreliable in the past. Usually, our eyes are the most trusted of our senses, but they can be fooled. Perhaps we know that our sense of smell is not very reliable and as a result it doesn’t count as much in the total composite picture our mind builds. For some of us, we know that our color vision is under-performing in certain lighting conditions or that our hearing isn’t as accurate as it once was – so we discount them based on their level of prior performance and known reliability. For most people, the sense that is the most trusted and relied on is our sight – and that’s why visualization is so vital and important to our imagination. The saying our mind’s eye is a way of describing the fact that we often see what we’re thinking. When someone describes something to us we often develop a mental picture of what they’re saying – even as they’re saying it to us.
So open your mind’s eye as wide as you can and free your mind to look at your world anew as if for the first time ever – and use The Art of Visualization to see new and unique solutions to solving and overcoming your challenges! In the process of visualization, you may even catch a glimpse of the future – if for only a fleeting second in time! May your visualizing help you color your world and expand your horizons in ways you could never before imagine…simply trust your mind’s eye to first paint that beautiful picture and blueprint for you to follow in your imagination!
(Copyright 2000, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)
We often speak of inventors having that eureka moment, when they first capture a concept they have long been searching for. The mind has a way to channel and access these eureka moments through altering the approach it takes in dealing with the subject at hand. By changing your paradigm or approach to the subject – as well as the context you view it in by pulling it out of the familiar and placing it into a different medium – the mind can visualize connections and concepts that it was unable to previously recognize. Random associations can pull everything into focus when you change the background of the familiar that has previously clouded your perception. Look at your world through new eyes and you will see details that you’ve never noticed before, brainstorm and generate ideas that you haven’t thought of before and make connections that you’ve never recognized before – helping you to permanently alter your perspectives in every facet of your life, organization and business!
Welcome to the world of Organizational Aerodynamics, designed to help individuals, organizations and businesses creatively solve their challenges by adjusting the way we perceive the world around us – including our personal lives and the organizations we’re part of. Notice that I’ve used the word challenges instead of problems. This book is all about the art of visualization and the first step of visualization is to learn how to see things differently than you’re used to, in order to change the patterns, approaches and paradigms you may have been using for years. For example, it’s important to drop the word problem out of your vocabulary and replace it with challenge, opportunity or a similar proactive word. In that way, you turn a negative situation into a positive one in the visualization process. Keep it positive! Positive energy stimulates creativity, whereas negative thoughts drain energy and sap creativity. Therefore, I’ll only refer to problems as challenges or opportunities that creativity will find ways to solve and overcome.
For example, when faced with a personal or professional challenge, simply visualize creating a bridge from one side of your challenge to the other and name your bridge opportunity. Your creativity will allow you to build many different bridges of all shapes, sizes and colors. Once you’ve selected the bridge design that suits your present situation or challenge, then simply choose to embrace your opportunity and walk across the bridge to the other side. After you’ve crossed the bridge to your solution, you’ll see how simple the process was to put that challenge behind you and begin the process of moving forward while preparing to meet your next challenge. The essence of visualization isn’t rocket science, but sometimes using the art of visualization as one of many tools in your toolkit when you can’t see the forest for the trees, is indeed, rocket science.
Everyone reacts to challenges and opportunities in different ways – some more successfully than others. There are people who find it very easy to bridge their challenges, while others choose to circumnavigate their opportunity and avoid dealing with it all together – hoping it will eventually disappear quietly on its own. Hopefully, by using your creativity to build bridges of opportunity, you’ll find that life is full of adventure and joy. You can do most anything that you set your mind to and your success will come from building a series of bridges to the future that you’ve designed and created yourself!
I’ve written this book as a self-help guide to teach you how to visualize your community, organization, business, family, life and world in brand new ways, so that you can creatively solve your challenges. The most important ingredient in meeting a goal or overcoming a challenge is to be able to visualize the desired outcome and then internalize the picture so that you constantly focus on that desired end game. Your energy, enthusiasm and drive must stay intensely focused on your goal by visualizing the end state in order for you to go about achieving it – no matter how large or small. Otherwise your efforts will be dispersed throughout the days, weeks, months and years ahead, without having concentrated your best efforts on achieving what you desired to accomplish.
The technique of visualization is commonly used by successful people in all walks of life. Artists visualize their finished artwork long before they dip their brush into paint or put chisel to marble. Visualization and creativity go hand-in-hand in a dynamic process of symbiosis – one feeding off the energy of the other. The artist’s vision may be modified as time goes on, but the finished product results from the artist clearly seeing the way ahead when no one else can. A professional athlete will take the time to visualize every twist and turn on the course that he or she is about to run – mentally visualizing and analyzing the race over and over again in slow motion in their minds as part of their preparation. On the day of the race, it will be as if they had already been there before and seen the final outcome long before leaving the starting gate.
Military pilots chair fly and simulate their sorties long before ever going out to their airplanes. They take the time to visualize and brief every switch they need to throw, every maneuver they will make along the way and every procedure they must complete in order to accomplish their mission. Modern simulator training takes the art of visualization to an entirely new level by creating a parallel or virtual experience that replicates reality – building confidence and experience through repetition in a virtual-world in order to perfect skills that are later needed in the real-world.
Organizational Aerodynamics allows you to visualize your unique situation in a way that perhaps you’ve never seen it before. Then, after internalizing this new perspective of the task at hand, you can refine and focus your energy on successfully accomplishing your goal. There is no shortcut to success, as any successful person will tell you. It takes extremely hard work, an intense and personal desire, a dedicated, focused and determined effort and an overall vision to accomplish the task at hand. However, once you’re finally able to see the desired outcome you’re striving to achieve…you’ll find that all things are truly possible!
“…helping individuals, organizations and businesses creatively solve their challenges…”