As a slow reader, I lean on podcasts as my primary form of information consumption. News podcasts, History podcasts, Philosophy podcasts, Geek podcasts, anything and everything…though come to think of it those last few could all be geek related, but I digress.
The other day I was listening to the Tim Ferris Show, which focuses on productivity and excellence in a variety of fields (I can almost feel the eyes of the reader rolling as I type this). In this particular episode, the topic of negative visualization came up and was discussed at length.
For those of you unfamiliar with negative visualization, it is easiest to explain by first understanding Positive visualization. Positive visualization is imagining your goals coming true. For example, while I was training for a Marathon, I detailed out in my mind the moment of crossing the finish line. A mix of exuberance, exhaustion, and starvation that all fought for priority in my mind as I completed an athletic endeavour years in the making. I even imagined the tremendously portioned lunch I would eat after.
Negative visualization by contrast is imagining living without the benefits you currently enjoy. This helps to not only mentally fortify yourself against the loss of loved ones, good health, friends and all the other joys that we take for life. It also has the added benefit of making you capitalize on every moment that you hold them.
More than anything, negative visualization is what keeps me engaged from day to day. I have cheated death a couple of times in my life (both while on road trips interestingly enough) and I appreciate the moments of good health that I do have. I also appreciate the finite nature of what I have and am fully aware that every day you don’t pursue your goals, you gamble with fate over whether you will be able to again tomorrow.
Well that got dark fast and heavy rather fast. This weekend will be another silly story; maybe about wandering around Montreal!