“There is a law in psychology that if you form a picture in your mind of what you would like to be, and you keep and hold that picture there long enough, you will soon become exactly as you have been thinking.” William James (1842-1910)
Considered by many as the father of psychology, William James offers you the key to success in any area of your life. In one short paragraph he packs a punch equivalent to numerous books and movies about the same phenomenon, the power of visualization.
Let’s break down this sentence into 3 components:
- Form a picture in your mind of your what you wish manifested in your life
- Keep and hold that picture long enough
- You will become exactly as you thought
The implications here would be that your mind couldn’t distinguish between what’s real and what’s imaginary. When the picture is held long enough the mind believes it’s for real and moves to prove its viability. For example, if you want to be a millionaire, your mind shows you how to act as if you already are one. It thinks like one, make you act like one, and will keep at it until you become one!
James was a sought after speaker in religion, philosophy and psychology. Through his research he finally abandoned the philosophy of determinism, proclaiming, “My first act of fee will shall be to believe in free will.” This means that we begin everyday with a blank page. What we write on it is up to us. So, we all are in charge of our own destiny. It’s like we don’t know when we come to this world and when we leave it, as both are unsolved mysteries. But we certainly have the power over what happens between these two points.
James’s statement about forming a picture in your mind goes well beyond the idea of positive thinking. He says we think in pictures, just as we dream in pictures. Not words, sentences or phrases, but mental images. The words are mere symbols enabling us to communicate or describe those pictures. So, I personally encourage you to discover how this law works for you, if you truly wish to operate at much higher levels of success and happiness.