I used to look at my life and especially college and say to myself, “man, I am going to be the best at this, nobody will be better than me.” And what I used to do is look to others for confirmation of my success to motivate me to continue to pursue more success. I would rely completely on extrinsic motivation from others to achieve success. But, what would happen is when I did not see immediate success and if I did not see myself where I thought that I should be immediately and if I didn’t have people around me telling me what a great job I was doing, I would get frustrated and quit. This attitude is what led to me dropping out of college 4 times and never being able to finish a semester.
But what changed is when I began to see myself not for who I felt I should be now, but for who I would become in time and when I learned to look inside for motivation. I would spend hours in my thoughts and visualize the future. I would literally picture myself reading my transcript and seeing A’s and literally picture myself crossing the stage at graduation. Once I learned to use this form of intrinsic motivation to push myself to my goals, I began to apply it to every aspect of my life. I began to look at opportunities at school, where I could make them better and I would envision the success and potential that they could bring. I began to look at homework and studying not as this daunting task, but rather a means to end, as a way to reach that vision that I saw so clearly for my future success.
My implementation and mastery of this skill has completely changed my life. I began seeing success in my life faster than I ever thought I could. Compared to before, I was now enjoying “the process” more and subsequently getting more enjoyment and satisfaction from my life. My new ability to look within for motivation and to literally build my success in my mind before it ever came to fruition became the catalyst for all of my current success. I went from being a 4-time college drop-out, to graduating an honors student, winning The Presidents Medallion – the most prestigious award given to a student at my college- and being accepted into the four year university that I had always dreamed of going to. Albert Einstein once said that “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” What I believe he was saying is that our imagination is capable of breaking us free of our limits and with it, anything is possible! I have created powerful change in my life simply from learning to use my mind and imagination and seeing not what is today, but will be tomorrow!
If you are like me and sitting there, wondering why you are not reaching your goals and why it seems as though everyone around you is achieving success and you are not, then I suggest doing what I did. I want you to sit down (like RIGHT NOW), take out a pen and a piece of paper and I want you to write down what a day in your life would look like if you achieved your dreams. I want you to be as detailed as you can possibly be. If your dream is to live on a beach, then I want you to write about what the sand feels like beneath your feet, what the waves sound like and what the air smells like. I want you to be so specific that you begin to truly envision this happening to you. Once you have done this, take some time and dream! Dream about all that you have just written about, I want you to see your success before it even happens. Practice this, day after day. Scientific studies have shown that if we write things down, they become more real to us. I believe that when we write down our goals and our dreams then we can visualize and see them happening and once you can see them happening, you begin to believe that they truly can happen to you. Once you believe you can do something, then anything becomes possible!