Imagine a Color You’ve Never Seen Before
Okay, so you’ve gotten this far and you still can’t see yourself as a confident person. Today’s email will help you over your last hurdle.
Our brains build new thoughts and ideas from past experiences, thoughts, feelings, and the knowledge we’ve learned. Picture a stack of building blocks (of course our actual brain is not a bunch of building blocks, but the analogy is visually helpful I hope!). Each thought and experience is a block. As we grow, we keep stacking blocks from our past and they inform how we think about the future. Since our brains are such efficient machines, they default to these past blocks, (our thoughts, ideas, and experiences) in getting us through our day-to-day.
Many people have trouble picturing themselves as confident if they weren’t a confident person in the past. They want to be more confident but have a hard time creating a picture in their mind of what that would look and feel like. And so, their minds end up defaulting to other pictures they have of themselves.
Today’s focus may seem a bit out of left field, but it relates. It is going to be on strengthening your imagination—countering your brain’s desire to fall back on “the known” and stretching it to see the “unknown,” or a color you’ve never seen before.
You’re going to have to suspend your disbelief to a certain extent. It’s sort of like watching a fantasy movie and having your brain contesting, “Wait, that can’t happen!” To enjoy the movie, you have to shut down the critical part of your brain and allow these new possibilities to take hold.
You’ll do the same with picturing yourself as a confident person. In doing so, instead of letting out a frustrated sigh, you’ll find this imaginative “confident you” is quite believable.
After all, we are living in the day and age when anything seems possible! Think of Elon Musk, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence to name a few inspirations.
So what is the secret to forcing your brain outside the limits of your past? Strengthen your imagination muscle. Yep, it’s a skill anyone can learn. Here are three activities to help strengthen this skill.
The first creativity exercise was mentioned in a TED talk by Tim Brown on creativity and play. The exercise came from Bob McKim, a professor emeritus at Stanford University who spent a lot of time researching creativity in the ‘60s and ‘70s. The idea is, in one minute, to draw as many different pictures using just circles as you can. This exercise can also be done with the directions being to draw 100 pictures using a square (or any shape.)
Our perceptual positions determine how we view things, so it’s important to play around with shifting our perspectives to look at things in different ways. Leonardo da Vinci acknowledged the pitfall of being stuck in one’s own perceptual position, and he specified several ways to shift perspective, such as writing out a problem statement several times using different words. Each time he changed the words, he changed his perspective. You can do this by writing a sentence about something that is still tripping you up with confidence. Now write the sentence again using different words. And then again. See if you get any shifts in your perception.
Travel to different places, see new things, try different ethnic foods, go to museums, listen to new music, and read new books. One of the biggest ways to expand your imagination is to infuse your brain with different input.
Today’s action assignment is to pick one of these exercises and do it. Often we think that if we just read about exercises that they will work by osmosis. But it doesn’t work that way. Give one a try!
Tomorrow is your last day! You’ll learn how to keep the gains you’ve made.
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