Seeing is Believing, or Is It? by Denis Waitley

Denis WaitleyYour attitudes and beliefs are the software programs driving you every day on life’s journey.  When your eyes are open, you see the world that lies outside yourself. You see the items of the room you’re in, the people, and the view of the landscape through the window. You take for granted that the objects are real and separate from yourself. However, successful individuals see the act of achieving in advance vivid, multidimensional, clear.

Champions know that “What you see, is who you’ll be.”

When you close your eyes, images and thoughts flow through your mind. You may review memories of past events, or preview future possibilities. You can daydream about what may be or what might have been, and your imagination will take you beyond the limits of space and time. Most people attach little importance to these inner visions. They may seem pleasantly irrelevant, or uncomfortably at odds with the accepted external reality. NULL

If you’re like most people, you grew up with the idea that “Seeing is Believing.” In other words, you need to physically see something with your own eyes to believe that it’s real. I know many successful individuals who live this way.

But there’s an attitude that suggests, “Before you can see it, you have to believe it.” This premise holds that our belief system is so powerful that thoughts can actually cause things to happen in the physical world.

I also know many successful individuals who live according to this notion of reality. So which concept is nearer the truth? Do you have to see it before you believe it, or believe before you can see it? The answer is: both are basically true. If you can see something in your mind’s eye, and you imagine it over and over again, you will begin to believe it is really there in substance. As a result, your actions, both physical and mental, will move to bring about in reality the image you are visualizing. During my university years at the U. S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, I underwent training in aircraft recognition. All of us midshipmen sat at one end of a hall while silhouettes of American and foreign military aircraft were flashed on a screen at speeds similar to combat situations. We were supposed to write down the numerical designations and names of the planes, such as A-4, F-ll-F, F-4, MIG-21, and so forth. But the task became more difficult each week, because they kept adding more planes, scrambling the order, and speeding up the projection. Finally, it got ridiculous, because the images were going by faster than an MTV music video so that most of us saw only a blur, and some didn’t see anything. I began to see planes that weren’t even invented yet. When it came time for the final exam, I didn’t know for certain which planes I was seeing. I wrote down hunches, intuitions, and reflex responses. But when the test results were announced, virtually everyone had scored a perfect 100 percent. We had seen the planes, even if we didn’t necessarily believe it. For me, that test proved that images can be stored and retained, unconsciously, at incredible speeds. And those stored images, when recalled, can enhance performance. What about the thousands of flickering images we see on a TV, computer or movie screen? What about commercials? Do we have to believe the products really do all those amazing things before we buy them? Do viewers have to think that violent scenes in movies and TV are actually occurring in real life for there to be a negative effect on their behavior? Many people believe that violent fantasy has no impact on their lives whatsoever, because they think they’re too intelligent to be swayed by it. Well, I’ve got news for them. Whatever you see or experience, real or imagined, consciously or subliminally, when repeated vividly over and over, does affect your behavior, and definitely can influence you to buy a product or buy into a lifestyle, good or bad.

Your attitude and beliefs are, quite simply, functions of what you see day in and day out. Information can be taken in almost unnoticed.

You won’t react to it until later, and you still won’t be aware of what lies behind your response. In other words, what you see really is what you get, regardless of whether you know it or not. You don’t need to be watching slides of airplanes, or TV shows, or music videos, video games, or commercials. You can be just lying down, or commuting to work, or walking through a park, and by seeing from within, in your mind’s eye, you can change your life. By rehashing fears and problems, you can make yourself depressed. As a result you can botch a business deal, hurt a relationship, or lower your performance. By forecasting a gloomy outcome in your mind’s eye, you can act as your own witch doctor and practice a modern-day kind of voodoo that will fulfill your negative prediction with uncanny accuracy. On the other hand, by replaying in your mind’s eye the best game you ever played, you can repeat that best game again, when the stakes are even higher and the pressure is on.

And by mentally pre-playing the best game you’ve ever imagined, you can set the stage for a world-class performance. This “instant replay” and “instant pre-play” applies to anything from a successful sales call or athletic event to the effective motivation of your teammates and children.

Choose your role models and inputs carefully. Your attitudes and beliefs are the software programs driving you every day on life’s journey.


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Denis Waitley
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