Effective individuals have a clear sense of what they want out of life and how to get it. The authors begin their discussion with a consideration of transpersonal psychology, a field that looks at the interaction of spirituality and psychology. One of the central tenets of this field is the acknowledgment that life is a mystery, and individuals should strive to build a meaningful relationship with this mystery. Individuals must also acknowledge that life is uncertain and that, following chaos theory, everything is connected.
They must also recognize that life is trouble, and they must choose to accept the challenges brought on by the chaos of life. The authors then move to demonstrating how an individual can go on his or her own vision question in order to discover where he/she wants to go and how best to get there. First, they offer a series of questions designed to spark reflection and to help you discover your identity. Next, they discuss the technique of wishstorming, or imagining what you would do if you were given an unlimited number of wishes. The act of wishing allows you to develop your creativity and to learn about your desires.
Considering death and/or immortality allows you to put your wishes into perspective and find out which of your wishes are the most important to you. The authors then propose writing a personal mission statement that takes into account your goals in life and all of the roles (in terms of family, career, hobbies, studies) you perform. These goals should be realistic, and you should question what you hope to gain from accomplishing these goals. There are six steps to follow in order to secure your goals. First, you must state your goal in positive terms, and you must be able to accomplish it regardless of others’ behavior.
Second, you must have a way of verifying that you have achieved your goal. Third, you must very specifically describe your goals. Next, you must assess whether or not all of your goals are compatible. Next, you need to determine what you require to accomplish your goals and determine which of these requirements you already have. Finally, you need to make a plan by working backwards from your goal. The authors next discuss visualization, an important technique for goal accomplishment. Visualization allows you to access the unconscious mind in order to influence your emotions and behavior, and it can be an important tool for effectiveness.
Research in the area of sports has demonstrated that visualization significantly improves an athlete’s performance. Additionally, like the placebo effect, visualization is effective in the healing process. Visualization’s effectiveness is related to the role of modeling in the theory of Social Cognitive Learning. The authors provide six crucial principles to make visualization more effective. First, one must master the art of voluntary relaxation, discussed in Chapter 5. Next, one must visualize positive, as opposed to negative, outcomes.
Third, one should involve all of the senses, not just vision, in the practice of visualization because the more senses that are involved in the visualization, the more effective the visualization will be. Fourth, one should visualize from two different perspectives: as a participant and as an observer. Next, one should follow a recommended sequence for visualization, beginning with deciding a goal and ending with the visualization of what it would be like to achieve the goal. Lastly, one needs to be patient because excess tension is counterproductive to the visualization process.