Documenting the Coming Singularity

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Mental Imaging – The Power to “Make it So”

By 2:12 PM a bevy of pretty Chinese girls

It all began with a mental image. For no reason at all, I began to think about a certain kind of sweet I hadn’t had since childhood. Where I spent the first 15 years of my life, in Kingston Jamaica, there is a significant Chinese population, of course they are Chinese Jamaican. (I happen to be English-Lebanese Jamaican.) We called these particular sweets “Chinese sweeties.” That sounds like a bevy of pretty Chinese girls, but no, they were 2 varieties of candy made in China, one sweet and one sour. It must have been at least 32 years since I’d had any. And now, here I was in Orlando Florida, with Chinese sweeties on the brain.

"Yes. We have."

I didn’t just think about them, however. I craved them. I had to have some Chinese sweeties! But where could I get them? Certainly not from Publix. On to Windows Live Search, type in “Chinese grocery” and my zip code and Presto! Just a short drive down I-4 and over to 17-92. I go inside and ask for them by their Chinese name, or as best as I can remember the pronunciation. “Excuse me, do you have any chan pui mui?” The proprietress of the store, to my delight, says, “Yes, we have.” I spring for $15 worth and, a short half hour later, I’m contentedly sucking away at my Chinese sweetie, just as I had imagined it.

the power to transform

As many things do, this experience got me to thinking. What had I done? I imagined a desirable outcome, catalogued the steps necessary to achieve it, carried out those steps, and thus made my idea a reality. What’s the big deal? you say. This is the kind of thing we do every day. So it is. But I don’t think many of us understand how profound and powerful this capacity of ours actually is. Within the realm of the possible, we all have the power to transform a mental image, whatever we can imagine, into a real thing. year from today

This is not a new idea, of course. People have always known that envisioning themselves doing a thing increases the probability that they will do that thing in reality. A golfer imagines a perfect chip shot putting the ball inches from the pin. A tennis player imagines serving the ball so accurately that her opponent cannot put a racket to it. A businessman imagines himself walking out of an upcoming meeting with signed contract in hand. What about you? Do you make use of this power? I’ll tell you what I imagine. I imagine myself blogging so successfully that I make at least $3,000 in one month from it, and I see that happening within one year from today.

...original thought

Well hey, if it were that simple, we’d all have everything in life that we desire, right? Not quite. We all imagine things we want to have, but most of us don’t get those things, at least not the difficult ones. Remember the 2 steps in the middle, between imagining and having? Catalogue the actions necessary to achieve it, and then carry out those actions. That’s where the process often breaks down. Why? First of all, because the actions necessary to achieve what you desire must be the right ones. Figuring out what those actions are, and the proper sequence within which they must fit, takes time and effort, and often trial and error. The most desirable things tend to be things that aren’t spelled out for you. Someone once said that the most painful thing in the world is giving birth to an original thought. The second reason why the process breaks down is because carrying out the necessary actions necessitates a high degree of commitment. Searching for the nearest Chinese grocery and driving there was easy. Writing things that people want to read and doing so every day is not so easy. And that’s only one part of what I must do to make my imagination become real. But I am committed to it. You can help me by telling your friends and enemies about my blogs. What can I do to help you?