This is my last post in a week-long series about how we can use visualization as a tool to help achieve both daily and long-term goals. Today’s post is an interview with Robert DalColletto, a professional writer and friend who has found visualization helped him succeed in many areas of life. As a pre-teen, he says it helped him start to build up his muscles; and as an adult, he says it helped him battle cancer and move closer to his career goals.
Robert, when did you first start using visualization?
Though I remember being a vivid dreamer as a small child, the first time I used visualization with intention was when I was 12. I was tall for my age but not as strong as the older kids who picked on me. So I decided to start lifting weights. I read Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Arnold: The Education of a Bodybuilder, in which he recommends using visualization to feel a muscle group and see the results you want. It was an effective way to chisel and sculpt my own body.
I later used visualization when playing softball and baseball. Either before a game or on deck, I would visualize and even feel myself pounding the ball at bat. Then it would happen! By manifesting a hit in my mind, my body would follow.
In what other ways have you integrated visualization into your life?
I started writing poetry and screenplays when I was 21. I could stare at a wall, almost like I was daydreaming, and visualize a set, costumes, characters and other characteristics of a movie.
Another important way I used visualization was when I got cancer seven years ago. In addition to the treatment I was undergoing, I regularly visualized healthy tissue, as well as living for a long time and being with my son. Cancer came to be a monster I created in my mind, and I knew I had to change certain behaviors to keep the monster away, even after the doctors cut my cancer out. Things like diet improvements, prayer and visualization were instrumental in overcoming my illness.
What types of visualization techniques have you used?
Gosh, without even realizing it, I have tried a number of different techniques. I already mentioned how I visualized muscle groups and home runs! But I also used a technique I’ll call a prayer group, years ago when I lived in Austin. I worked with a life coach who taught me how to use pictures to depict something or someone I wanted in my life (e.g., someone who I wanted to star in a movie I’d written). After placing the picture(s) on the floor and sitting next to them, I projected positive energy into the area. Then I stepped into the energy, like touching a magnetic field.
This same coach taught me to visualize how I wanted my office to look. And believe it or not, ten years later, my office is actually starting to look that way.
Today, I use a technique recommended by Asara Lovejoy in her book, One Command. She advocates a six step visualization process which really focuses on what you want to happen, as opposed to how. It also includes a step which emphasizes gratitude for all the good things that will come your way.
Last year was a tough year for our family, due economic fallout, parent illnesses and other circumstances. I was amazed to see how quickly our fortunes changed, through hard work and visualization. My wife landed an amazing job, I found my manager and we moved to L.A., all within a period of a couple of months.
What advice would you give someone like myself who is a novice at visualization?
First, you don’t always have to know how something is going to happen, you just have to believe it will. Second, you have to be willing to work at what you visualize; things rarely land in your lap without effort. What’s that old saying? The roughest waters make the best captains.
Three, you have to be able to recognize elements of your vision when they come, eyes wide open, because direction might come in a totally different shape, form and color than you might expect. For example, I had been using visualization for one of my career goals – finding an agent or manager to represent me and my screenplays. As such, I had used all my professional resources and connections to find someone, all at no avail. But guess what? At the end of last year, my babysitter made the referral to the manager I ended up finding. What were the chances of that?
And that brings me to my last point. Be willing to receive what you envision, because it will happen! By putting certainty and belief into something, pretty incredible stuff can come your way. No great surprise, I met my wife one week after I visualized finding her. It took me a while to realize what or who I’d found, but I know visualization played an important role in finding the right mate for me.
I realize there are lots of naysayers out there, but that’s too bad! Because it works.
Any last words of advice in how to manifest what you visualize?
I do believe that saying what you want – out loud – helps you feel it. But everyone is different. Some people are singers, some writers, and others are artists. You may wish to write down what you visualize, draw it, sing about it or take a picture of it. For example, if you want a new house, draw a picture of what you want it to look like! If you play to your strengths, you can better get your mind focused on what you want.