This section is from the book "Applications of Psychology to the Problems of Personal and Business Efficiency", by Warren Hilton. Also available from Amazon: Psychology and Achievement - Applied Psychology 12 Volume Set.
Picture to yourself the iking you want to have or to do, the man you want to be.
When you are about to face a particularly difficult situation, sit down alone in your office, close your eyes, make yourself oblivious to all sensations. Drive all other thoughts, all distractions, from your mind. Create a mental picture of yourself in just the situation you expect to occupy. Embellish it with all possible details. Make the picture as realistic as you can.
Then, see yourself facing the situation meeting the experience, in just the way that you should like to meet it. See yourself confident, adroit, tactful, bold, persuasive. See yourself being the man you want to be, getting the thing you want to have. See yourself happy, successful, triumphant.
And when you awaken from this voluntary looking into your own self-consciousness, you will find yourself in possession of just the qualities you need.
When you come to meet the realities of your mental picture, you will find these outside realities so bound up by association with your own previous mental images that all your impulses will be the impulses associated with your mental picture, and you will naturally and automatically play the part that you assumed.
Self-confidence, address, assurance, boldness, persistence, all are but mental attitudes. Hold them in consciousness as part of a mental picture of yourself in a given situation, and if ever that situation is realized in the physical world, the associative processes of your mind will automatically re-create in consciousness just the mental attitude that characterized you in that picture built of the "stuff that dreams are made of."
This method may be applied to any trait or quality, to any phase of character, to any issue in life, to any condition of mind or body in which changes are desirable.
By Visualization you create associations that will help you to realize the conditions you picture. By your thought you create a mental atmosphere that will find expression in achievement. And this mental atmosphere is nothing more nor less than the makings of character.
Set aside as times for Affirmation and [Visualization, as your periods of exaltation and inspiration, the drowsy moments that precede sleep and the half-conscious moments in the morning when you are not yet fully awake.
In the stillness of early morning or in the brooding hush of the night, away from the stress and excitement of the day, with the body in reposeful relaxation, you can mass the powers of your mind in a most vivid visualization of the things you hope to have, to be and to do. Mental images will stand forth in bold relief. You will know then that you receive the inspiration you pray for.
Doubtless at such moments you are in more intimate communion with the Universal Spirit. Doubtless your mind discerns more plainly the way to God's limitless abundance of faith. Certainly resources beyond the reach of your waking consciousness are made available.
We are not here advocating simple meditation. Meditation and reflection unquestionably have their beneficial effects. But Visualization is a vastly different thing.
Visualization deals wholly with the future. Visualization deals with concrete and practical life problems. Visualization deals with action. Visualization makes you a leading character in a drama of your own making. Visualization sets the stage and gives the characters their exits and their entrances. All you furnish is the "happy ending."
To use a different figure, Visualization draws the plans and writes the specifications for your "castle in Spain"; Association is the builder that takes these plans and works them out into a splendid structure of reality.
This practice of visualization will do more than mold your character. History abounds in instances of specific successes achieved unwittingly in the same way. Coleridge awoke with the rhythmical lines of "Kublai Khan" upon his lips. Joan of Arc led the victorious armies of France in accordance with the vision in her father's garden. Robert Louis Stevenson habitually sought in reverie the material for his romances. Wagner in states of reverie heard the motives of his masterpieces.
A distinguished inventor of today, has brought this practice of visualization to a system, sitting for that purpose in the same chair at certain hours while working out inventions.
First, fill your mind with material. Gather all that observation and reason can give you on the problems in hand. THEN, lay aside all worry and fret and anxiety, remove yourself from distracting influences, relax, become passive, give yourself wholly to concentration.
And after a little practice your trained and sensitive consciousness will unravel step by step the tangled skein of any difficulty and weave a pattern that you may reproduce successfully in objective reality.