Twenty years ago I was an under-achieving, excuse-making chump of a man. I would do the bare minimum to get by and then blame my inadequacies on someone…anyone else. It was either my boss who was asking too much, or my professors who were being unreasonable or my friends who were acting selfishly. My failures were always caused by someone else…or so I thought.
Then one day, as I was sitting in a sauna sweating by myself in the University of Missouri’s rec center, I did something I had never done before. I did a life projection. I thought to myself, “If I continue living my life the same exact manner I am living right now, how will my life turn out in 5 years?”
What I saw made me very sad. I pictured myself as a slightly overweight, heavy drinking, under-achieving, excuse-making chump of a man.
Still sitting in the sauna I decided to imagine instead how I wanted my life to be in 5 years. What I saw made me smile. I imagined myself as a successful business professional, happily married, healthy and sober. I saw a man of integrity and character who was proud of how his life was turning out.
I liked this vision so much that I began calling it my Vision of Self-Image. I made a point to take 30 seconds per day and watch my Vision of Self image mental video. Eventually I began adding on another 30 seconds to the video that I called “daily integrity”. In the “daily integrity” mental video I would mentally rehearse what I needed to do in the upcoming 24 hours to make sure I was moving myself in the direction of my 5 year Vision of Self-Image. I would literally see myself making good decisions and doing what I needed to do throughout the upcoming day, anything from waking up at the right time, to completing my studies, to controlling my drinking and prioritizing exercise.
Every day I would spend a total of 60 seconds imagining how I wanted my life to be and then what I could do in the next 24 hours to help make my vision become a reality. Slowly but surely I started doing better and better. I liked the changes I was making in my life. So much so that 20 years later I still complete my Vision of Self-Image and “daily integrity” mental videos.
All in all, it takes me 60 seconds per day to complete, which honestly feels like a lot of work some days. However, I realize that without knowing where I want my life to go and then mentally rehearsing each day what it takes to get there, I am likely to end up as a person I don’t want to be.
For whatever reason, I am built in a way that if I don’t put energy into achieving greatness, I turn out to be a chump. If you’re anything like me, you might want to consider putting 60 seconds per day into achieving your own level of greatness. Remember the days you don’t feel like completing your Vision of Self Image and “daily integrity” mental rehearsal are the days you most need to do so…trust me on this, it will be worth the time.