As I do these tasks, my mind often wanders and the other day I began thinking about the process of learning itself. How does that actually work? What is the “winning mindset” that one needs to have when it comes learning something new? How do you approach learning (which can be a scary thing) with feelings of confidence in yourself as a learner?
I think many of us have convinced ourselves that learning is hard, after all, we’re not kids anymore and it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks! Obviously, learning is truly going to be all that more difficult if you enter into the task from an orientation of self-doubt, of recalling negative experiences from 40 years ago when you were in grammar school, when you operate from a lack of confidence.What should you do if you don’t have great self-confidence in yourself as a student or life-long learner? What is you are bored to death or are convinced that you’ll never understand the subject matter?
The good news is that you can harness the power of visualization to dramatically improve your ability to learn quickly and easily.
Fortunately you can learn to change your opinion of yourself and what you are learning by a technique called visualization. Essentially, this is a technique that helps you to “see” and “feel” that you are already successfully performing the new thing which you want to learn. To do this, we change the negative visual images of yourself as a learner that are already running on the screen of your mind with powerful new messages of yourself enjoying learning, recognizing it is easy and is something that you love to do.
Let’s use some NLP (neurolinguistic programming) techniques to make changes. Here’s how it works…
1. Sit or lie comfortably in a quiet place where you will not be disturbed. Notice your breathing. Start to breathe freely and deeply, in a relaxed manner.
2. Picture yourself as a learner and notice what you see in your mind. Is it a still shot or live action? Flat? Faint? 3D bold and vibrant? Black and white or color? Are you detached and watching yourself as an observer or looking out through your own eyes, watching the action around you and participating?
3. When a negative scenario plays itself out in your mind, notice how it appears. Does the scene appear in black and white, or is it in color? Is it near or far? Does it seem to be on a screen, or is it three dimensional? Are there voices? Are they threatening? Humiliating? How do you appear in the scene–are you large, or small? Do you seem powerful? Or weak?
4. At this point, you get to make adjustments and create your own inner movie. If you are seeing a negative experience in color, change it to black and white. If it is close, make it go far away. If the negative image is bold and 3D, make it two-dimensional. Change the soundtrack. If there are negative, condemning, voices you don’t want to hear, turn them into funny cartoon voices that sound silly. Add some circus music in the background. If other people in the movie seem threatening, make them into cartoon characters or imagine yourself growing much bigger than the people who have been putting you down. A great technique to use is “disassociation” if you have been reliving an unpleasant scene as if you are actually participating in it. What you do is change it so it takes place on a screen that you are viewing from a distance. That way it will have less emotional impact on you. Remove the colors and go to black and white. Replace the soundtrack. Reduce the screen size to a small box in the far corner of your field of vision.
5. Now you’re ready to swap out the old negative images with new, positive, affirming visualizations. Recall a time when you were happy, relaxed and confident. Shift those feelings onto a new image in your mind where you see yourself learning easily and really understanding the material you’re studying. I want you to go deep into the picture, seeing yourself getting grades on your tests, of how you are enjoying your homework, the enormous satisfaction, confidence, and pride you will have. See it, feel it, right now, in the present, as a part of you. What does it feel like to really have mastered your subject matter? How does it feel to be an expert? Describe how much you love what you are doing and how great it makes you feel to learn more and more about your now most favorite subject! Turn up the colors. Magnify the sounds. Bask in the wonderful, positive, affirming movie you have created.
6. Anytime you have a few minutes, recreate these positive imagined scenes. Feel free to add depth, color, and emotional intensity as you go. Do this as many times a day as you can, until you always think of yourself as a smart, capable learner.
Of course, this doesn’t absolve you from having to actually crack a book or stay awake during the lecture series. But what it does do is rewrite your inner program in a manner that makes it possible for you to approach learning from an entirely different perspective. Remember, you tend to get what you expect. Now you can expect yourself to be a great learner rather than a big dunce!
Our self-limiting beliefs are, in most cases, the real reason we are stuck where we are. As a transformational life coach, helping people break through their self-imposed limitations and do things they thought were impossible is something that I do on a daily basis. A great way to get started on moving into the life you really want to have would be for you to contact me for a 45 minute FREE life transformation strategy session.
In this session we will:
- Uncover hidden challenges that may be the cause of chaos, stress and discord in your life.
- Create a crystal clear vision for your “ultimate life” of tremendous success on your terms with ample quality time and energy for all your priorities.
- Leave the session renewed, re-energized, and inspired to transform your life and accomplish all of the things that are really important to you.
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Dr. Steve Stutz, CC is a Life Success Coach, specializing in helping clergy and professional church workers not only survive but to thrive during periods of crisis, transition, and renewal. To receive periodic personal development tips and success mindset articles, please join his e-list by visiting www.forwardpathcoaching.com