Our society tends to avoid most things with the term negative in it, but that is doing a disservice to yourself. The fact of the matter is, using negative visualization is a powerful tool that not only helps you keep things in proper perspective, but will push you to new heights.
What Is Negative Visualization?
First off, negative visualization is not demeaning yourself or calling yourself worthless and useless. This accomplishes nothing but ingraining those traits in your psyche and adding another hurdle you will need to overcome in your future endeavors.
Rather, negative visualization’s roots stem way back as a meditative practice used by warriors. The first time I heard of employing negative visualization was in the book, Soul of the Samurai.
Basically, the Samurai code instructed its practitioners to keep death on their mind at all time; that at any moment, their life could be taken from them. To understand why this practice is so important, you must dig into its implications.
If you knew that at the stroke of midnight tonight, you would drop dead, what would you do?
Would you spend more time with your family?
Would you make sure your family would be taken care of after you’re gone?
What tasks or projects would you be leaving behind for others to finish?
The Samurai, by keeping death on their mind at all times, would go about each day with intent and purpose. They were warriors. They knew that they could be killed at any moment, so adjusted their lives accordingly.
Taking It A Step Further
Now this is where things take an even darker turn, if you can imagine it. To perform this drill, you will need a quiet space, free of distractions.
Now you are going to imagine those you care about the most are suddenly taken from you.
All gone. Visualize to the best of your abilities what happened to them, but don’t stop there. Visualize coming home every day to an empty home, devoid of your kids laughter and your wife’s smile. It’s just you…
Embrace all the sorrow and despair that comes with the visualization.
After a few minutes, begin coming back to the real world. Your wife and kids are alive and well! In fact, they’re in the living room watching TV or playing a game.
Go to them. Do with them what you regretted not doing when they were gone in your visualization. Tell them what you wish you told them before they were gone.
The first negative visualization was all about keeping your affairs in order. You may die at any time. Keep your finances and family in order so that when you’re gone, your legacy doesn’t crumble to dust.
The second negative visualization is about enjoying your life and not letting the unimportant stuff get between you and what truly matters, your family.
Spend time reflecting on death and loss and learn to truly appreciate what you really have.