One Simple Action to Improve at Anything
What would you say if I told you there was one action you could take that would not only help you with your basketball skills but also your productivity? What if I told you this simple exercise can improve all areas of your life and it only has to take as little as 2 minutes of your time? You’d probably think I’m crazy. Or…you would think I was lucky enough to find a very successful technique and then be kind enough to share it with my readers. The latter is correct. I’m going to explain exactly what I’m talking about.
Success Examples of the ‘Action’ In Place Before I tell you what action this is, I thought it would be best to share a few examples of success using this technique that has improved certain aspects of peoples lives. The reason for this is not only to inspire you to what is possible, but also to rid any ‘skeptics’ who will simply dismiss the idea and claim it doesn’t work before even trying. An article written in the mid-20th Century by Research Quarterly put together a study on the actions effects in relation to basketball free throws. 3 Groups took part in throwing basketballs for 20 days, measured on their results in the first and last day. The first group actually practiced shooting hoops every morning, the second group didn’t do anything for the 20 days and the third group performed the ‘action’. The first group improved 24%, the second group showed no improvement and the third group improved by 23%. A good friend of mine who I’ve just spent most of New Year with used the ‘action’ in order to improve a sticking-point area of his life. He had noticed that he wasn’t much of a social person and lacked any form of decent body language. Within a week, his use of the action had transformed him into a much more outgoing and confident looking person.
The Action “Okay, enough teasing already”. To be honest, I would rather have simply dived right into this article and showed the examples later. However, I wanted people to see I’m talking about something that is effective and just because you may (or hopefully, may not) have heard of this it doesn’t meant it won’t work. The action / technique / exercise I’m talking about is this… First, make clear in your mind exactly what it is you want to achieve. This technique can work for anything from improving your sports skills, increasing your confidence and even improving your productivity. Whatever it is you would like to improve at then imagine that thing vividly in your mind. Now, leave your body. Zoom out of your own body as if you are flying through the air, constantly going backwards, your body stays where it is but your sight is coming from a different place. Keep flying backwards and imagine you have just flown to the back row of a cinema and you are watching yourself on the screen. Your body stayed where it was. Now, visualize your body where it was but now picture it on the cinema screen and you are on the back seat watching. Do you have that picture in your mind? If so, excellent, you’re ready for the next step. If not, imagine floating out of your current body, close your eyes and relax. Keep floating backwards as if your soul is leaving your body through your back. Your soul also becomes the place you are seeing from, so if you are sitting on a sofa right now, keep floating backwards until you can see yourself lying on the sofa from behind, as if you are watching somebody else. Now you should have that vision in your mind of seeing yourself from a distance. See yourself on a movie screen as if you are acting something out. What you should see is that you are in control of this character, if you can visualize it then this ‘character’, this ‘you’ can do whatever you want it to. Once you’ve got this, re-imagine whatever it was you would like to improve at from earlier. Spend however long it takes to run your on-screen character (you) through the motions of whatever it is you want to do, in as much detail as possible. Take your time with this. If you want to improve shooting free throws then visualize yourself throwing balls in the hoop successfully. If you miss then visualize yourself correcting your aim and then doing it successfully. If you want to improve productivity then watch yourself sitting down, being organised and writing a blog post or whatever it is you want to become better at. You can use this for literally anything. Whatever you can conjure up, you can see yourself do, and you can become that person. This technique is exactly how group 3 improved their free throws by 23%. My friend who drastically improved his confidence and body language did so because he envisioned how a confident person would look in certain situations and he seen himself acting them out in exactly that manner. Thoughts become reality.
Why this Works I’m not usually one to go so deep on a subject that I start talking about levels of the brain and psychology, this time however I think it’s very necessary (and interesting) to see why this works: Experimental and clinical psychologists have proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the human nervous system cannot tell the difference between an “actual” experience and an experience imagined vividly and in detail. – Psycho Cybernetics So, the exact reason that group 3 improved in throwing basketballs is because their ‘experience’ through imagination is no different to actual free throwing. Of course, it is to us, but our nervous systems can’t differentiate between the two and the action is very valuable on both levels. The key here is to be able to vibrantly picture something in your mind so that it is as realistic as possible, then you can improve in that area. Your body constantly remembers things that you do successfully and stores them. It also tries to rid you of ‘failed’ actions so that you don’t repeat them. This is why you aren’t very likely to forget to put your clutch in when changing gear on your car and why you don’t struggle to walk like you did when you were a baby. Whenever you picture yourself doing whatever it is you want to improve at successfully, your brain stores that and it starts to become a natural habit. Tell me, what are you going to visualize first?