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  Visiontowealth Newsletter: The power of visualization

Jack Canfield Co-author of Chicken Soup Series 
Other books by J. Canfield & M.V.Hansen

I got started on my present path about 30 years ago when I was working as a teacher with inner city school kids. W.Clements Stone at that time was a very successful millionaire and editor of Success magazine. So I worked with him for a period of six months hoping to learn some way to motivate these kids.

I also read a lot, including over 30 autobiographies about success. One of the things I learned to do over the years was to go with my gut. For example everywhere I would go I would tell these wonderful stories and people would always be asking me if they were in a book somewhere. Finally it dawned on me that I could put these stories into a book. In fact,in my notebook I had collected 68 stories. I still have this notebook at home.

 One day I was having breakfast with Mark Victor Hansen and he asked me what I was working on and mentioned that I was going to publish these stories but I didn't have a name for the book. He insisted that he work with me and finally I gave in only on the condition that he add another 30 stories, which he did.

Getting from this stage to an overnight success really tested both of us. But "You really need to trust your heart and success will follow".

I teach people how to get through the rough spots. If you feel you are doing God's work or are destined to achieve a mission or a purpose it forces you to 1) deepen your faith and 2) to develop your skills & attitudes. It is something like school you learn and when you are ready you are tested.

One of the things I do is teach people to juggle and when they drop the ball I ask them to say "Oh what fun" and in essence to change their attitude towards failure and learn the attitude for success. Did you know that a chick in the egg has to strike his head over 900 times over the course of 4-6 hours before he can break free. It is analogous to something you have to do for yourself in order to achieve success. No can do this for you.

 You might find it difficult when faced with the challenge of the dichotomy of where you are and where you want to be, but I welcome it. The greater the tension between what is and what isn't, the stronger is the pull towards where I want to be. My number 1 rule is "take 100% responsibility for your own life", and what I have in my life is the result. In my talks I teach the formula E(vents)+ R(esponse) = O(utlook). Events happen, we have little control over them but our attitude and how we respond greatly affects the results. Most people view, what I call the "GAP" between their ideals and current reality and are discouraged. But if you look back you will notice you are better you are or have learned significantly more than say six months or a year ago. I encourage people to track their achievements, even their little successes and to keep a success journal. It builds self esteem. Its as if with each win you work towards building a bunch of poker chips. These successes don't half to be big, it may be just remembering to take the garbage out. The more chips I build, the more I can risk.

 Create that tension be willing to dream big goals. Break those big goals into little ones and reward yourself by acknowledging yourself every little step along the way. What you are building up is something notable and lovable.
One of the things W. Clements Stone suggested was to each week trade one hour of watching television for a reading a book on such topics as management and psychology. Soon, you will be reading 520 books per year and be at the top of your chosen area of endeavor within a matter of years.

If you were to ask me what drives me, even now, I would say it is my sense of purpose, "Empowering and Inspiring people to live in Love and Joy". A lot of people are driven to prove to others they are successful but they are not happy and won't enjoy their success.

If I was to offer you some ideas on how to find your sense of purpose I would suggest using a common used image of imagining yourself going up a mountain to a very old and gifted wise man. When you get there he hands you a gift and when you open the gift your quest is answered.

You can write down, "the qualities I like to express myself are" and list them. You can answer the question - "if the world was working properly what would it be like?".

Everyone should make an analysis of what their strengths are and set goals in relationship to their strengths. Do the things that are your unique ability and delegate everything else and thereby allow them to unveil their unique ability.

When asked what I personally find effective in communicating in my larger talks, I have to say that it is the power of visualization and how effective it is for accelerated learning. Perhaps it is because of my own experience.

When I was working for W.Clements Stone he asked me to set an outrageous goal something that would prove to him that it was due to his influence on me. At the time I was making $8,000 a year, it was a long time ago, and I thought I would never make $100,000, so I said $100,000. After that every morning and lunch hour I would take time out to visualize the car and house I would have.

Six weeks later I had a $100,000 idea in the shower. The book I had written a year earlier "101 ways to build self esteem in the classroom", I imagined it making the best sellers list. Six weeks later a publisher heard me speak and wrote an article on me in the National Inquirer. On the basis of their vast readership I got some exposure for my book.

Eventually I realized that the book stores were making $3.50 on each book while I was making only 25 cents. I became a book store, sold my books at conferences, and raised my consulting fee from $300 to $800 a day. BY the end of the year I made $96,000 not $100,000, but I wasn't disappointed.

When my wife asked me if visualization can work for $1,000,000.00. I achieved it, my first royalty check was for $1,000,000.00

Visualizing is something you do naturally. It is similar to going over to your neighbors newly remodelled house and then going back to your own. It sets up a tension within you. The more you can inspire this difference the greater your drive becomes. This is one of the reasons you want to be inspired by positive people.

W. Clemens Stone told me was to look at all the people around me and put a "N" against all those who were nurturing and a "T" for all those who were toxic. Then he said to avoid all those people who had a "T" beside them. This proved to be difficult as one these people turned out to be my own mother.

You may wonder how does one turn his self image from one earning $8,000 a year to one earning $100,000 a year. Well one can use a visualization technique of seeing yourself as in a movie either as an observer disembodied, looking at yourself from the outside or embodied seeing yourself from the inside, seeing what you see. I find the latter much more effective.

I teach people to imagine their ideal life, car and house as a moving picture and describe everything in great detail. I have even gone into a Lexus dealership to help me visualize the minutest detail of a Lexus 401.

It is critical to close your eyes and see it in your imagination. Add to this how you will feel when you reach your goal. Apparently this activates a part of the brain called the "ventricular activator" (sic). It allows us to see what we need to make our vision happen. You will never find a four leaf clover unless you are prepared to see it. Luck just doesn't happen by itself.

With Mark & I, when we decided to put our efforts together in making a book of stories, we still needed to come up with a title. With Mark he repeated over and over to himself, Make a best selling title, make a best selling title. I on the other hand asked God to just give me a title.

We started this on Monday and on Wednesday I saw Chicken Soup but I could only associate chicken soup with being sick. That is until I told my wife and she said but peoples spirits are sick. Then I came up with the name "Chicken Soup for the Soul". Both of us got goose bumps at the same time - that was it!

To reinforce your visualization make cards with all your goals realized. This will take a little time but if you asked people to invest two days a year into themselves most people will say yes. This will help you focus and carry on when times are tough.

With our literary agent we proposed to 20 New York publishers and then we went to 20 more. After this our agent quit and gave us back the rights to our book. Most people would of quit after that. We went on to a book publishers event where publishers had tables set up. Out of 4000 publishers only one called us back.

I learned how to handle rejection from Larry Wilson. He used to sell encyclopedias. Every time he made a sale he made $250. What he realized that it took him on average 10 calls before he made a sale, so in essence each call made him $25 dollars. After that he got in the habit of thanking each of his potential customers for $25 and his percentage of sales went up.

To make the book work, Mark and I practised the Law of 5. We did 5 things every day that would move the book forward. In the end it took us one year of dedication before the book took off.

Together Mark and I have now written 35 books, 29 of them are best sellers, among them is the Aladdin Principle and the Power of Focus. Each year we work on 8 chicken soup books, i.e. Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul, Chicken Soup for the Veterans Soul. And each day I have to pinch myself for feeling so lucky. I do 3-4 talks a month and spend the rest of the time with my family.

I do a 8 day training center each summer in Palm Springs teaching 100 specific activities. Last year we had people from 19 different counties as I do talks all over the world.

All books by J. Canfield & M.V.Hansen


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