Bear with me here. I have no idea where this article is going. But a couple of weeks ago we were chatting about visualization on the forum and I was reminded of events that happened the day before. It was a Tuesday, and I was driving my niece, a psychologist who works with troubled kids, over to Dallas to catch a flight up to the Midwest. Along the way we got to talking about kids and behavior and how kids will often “act out” when someone is watching them but function on a relatively even keel when on their own. Further complicating the issue is that some authority figures pick up on these kids’ vibes and reflect them back on them with escalating intensity. Hey, I think I may have been in on an episode or two of that myself through the years. But trust me, this article isn’t about becoming a better parent.
After I dropped the niece at the airport I got a call from my older daughter, Sarah. Upon learning I was in Dallas, she asked if I’d like to get together for an early dinner. Red Hot and Blue barbecue followed, along with a discussion of cats (she has two), and the Uncertainty Principle, sometimes known as the Heisenberg Principle. Here’s a thumbnail version you that might apply to this discussion.
If you cannot see the results of a roll of dice then the result could be anything. It could also, at least according to Heisenberg, be all possible numbers. In other words, the result of the roll is 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 all at the same time. It’s not until you actually verify the result by observing it that it becomes reality. Ah. See how that starts to tie in with my earlier conversation with my niece? No? Okay, just work with me on this and we’ll take it a little farther.
From the Heisenberg Principle we drifted into the Copenhagen interpretation of Quantum Physics and (last but not least) the Observer Effect. The observer effect simply states that we change the results simply by watching. Aha! Slap a dollop of bacteria in a Petri dish and they’ll just happily squiggle about doing their own thing. Put a light on them and view them through a microscope and they’ll don top hats and tap shoes and dance for you. Yeah, that’s a little extreme but you get the idea. But hearken back to those kids playing in the back yard who don’t misbehave unless a parent is watching. Same general concept. Then again, maybe it’s the Heisenberg Principle. They aren’t really misbehaving until we SEE them misbehaving. Hmmm. Which comes first? Or maybe I should ask where what happens. Say what? Well, you’ll see what I’m talking about in a minute.
By the way, don’t ask me how we get off on these tangents. It’s just one of those things that happens when you have relatively smart kids who have always practiced free association as a way of stimulating conversation. And, feel free to Google all of the above if I’ve totally confused you because it all sort of ties together with what my niece and I were discussing on the way to the airport as well as the things that followed throughout the day.
Heading back across Dallas I stopped to visit my old friend Patricia Anthony. Pat is a science fiction novelist who won widespread critical acclaim back in the nineties. You can still find her books through Amazon. Anyway, her laptop was on the blink and I’d told her I would stop by and take a look at it. After the obligatory tea and catching up we somehow lapsed into a conversation about Zen, meditation, reincarnation, celestial visitations, and (what else) the Sting Theory in physics. String Theory, by the way, combines elements of quantum mechanics with general relativity, particularly as regards gravitational forces and . . . well, hell. There are only two things we’re concerned about here. First off – parallel realities where other things went beyond “could have happened” and actually happened.
Go back to that dice toss I mentioned before. If all results did indeed happen before you observed the one that occurred in YOUR reality then the other results happened in other realities. There goes your parallel universe! In one string you tossed and eight. In another you threw a ten. In still another you sevened out. And that one little change affected your entire future in that particular string.
The other part of String Theory I wanted to touch on was simply this. Everything vibrates. By that I mean every bit of matter that contains molecular material resonates at its own frequency. What does this mean to you if you’re not a battery powered sex toy? Good question, because we’re heading right back to the back yard and those misbehaving kids.
When I got home Tuesday evening I had an e-mail from a friend out in California discussing the fact that everything resonates (vibrates) at its own frequency but when you observe something for a period of time (17 seconds for some reason or another) that YOU start to resonate in harmony with the object you are observing – and vice versa. Sound sort of like that Observation Effect again? You pick up bad vibes from the kids and the situation escalates as you emit your own bad vibes? Sounds to me like you essentially establish a sort of symbiotic relationship – for better or worse.
Now let’s get back to tossing the dice. Set a pair of dice on the table with the hard six facing up. Stare directly down on those dice until you have every facet committed to memory. Then close your eyes and imagine those same dice with one small change. There are two additional pips on the left die. They are now set on 5-3. You see it clearly. It IS an eight. And now your mind has taken a step beyond the physical and seized other possibilities – other realities. Your mind starts to “see” things that aren’t really there – or are they? To quote our philandering former Chief Executive, it depends on what your definition of is – is.
Sports psychologists have long known that by actively choosing to “replay” a vision of a positive outcome, you set the stage for a more successful result. And the more actively you use visual images during this process –- the more powerful your final results will be.
Cut to Caddyshack. “See the ball. Be the ball.”
According to most golf coaches, the average duffer thinks too much. He thinks about how high to tee up the ball. He thinks about foot placement. He thinks about keeping his head down and his eye on the ball. Worse, he thinks about topping the ball, slicing it, shanking it, or whiffing it entirely. How do you quiet all of that negative self-talk? By replacing it with something positive.
Active visualization of positive results doesn’t just apply to golf – or athletics in general. It can be applied to any aspect of your personal or business life – including our favorite pastime, casino craps.
Watch the dice as the stickman brings them to the center of the table. Focus on them, studying every facet. Visualize the move you will have to make to get them properly set. Close your eyes and imagine the dice tumbling down the table in perfect sync, rolling the number you are looking for. See the dice – be the dice. It really does work.
Of course, learning to use active mental programming in your life is a very personal thing. No one method works best for everyone. If you have never before been successful visualizing, you might want to start with a step-by-step procedure that will lead you into the process. A simple approach that many have used is the creation of an actual montage of pictures that represent what you want to achieve. Commit them to memory so that when you close your eyes you can still see the pictures. “See the eight – throw the eight.” Then make like Nike and Just Do It!