“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life‘s coming attractions.” Albert Einstein
When Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge,” maybe he was talking about the power of visualising. The brain is neuroplastic, which means it can create new neural pathways. When we repeat a skill that we are trying to master, we strengthen the neural networks that represent that action. The same happens physically in the brain whether we perform the action, or simply visualize it. Your brain cannot tell the difference between an action you performed and an action you visualized.
In a Harvard study, two groups wanted to master a new piano piece of music, one group imagined practicing while the other group actually practiced on a piano. The group imagining showed motor cortex expansion, even though they hadn’t been near a piano.
So if we visualise what we want to become good at, a job interview, a presentation, a sports activity, we can improve our performance very simply be imagining a successful performance.
A study conducted by Dr. Biasiotto at the University of Chicago was done where he split people into three groups and tested each group on how many free throws they could make. After this, he had the first group practice free throws every day for an hour. The second group just visualized themselves making free throws. The third group did nothing. After 30 days, he tested them again. The first group improved by 24%. The second group improved by 23% without touching a basketball! The third group did not improve which was expected.
So next time you want to perform better make time to visualise and go through the motions. It will improve your performance every time. Happy imagining and enjoy all that practice!