Motivational speakers often tell their followers to visualize the accomplishment of desired outcomes; to mentally go into the future and feel the joy of that not-yet-happened moment.
Visualization is the mental rehearsal of possible future events.
When the word rehearse was invented more than 700 years ago, it meant to hear again; to re-hear.
I am an ad writer. My job is to get people to repeatedly imagine doing what my clients want them to do. I want prospective customers to live those events in their minds.
I could just as easily have been a songwriter.
Each time you imagine an action that is followed by a sequence of events, you move precipitously closer to taking that action and bringing those events to pass.
Athletes in every sport are taught this by their coaches.
This is why I don’t listen to country music. I don’t want to visualize those events and imagine those feelings.
Visualization – mental rehearsal – is a powerful thing.
Visualization effects one-and-a-half percent of us a little more strongly than it does most people. We are the ones who are warned by psychologists not to get involved in role-playing games because we can get lost in the characters we play and lose touch with reality.
This is why, for me, listening to a country song about heart-breaking loss and gut-wrenching grief is exactly like watching a horror movie. But I believe I understand the appeal of country music to people who are not afflicted with my condition. Shauna Niequist writes, “My friend Eve told me once that the ability to cry is a sign of health, because it means your body and your soul agree on something.”
If I am right, people love country music because it helps them remember the things that are important in their lives.
As Solomon said in the 23rd division of the book of Proverbs, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”
His words apply equally to both of us, I think.
To me, Solomon is saying, “Do not be in your mind the man you do not want to be.”
But to the country music fan, Solomon is saying, “Feel deep and meaningful feelings in your mind if you want to be a deep and meaningful person.”
I could be wrong. I have certainly been wrong before. But I do not think I am wrong this time.
Roy H. Williams