Visualization

Driving Lessons

My progress was slow after a couple of driving lessons. My driving instructor was simply unimpressed. I was still slow at shifting the gear correctly and often got confused on which way to move the gear stick. I was not happy about that. I still had more driving lessons to take though. For the sake of not embarrassing myself once again in front of the driving instructor, I decided to work on my gear shifting skills before the time for the following driving lesson came.

Visualizing

The interesting thing was that I had decided to practice gear shifting through visualization and not by actually getting into the car, holding the gear stick and moving it while holding down the clutch with my left foot. I had not heard before about visualization being used in practicing driving. Maybe it was, but I simply had never heard about it. I told myself to just give it a try and see the results. I did not expect much but thought to just give it a try.

Stunning Progress

Time for my following driving lesson came. I was stunned by my performance. I was able to make gear shifts rapidly and correctly without any hesitation or mistakes! I managed to surprise myself and my driving instructor who was impressed after having almost lost hope due to my poor performance and slow progress during the preceding driving lessons.

Visualization Technique

The way I had been practicing driving just before that lesson was by closing my eyes, imagining that my right hand was holding the gear stick and giving myself instructions on which gear to shift to by simply giving myself a number. So for instance I said to myself “first” and started to visualize myself moving my right hand while holding the gear stick to the place for the first gear. Then I said to myself “second” and visualized myself shifting the gear stick to the position of the second gear. Then I said “first” then “second” then “third” then “second” and so on each time visualizing myself making a gear shift. I did all that while closing my eyes in the comfort and safety of my own home. The results of such practice far exceeded my expectations as I have mentioned above.

Training of Trainers

Visualization can also be used by a trainer to prepare for a training session before actually delivering it. This technique can be used by experienced as well as novice trainers alike. It can be used more thoroughly by novice trainers though to help them overcome their fear of facing a live audience. The beauty of such technique is that it allows you to practice in a protected safe environment. Any mistakes you will make will not have negative consequences. This very concept of zero negative consequences gives you the courage and confidence to go in full force and perform superbly well during visualization. When the time comes for the real thing you feel as if you have done it before while in fact you had only been visualizing doing it.

Doing Vs. Visualizing

It makes almost no difference to the brain whether you are actually doing something or visualizing doing it. For the brain, the two have the same effect. Let’s say someone remembers a sad incident. This memory might cause him to cry. Or someone thinks about the negative possibilities of something bad happening, this can cause his whole physical body to be disturbed. A person who is afraid from heights might experience strong negative signs in his physical body just by visualizing himself getting close to the edge of a high building and falling. the physical body reacts to all such visualizations in a similar fashion to its reaction to them had they been actually happening in real life.

Your Turn

Visualization is a very powerful technique that can be used to practice just about almost anything within a comfortable, protected and safe environment. So next time you are working on improving a skill why not try having part of your practice in the form of visualization? You might just surprise yourself with the results in the same way I have during the time I was taking driving lessons.

Have you ever tried to practice something through visualization? If so, tell use about it.

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Learning from Fresh Learners

New Learners Vs. Experienced People

Sometimes it is better to learn something from someone who is himself a new learner of that thing rather than to learn it from someone who is highly experienced in it. The reasoning behind this is that the highly experienced person might have reached the level of carrying out the skill without consciously thinking about how he actually carries it out. A new learner of the skill however would still be performing it while being totally conscious of how he is doing it.

Driving Question

I remember during the time when I was first learning how to drive I was once sitting with my uncle and my cousin. My uncle had been driving for years and was a highly experienced driver. My cousin, on the other hand, was a novice driver who had just learnt driving recently. I had some question about a common maneuver in driving which I can’t recall right now. Instead of asking my experienced uncle about it I asked my cousin how it was done. My uncle was surprised that I was not directing my question about driving to him and was instead asking my cousin who was still a novice driver and had just learnt driving recently.

I believe my uncle even got a bit offended by that. He was unaware that the reason behind my skipping him and asking my less experienced cousin was due to the fact that my cousin is a fresh learner of driving and would thus be able to remember and be fully aware of how such a common maneuver is done step by step. A new learner of a skill might also be carrying it out in an easier way than an experienced person. Learning the easy way from a new learner could also be better than starting by attempting to carry out such skill by following a more complex or difficult method that would require a higher skill level.

Language Learning

Another example I remember was an Indonesian guy who came to Egypt and was trying to learn Arabic words. Instead of learning from adults he set about learning from children. Children were better able to explain to him the meaning of words in a simple and straightforward manner.

Learning from Peers

When learning a new skill it is totally OK to attempt to learn some of its basics from someone who has just been learning it so that he could be fully aware of how things are done in an easy way and could be able to explain them in a clear manner. This gives us a clue into why learning from peers can give great results.

Has there been anything you have attempted to learn from fresh learners of that thing? What was it? How did you go about learning it?