When I heard that my art group was making plans to hold a yearly awards ceremony for members, I was excited. I started to daydream, picturing the event—the room, the tables, the music, lighting, the applause.
I saw myself clapping for the winners, all of the glamour and glitz and everyone dressed in their finery, including me in a brand new frock specially bought for the occasion.
Shortly after, I was shocked and thrilled to receive a certificate in the post: I had been awarded Runner up Artist of the Year. Included were an invitation, the ceremony details, and a request that I was to keep it quiet until the actual event.
I was determined to be at the ceremony, although it was a daunting 3 hour drive away. I had an old car, little experience of motorways and the usual self doubt. What if no-one liked me? I’d been communicating with some in the art group, yet had never met any in person.
But the daydreaming and visualization had been so effective that I wanted to be there, no matter what.
As it turned out, the day wasn’t quite as I’d imagined it. I got lost on the way, and only a phone call at the last minute revealed I was just around the corner.
I was then so nervous that I could barely speak to anyone, and being presented with the certificate and posing for photographs made me feel so self conscious I thought I would pass out.
Also, my daydream hadn’t included the extra hour it took me to get home. I got even more lost on my way back, since it was dark by that time. But it was all worth it—the good feelings and the glow inside, were beyond explanation. If I ever feel negative about my art, or my abilities, I can think of that day, tap back into those feelings, and can carry on.
Perhaps you’ve experienced something similar. . .
When deciding to write this article, I had no idea if it was just coincidence that my daydream—the thing I’d visualized so clearly in my mind—had ended up happening.
Intrigued, I turned to the internet.
Wikipedia describes creative visualization as “the practice of seeking to affect the outer world via changing one’s thoughts,” and, “the basic technique underlying positive thinking.”
Wallace Wattles (who was an early proponent of positive thinking) advocated creative visualization as “the main technique for realising one’s goals.”
A daydream, on the other hand, according to Wikipedia, is “A visionary fantasy, especially one of happy, pleasant thoughts, hopes or ambitions, imagined as coming to pass, and experienced while awake.”
Wikipedia does go on to say that “while daydreaming has long been derided as a lazy, non-productive pastime, it is now commonly acknowledged that daydreaming can be constructive in some contexts. There are numerous examples of people in creative or artistic careers, such as composers, novelists and filmmakers, developing new ideas through daydreaming.”
Interestingly, getting the award had not been part of my visualization. That particular event was out of my control (the award came about through a combination of other people’s knowledge and opinion).
The power of a visualization, however, can still be strong enough to spur us on, even when we don’t control the outcome; to keep us motivated, and push us to try and achieve our goals.
The differences between daydreaming and visualizing make for some interesting reading, although it’s too much to discuss in one article.
Still, with what I’ve learned, I’ve decided to make enquiries for my very first solo exhibition—something I’ve always “dreamed” of doing but have lacked the confidence to do anything about (though any excuse to buy a new frock is a good excuse).
But perhaps, if I just take a little time out to picture myself there. . . it can’t hurt to try!
So what’s your creative dream?
Is it a piece of work you’ve always wanted to create? Why not picture yourself working on it? Imagine what it looks like when it’s completed. Who will you show it to? How does it make you feel?
As Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. . . Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”
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