Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Have you ever used or contemplated using a vision board before? It’s an oft-recommended but woefully misunderstood practice. A practice that, if misused, can impede your progress toward your goals!
In this article, I will explain why that is and offer you three alternatives to vision boards that will help get you out of that creative rut.
Vision boards are synonymous with that fabled of all laws: the law of attraction. The common (mis)conception is that you can put up a board that contains images of all the things you want, look at it every day and thereby cast a magic spell that will make them manifest for you… without any work.
Spoiler: that isn’t it.
We’ve all seen interviews with celebrities and billionaires talking about how they wrote themselves checks for $10M and carried it around in their wallets, and then one day, it came true. Jim Carrey said that on Oprah, for example.
The problem with these anecdotes is — true though they are and proof that vision boards and other esoteric practices can work — they don’t give the whole picture.
Vision boards are a tool. They’re not a magic bullet!
It’s the same with practices like meditation. Unless they are used to influence behavior and actions, they will act against you. Why? Because you’ll waste time, not taking any action toward your goals under the misapprehension that you don’t need to.
Moreover – you’ll be handing yourself the perfect excuse when things don’t work out: “The Law of Attraction is BS. It only works for the chosen people, not me. I’m just doomed to failure.”
We’re so bad at this right now, especially at times of the year like Christmas and New Year. We think this year will be different because we’re trying whatever new practice or modality popped up in our social media feed that week.
And then, when they don’t solve all of our problems in one go, we throw our hands up and blame it on the Illuminati (or whomever).
You are not going to master anything in one try
Moreover, you’re not going to build your dream life with one collage of images hanging on your bedroom wall! A vision board (when used correctly) triggers an emotional response to those things you wish to experience, which then influences your decisions, habits and behaviors.
This will orient you towards those things like putting a magnet beside a compass. What it won’t do is conjure them out of thin air. Not exactly.
This is the problem: nothing is ever 100%. You might able to disprove everything in this article with a few examples. But there is nothing to say that those weren’t the culmination of luck, preparedness AND the law of attraction.
There is also a world of difference between making a vision board and then expecting results without lifting a finger and using vision boards as part of a strategy to get you to the point where you don’t have to lift a finger.
How does that work?
You can create a situation where you don’t work, and money flows to you. You could grow and sell a business, invest prudently etc… If you used a vision board as a means to guide your decision-making to the point that you achieve this, then it worked!
But it is all about intention. A vision board should be used to evoke the emotions associated with that specific outcome manifesting in your life so that you create an energetic link with it. This then acts as a kind of ‘guidance system’ or magnetic force, pulling you inexorably toward your target.
That being the case, I have three alternatives to vision boards that I think do the job better.
1. Mind movies
If a picture is worth a thousand words, think what a movie must be worth! Indeed, much has been made of the dangers of social media algorithms because of how they can negatively impact our minds.
Mind Movies offer you the chance to curate your own version of a social media feed effectively, enabling you to drip-feed your subconscious with positive affirmations around living the lifestyle you consciously desire.
These work better than a vision board because a film offers moving visuals and sound. They can also speak to you more specifically than an image, requiring less imagination and less dependence on your mood.
2. Keep a “50 list”
This is simple and extremely convenient (assuming you own a smartphone). You make a list of 50 or more things you’d like to experience in your life. Then find images or videos representing that and save them to an album on your phone.
You can then refer to these at set times in the day, wherever you are. I recommend just before you go to sleep and after you wake up. This is because your brain is still in its theta wave state and far more open to suggestions without bias from limiting beliefs.
3. Direct visualization
This is even more simple!
We’re talking about getting yourself into a relaxed state, somewhere without external distractions, and mentally rehearsing your ideal life. As you do this, imagine going through an ordinary day.
- What’s the first thing you do in the morning?
- What car do you drive to work (if you go to work)?
- Where do you go for lunch?
- What school do your kids go to?
As you do this, notice the physical sensations that your emotional state evokes. This is you calling the energy of your dream life into your present moment, and it’ll go a long way to setting your subconscious up to accept signs of it becoming a reality.
What we’re getting at with this article is that you need a holistic approach to achieving goals in your life. No one practice or strategy is going to get you there by itself. In all likelihood, it will take a combination tailored to your specific needs and inclinations.
So start working on understanding yourself and what you need as an individual.