Do You Make These Mistakes In Visualization?

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House in forest

The con men that promise quick, easy, effortless solutions have left a lot of people convinced that visualization doesnโ€™t work.

And it doesn’t – their way.

It does work, and you should use it. But it’s not magic, so it’s important to understand what it does, and why.

Here’s some of the most common mistakes and how to use it right.

Mistake #1: Creation By Visualization

Many people think, because the con men told them, that they can just visualize stuff into existence.

So they visualize with enthusiasm, day after day, and nothing happens. The object of their affection – a person, place or thing – fails to magically appear.

Let me be blunt: you can’t visualize stuff into existence.

Man, if it was that easy, “we’d all be drinkin’ that free Bubble-Up and eatin’ that rainbow stew,” in the immortal words of Merle Haggard!

There will be work in the form of action steps being required.

But before you even get to the action steps, you’ve got to avoid this next mistake.

Mistake #2: Seeing the Goal as Something You Don’t Have

Lots of visualization courses teach that “you should see yourself in the movie of your mind.”

So people create a mental image of themselves like they were watching themselves in a movie.

Unfortunately that’s supporting the idea that someone else, not you, has the goal and you’re watching them.

Here’s some good advice from Dr Robert Anthony: “Only vivid imagery in the first person and in the present tense changes our reality.”

What that means is that you see through your own eyes in the vision and you see yourself as already having and currently enjoying the goal, whatever it is.

Follow Dr Anthony’s instructions. Put yourself IN the movie and participate in the movie.

Don’t be a spectator, be the star! That’s what “first person, present tense” means.

When you experience your dream that way, your mind finds that easier to believe and will go to work to make it a reality.

If your vision is to take a cruise, walk up the gangplank, see the people, hear the ship noises, smell the ocean, feel the sun and the breeze on your face.

Make it as sensory rich as you can. Then when it happens you’ll feel like you’ve been there before, many times. Because you have!

Earnest Holmes, the founder of Science of Mind, put it this way: “We cannot demonstrate life beyond our mental ability to embody…As water will reach only its own level, so our outward conditions will re-produce only our inner realizations.”

So when we know we have it – really KNOW – then we’ve created the right mental conditions to make it easy for the goal to be achieved.

We have the “inner realization” that Holmes mentions.

Mistake #3: Not Taking The Required Actions

What the inner realization does is not necessarily change the outer Universe, but it does change our inner mental Universe.

Our subconscious mind is a filter. We receive many more sensory inputs that we can deal with, so the subconscious mind decides what we see and discards the unimportant items.

You’ve probably heard the common story about deciding to buy a new car, and suddenly you see them everywhere!

It’s not because they suddenly appeared, they were always there.

But now you’ve told your subconscious that they’re important, and so you see them.

Your clear vision and certainty about your goal will tell your subconscious to be on the lookout for the things you need.

When they show up, take action. Wallace Wattles says that not linking vision with action is what keeps many people stuck.

We want to avoid that and be alert for clues about what we need to do.

In her wonderful book, “Your Invisible Power” Genevieve Behrend tells of her need to raise $20,000 to go to England to study with Thomas Troward.

She had no idea how to get the money, which in the 1920’s was a big sum.

Walking down the street in New York one day, pondering this situation, she had the realization that when she owned it in her mind, it was hers.

That thought stopped her in her tracks.

She had been playing with counting out the (imaginary) money every night, but this insight changed the way she looked at it.

That night when she counted out the 20 $1,000 bills, she did it with confidence and certainty.

She had the inner realization.

She still had no idea where it would come from, but at that point she knew it didn’t matter.

And within a few days she had an idea, and circumstances arose, and she followed those ideas like a trail of bread crumbs.

In less than 6 weeks she had the money in the bank.

She had programmed her subconscious and she took action.

Here’s a story from Richard Lynch that also illustrates the power of combining vision and action.

“It is easy enough to have vision; almost anyone can have one.

“But a vision will not stay with the person who doesn’t believe in it enough to bend every effort toward its fulfillment.

“Persistent action must back it up, otherwise it’s just a wish, not a determined conviction.

“I know a man who built himself a cottage on the shore of a lake.

“Someone liked it and wanted to buy it, so the man sold it and built another one.

“The same thing happened to the second one. He built another and another and soon quite a group had been built and sold.

“Someone suggested that a hotel was needed to complete the development.

“One day the man was seen building a huge chimney out in the middle of a large cleared space.

“When asked why he was doing something so strange, he answered that when he got the money he would build a hotel around it!

“Needless to say, the hotel was built. This is what I mean by ‘working out the vision.'”

You see that Lynch was pointing out that the hotel already existed in the man’s mind, and he was constructing the chimney as a start.

Most people would wait until they had all the money, but that’s not the best way.

Building the chimney, taking positive action, tells your mind and the Universe that you’re serious!

When you’re serious, you become unstoppable.

Do you have any visualizing stories? Leave a comment below.

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Wes Hopper is the founder of Daily Gratitude and the author of the wildly successful ebook, "The Astonishing Power of Gratitude." He firmly believes that if everyone followed the 5 principles in the ebook, world peace would break out.


  1. Wonderful post Wes. I am making a post in advance because I feel confident that what I desire is accomplished and I will follow the trail of clues (breadcrumbs). I have been in the appearance of complete financial devastation for over a year now. This after making money for quite a few years in the top 5 percent. I got lost and stuck. I have realized now that there is some very important lessons to learn. The most important to be grateful for the gifts this situation has brought me. I will keep you updated. I know for certain that the idea of action is a stopping point for many. We are taught that action is the answer. Well, that is backwards. The thought and feeling has to be changed first and then actions are inspired instead of required. I will no longer give any power to appearances, only to my clear vision. Thank again. I will post again soon.

    • It sounds like you’re on the right track, Randy! I know you’ll come out of this situation stronger and more confident than ever. Feel free to ask questions in the comments if you have them.

  2. Some really good points thanks! For me visualisation really does work, just like the guy who built the chimney I think its best to make that first action and inspire the change with your attitude!
    Great post! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks, Angela! Someone once said that you can tell what you really believe by what actions you take. Visualization without action is magical thinking and isn’t very helpful, but visualization with action is very powerful!

  3. This is very inspiring, Wes. I recently started visualisation to get my personal life back on track and to take things to a new level. The challenge I face is my mind is so crowded with different thoughts that I can’t seem to see each topic through, to maximise the visualisation, before I’m jumping to another. These are all big thoughts, should I try to just focus on one or work on some sort of amalgam? Now I don’t want to waste any time. Thank you, Fiona

    • Fiona,
      The issues you’re having with your mind are quite normal. Meditation and visualization are techniques that will help you tame the jumping around that the mind does. Most every meditation teacher I know says the same thing – when your mind wanders, gently bring it back to the subject of your meditation or visualization. Relax in the process. Don’t be critical of yourself for being just like everyone else! Taming the mind’s wandering is a life-long task, so be kind to yourself and just keep at it.

  4. Hi are you saying that if i visualise that i win the lotto i will. But how will i know what is the right numbers to pick. Will it just come to me. Or will i just play and one day win the lotto because of visualisation.

    • You’re better off visualizing an abundant universe and money flowing to you from expected and unexpected sources. Your chance of creating lottery winnings is vanishingly small, but the more general visualization of prosperity can work very well over time. You may have to work for it, too.

  5. HEY! I’ve just started visualisation and i’ve achived alot. Great post and some really good points.
    I’ve had one question for a long time, does visualisation work for oneself or it can work for others? as in can I visualize about others for example a friend recovering form a bad situation or somthing?
    Thanks, Ditiksha

    • Yes, you can visualize that for other people. I recommend that you keep the results you’re visualizing very general, as you usually will not know what the best outcome will be for your friend.

  6. Hi. I have a property for which I am unable to get a good price. What visualization would you suggest for getting a buyer and getting a good price for it?

    • The visualization would simply be seeing a buyer that was looking for a property just like that. Keep in mind that visualizing a buyer at top price for a junk property is a low probability event. Be reasonable.

  7. As stupid as this may sound, will visualisatiom work for physical appearance. I’ve heard it works for height growth and eye colour changing (even did the eyes for myself although they only got lighter and eventually went back to normal) can the face be changed or is that not how it works

    • The question is – what are you trying to achieve with this visualization? Do you not like your appearance? Do you want to attract someone who likes your appearance? Focus on visualizing that.

  8. Hi,
    I have very strong visualization since childhood. My thousands of desires have come true unknowingly. Now I have very serious issue because of my negative visualization.My husband left me for another woman. I want him back but my conscious visualization is now not working. 99 percent I am positive and 1 % doubt. This one percent comes and stands before me. Please advise me. Did you ever hear anyone getting his or her love back through positive and strong visualization while the other person is in relationship with someone else?

    • Why do you want him back? Wouldn’t you rather visualize having someone in your life who values you just as you are and won’t leave you for another? One of the greatest gifts I ever received was when my first wife left me for another man. She’s been happily married to him for over 30 years, and I’ve been happily married to my current wife for over 15 years. See his leaving you as the gift it is.

      • While I do appreciate your post, not everyone has the same life as you and some people do want their spouses back. Why can’t she visualize her husband back? Maybe she loves him as much as you love your second wife and it doesn’t matter if he left her for someone else to her, that is not for others to judge what she wants to manifest, she just asked how.

  9. Dear sir…

    I am very graetful to you.
    You are doing very great job for human kind.
    I am sorry for my any lingual mistake as English is not my mother toung…
    Again a lot of thanks to you.

  10. Please help me I have tried and tried to make visualisation work but I must be missing something. I have a dollar figure that I have been trying to raise in order to achieve some very important small goals in my life. I have been visualising for many months and neither the small goals nor the figure seem to be any closer. I have tried imagining the amount in my bank account, on a TV screen, in my hand and see me fulfilling the goals accordingly. I have tried speaking the figure out loud, affirming my destiny, and spent hours and hours daydreaming how it would play out. I have tried to “do” as much as I can to prepare for the money/goals but feel like I am not hitting the spot. What am I missing ?

  11. Wes, I have been visualizing since 2007. When my dad and sister were sick, I visualized for their health and happiness, when I was changing careers, I visualized job satisfaction in a role of my choice. All of these things have happened and I’m pleased. Since 2008, I have been visualizing myself in a healthy and happy marriage, which hasn’t happened yet. Despite the fact that my ex-boyfriend and I lost touch in 2010, he continues to be the man in envision in my happy marriage with children (largely because he was the last mate that I viewed as my partner). However, I have been in a relationship with anyone in the last 4 years. I understand some changes take longer, but I’m beginning to wonder why it’s taken so long.

  12. Sorry, I meant to say I have not been in any relationships in the last 4 years.

  13. I am trying these visualisations, it seems so near yet so far away, I have taken steps to also move it forward, I believe you have to do things to make things work, as stuff dont just come to you. but to try and visualise it into the right direction, but also after reading some comments about partners leaving and they wanting them back, maybe the visualisation is not working as they was not meant to come back, but maybe you was meant to move on to some one new. As taking back some one who has hurt you will only repeat the efforts of before. just my perception. But I visualise certain big things that I was in life career wise. Although at times it seems impossible, I still keep hoping it will come true once day.

    • You’re correct about visualizations not working to get other people to do what you want. That never works. You can visualize a relationship that meets your needs, a loving partner that you really care about, but you can’t fit a particular person into that dream and make them do it. As you said, you’ll only repeat the story over again. The best way to get a loving partner is to not NEED one. BE a loving, caring, happy person and love will eventually find you.

  14. Hello Wes,

    Very insightful post. I am grateful to have stumbled upon it! I know that someone already addressed the subject of manifesting the winnings of a lotto jackpot, and your answer seems to make sense to me; not limiting yourself to one source of money such as the lottery, but rather welcoming abundance and wealth from a multitude of sources.

    My question to you is, what if you are looking for the jackpot money as a way to help humanity on a large scale? If the money has an altruistic purpose? If I am already a philanthropist within my current means, and wish to expand this to a larger scale, would this be achievable with visualization? For example, if I were to have a specific plan for the 50 million dollars that I could potentially win, and I used this visualization, could it be attained?

    Your insight on this would be greatly appreciated!


  15. Can I visualize having a baby with a man who had a vasectomy, or is it best to just visualize a baby and let the universe pick the dad?

  16. Hi.
    I have heard a lot about the positive impact of visualization technique . As you have mentioned in the article, I also believe that taking action is very important. But if I am aware that what action do I have to take already, what is the requirement of visualization?
    (I have never tried the visualization or gratitude technique.. but have imagined of different things, a lot many times )
    Secondly, I am currently in a state where I am trying to prepare for exams to move a ladder up in my career. I am working in a company and trying to study for the exams. What would be the best visualization exercise to help me get motivated and be optimistic about my exams’ preparation and results.
    Thirdly, I watched an episode of Oprah Winfrey Show where people talked about how making a list of characteristics they wished to have in a partner and using visualization exercises to meet such a person actually helped them have exactly the life partner whom they wished for. Can it be true? I mean, only by imagining of having someone in your life with such qualities, can one meet such a person, and moreover, have such a person as their life partner… because making friends is easy but the possibility of having that friend as life partner is never easy.

    Sorry, for such a long post! Thanks in advance, for the answers ! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • If it was easy, Rachel, everyone would be doing it! As for your exams, as part of your study and preparation, see yourself as confident, prepared, and calm. Since you have studied, remind yourself that you know all the answers and will recall them easily.
      As for your life partner, the right person is out there and you do not have to be a different person than you really are to attract them. If you did, they would be the wrong person, because you do want someone who loves you as you really are, eh?

  17. Hi,
    Should one be visualizing the same vision straight for a certain time to achieve results?

    Thank you!
    All the best.

    • You should be holding the vision of the thing desired and seeing it as completed until it or something better does show up. Get a clear mental image and see it on its way to you.

  18. Hi Wes
    I always see a guy’s name or things related to him though we are not in touch. He is the one I ever wanted. I understand we can’t control others but wht r these signs, like seeing his name most of d time or seeing things related to him. Wht does it mean?

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