Are vision boards, the law of attraction, and positive thinking actually BAD for your business?
Yes, yes they are.
In fact, scientific studies conducted by two New York University psychologists, Gabrielle Oettingen and Doris Mayer, demonstrate these “sacred cows” have an overwhelmingly-negative impact and can absolutely KILL your results.
So to help make sense out of their data, I’m going to share are five detrimental outcomes that come directly from using things like vision boards, and positive thinking, and positive visualization.
Then I’m also going to share with you one powerful way you CAN use visualization that WORKS for your business.
See, it’s not all “bad news.”
More importantly, I’m going to give you an action plan so you can start getting results in your business, no matter where you are in your process of building.
Watch the video or listen to the audio below to hear the truth and how it affects you and your business.
First, I want you to understand that this is coming from a place of SCIENCE.
This is backed by performance psychologists and people who have done deep research on the negative effects of using things like vision boards.
I remember when I first got started in network marketing, back in 2006.
I had just been deployed to Iraq…
And my wife found this industry as a means to give us our exit strategy for that next chapter of life.
We were both military and our deployment cycles were getting ramped up.
We had a one-year-old baby, and there I was deployed to Iraq.
My wife said, “Hey, we got to go out there and find a new path.”
Network marketing was our path.
What was interesting back in 2006 is a lot of people in network marketing had gotten totally drunk on the Kool-Aid called The Secret.
Then Oprah Winfrey and lots of Hollywood superstars got on board
And popularized the whole concept of The Secret, and the vision board.
A vision board is when you cut out a bunch of pictures of things that you want to have in your life, you pin them to this board and you sit there and stare at them for a long time and imagine yourself having them.
Then magically they’re going to show up in your life.
This is exactly what was taught in The Secret but also by a lot of practitioners of the “law” of attraction.
I want you understand the psychology and the science behind what’s going on.
Our brains have the ability to see something and imagine it happening.
So if you put a picture of a Maserati or a Ferrari or a Lamborghini up on a vision board and you stare at it for several minutes a day what tends to happen is your brain starts to think that you own that car.
In fact, a lot of law of attraction practitioners say that’s exactly the point, that your brain goes…
“Hey, I’ve achieved it, so therefore it’s going to come into my life.”
The problem is the way the human brain works
According to Oettingen and Mayer, you get a dopamine hit from these pictures.
Dopamine is that chemical inside the brain that’s associated with success, it’s also associated with achievement.
We get a dopamine hit when:
- People give us a like on Facebook
- Somebody shares our post
- Somebody tells us good job
- We succeed at anything
It doesn’t mean that you have achieved something, though!
If your goal is to become a six-figure earner in your business, if your goal is to launch a product, if your goal is to put out a webinar you’re going to get a dopamine hit anytime you reach one of those milestones of success.
The big challenge is that when we get that vision board thing we start to see those pictures, we imagine that we’ve succeeded and we have the same reaction without the result.
You get the same response in your brain psychologically and physiologically as if you had achieved it.
Can you see the danger in this?
Five REAL, dangerous things that can happen…
1. Lost of motivation
When Oettingen and Mayer did this study on two test groups of college students they said to group one…
“We want you to imagine graduating college and getting your dream job,”
For some people it was working for a Fortune 500 company, for some people it was working for a non-profit, whatever it looked like for them.
They had them visualize this over and over and over again.
Then they had the other group visualize not getting the job.
They visualized being turned down, being told they weren’t qualified, being told they didn’t have enough of what it took to get the job.
Here’s what was interesting…
After four years of college, the people who visualized positively, the people that visualized getting the job, actually had a lower success rate by two to one.
The people that visualized not being successful were more driven and had more motivation to succeed.
Which means that they prepared themselves better than the people who felt that they had already achieved it.
Now this is important because if you’re out there building a network marketing business or any kind of business online, you can imagine how difficult it can be at times.
There are time where you put your ad out and the ad doesn’t work right away for whatever reason; maybe Facebook shuts your account down.
If you go into it thinking hey everything’s going to be hunky dory, everything’s going to work and then it doesn’t it’s a very crushing blow.
Plus, we get people that come through the workshops, through the fast track program who will show up and they’ll say…
“Well I haven’t done anything yet, but I’ve got big dreams for my business.”
What we’ve found as facilitators and as mentors is that folks often have a very positive outlook on their business but they haven’t taken the proper action.
Here’s the thing, when we start to use things like vision boards and our brain says…
“Okay well cool, we’ve already got it.”
It robs us of our motivation.
Now does that mean that you’re totally unmotivated?
No, but what it does mean is that psychologically speaking, your brain deactivates that part of your brain that wants you to take action because it says the job is done, mission accomplished.
We have to be very careful about these things and get ourselves into a proactive state.
Now the other part about this that’s dangerous is that it…
2. Lacking a plan
If we just look at a vision board, all we’re looking at is the outcome, we’re not looking at the process that gets us there.
What’s the danger to that?
Well one of the biggest dangers to that is that all of a sudden we start saying to ourselves…
“Well that’s the end result, but how do I get there?”
What happens is we see the outcomes, we see the pretty car, we see the house, we see the whatever it looks like, that thing that’s on the vision board and we say…
“Cool, I want that thing.”
Then we get overwhelmed and think…
“But how do we get there?”
Well the overwhelmed feeling is taken care of by looking at the picture.
It makes us feel good which brings me to one of the positive benefits to having a vision board.
Believe it or not there’s a benefit to certain types of people to have vision boards.
Oettingen and Mayer found…
There are two groups of people who benefit from having vision boards
Number one is people with clinical depression.
People who are severely depressed benefit from having a vision board because typically those people are wrapped around a cycle of constantly looking at negatives.
They’re constantly looking at barriers to success and at the things that are going to hold them back from being happy.
They need something to pull away from that negative feeling or that negative cycle that their heart and their mind are constantly trapped in.
Therefore, a positive vision board can work for somebody with clinical depression.
The other is people who have severe self-image problems, people that really just don’t have very much confidence.
That’s a really big deal that can actually hamper anybody in business and life.
That’s where the vision board can kind of help.
It gives them a sense of confidence for the moment, but again remember, this is a Band-Aid that we’re talking about.
If you really want to achieve great success in your business, if you want to ramp up your performance, the vision board is decreasing it.
It’s going to make you feel like you already succeeded before you go out and compete.
3. Impedes taking action
In the military as aviators, we used visualization.
We used something called chair flying.
What chair flying looks like is—aviators sit in a chair in a quiet room and go through a mental exercise of executing a particular maneuver in the aircraft.
Whether it was stall recovery, a spin recovery, doing aerobatics or anything that had to do with close proximity flying like formation flying.
We’d go through and visualize.
The United States Navy Blue Angels go through a process before they fly every single mission.
They will sit down as a crew, the six pilots, and they will walk through the entire flight demonstration mentally.
They’re visualizing exactly what actions they need to take in the process of doing the full air show.
They’re sitting there with their eyes closed and they’re moving their hands as if they’re moving the throttle and the stick for the aircraft.
What are we doing if we do that kind of visualization?
Number one is it reinforces the body mind connection.
If before you go on a Facebook Live you spend about five or ten minutes visualizing yourself…
- Having confidence and a clear mind
- Standing with a good posture
- Looking directly into the camera
- Delivering your message with precision
Those kinds of things can help your performance.
But again what we’re focusing on is the ACTION that’s required to get the result that we want.
If you’re someone who says…
“JT, I do not want to get rid of my vision board!”
My recommendation is…
Take the pictures away of the actual result and put pictures up there of you taking the action
I don’t care if you cut out a photo of your face and put it on a picture of somebody doing the squats, or the burpees, or whatever it is, if you’re looking to get fit.
Or take a picture of somebody who’s on stage presenting or being recognized on stage.
My point is this, it’s not about the outcome, it’s about visualizing yourself taking the action.
It’s proven through psychology, performance psychology, and sports psychology.
We used it as military aviators, Olympic athletes us it, NASA astronauts definitely use it as a way to mentally prepare for the performance.
You see the big difference?
Visualization works but it’s not about visualizing the outcome like we’re taught with the law of attraction, The Secret, or vision boards.
Vision boards are trying to talk to you about the end result.
If we look at that end result we lose our motivation.
We lack a plan so it creates overwhelm in us.
We don’t know what actions to take.
Another big problem is…
4. Creates self-doubt
We start beating ourselves up.
We look at that picture and say…
“Holy crap man, where’s the Maserati, the Ferrari, the Lamborghini? I haven’t achieved it.”
We look around and we see evidence of other people succeeding in business and buying fancy cars and houses.
Then we start judging ourselves and saying…
“What’s wrong with me? Maybe I’m not fit for this, maybe I’m not meant to be successful.”
Imagine visualizing winning a race, or your dream house.
Only one person can win the race, only one person on the planet can own that dream house at a time.
One of the most dangerous messages that was ever delivered by The Secret and all these practitioners of the law of attraction is that if you’re not getting what you’re intending, or putting the message out there to the universe, then you’re doing it wrong.
5. Believing you’re wrong or “broken”
Guess what my friends?
That’s BS, it’s not true.
The reality is only one person can win the race.
Does that mean that there’s only one race to be run?
Absolutely not, the question is what race are you going to run next?
If you didn’t come in first then maybe next time is your chance, maybe that’s your opportunity.
If you didn’t get the dream house because somebody out bids you or because you weren’t qualified for that particular house, then maybe it’s time to start looking somewhere else.
Maybe it’s time to start preparing yourself for that next chapter.
Oettingen and Mayer did studies around people using the law of attraction to find their ideal mate.
They would have them visualize having an encounter with the person and it going really well and an encounter with them going terrible where they flubbed their line, they said something stupid, or they had broccoli in their teeth.
They would have them visualize those negative outcomes, and what happened was the brain was better prepared to succeed when they were thinking about things that could go wrong.
Here’s the reality…
You’re not attracting negativity into your life
If you think about all the stuff that might go wrong it doesn’t mean that crap is going to happen in your life, it means mentally you’re prepared for it.
Case in point, before we flew every single combat mission we talked about the worst case scenario.
What would happen if we got shot down?
We had a certain set of procedures that we’d go through in case we got shot down so we could communicate to the rescue teams to come in and get us.
What happens if you get compromised?
What happens if you get captured by the enemy?
We would talk through what might happen in the worst case scenario.
I can tell you this, I never once got shot down.
The law of attraction didn’t work against me because we were thinking negatively.
We were thinking proactively, there’s a big difference.
In your business as a network marketing leader, you have to be thinking about every possible outcome.
When you think about what might go wrong and the challenges, it gives you the ability to think freely in the moment so you can take proactive action.
It’s not about being negative, it’s about being realistic
It’s about being pragmatic and knowing what could go wrong if you take the wrong actions or no action.
Take the actions that are in alignment with the results you want and take those actions with consistently.
Now this is what brings me to the actual action plan.
First, you’ve got to have an intention of what it is you want to achieve.
What is it you want to achieve in the next 30 days?
You need to make sure that it fits the whole smart goal process, specific, measurable, and actionable.
You must keep it super simple, something that you know you can apply each and every day.
Here’s the key to it, you must be crystal clear on where you want to go and where you are relative to it.
If you know those two points, then you can draw a line between the two and connect the dots.
What this means is it can’t be fuzzy, it can’t be kind of wishy washy, it can’t be one of these dreamy things—you must be specific.
“In the next 30 days my intention is to make my first AMF sale.”
Then you need to get to work on it, but first and foremost you must get clear on where you are relative to that.
If you haven’t yet launched your first ad, then maybe that’s the place you start.
Next, you must set in place the actions that you do every single day.
Then you need to take the actions that are in alignment with the result you want.
If you want six-pack abs, eating doughnuts is not an action that’s going to get you there.
Staring at the results on a corkboard is only decreasing your motivation.
It lacks a plan, it doesn’t show you how to take the action, and in fact it is decreasing your performance by instilling a sense of self-doubt and plus a false sense of achievement.
Here’s the key my friends…
Make sure you’re taking action, every single day!
Get plugged in to a group of people like we have here in the Elite Marketing Pro community that can help support you, guide you, and give you the mentorship that you need in order to hit your targets.
You have what it takes to succeed, but sometimes it means doing things differently than you’ve done in the past.
Sometimes it means looking at things from a different perspective.
Sometimes it means getting close to reality and “negativity” in order to see all the pitfalls and all the barriers that are holding you back.
Then you can blast through those barriers to get the results you want.
You need to visualize yourself taking action, and behaving in a way that’s in alignment with the results you want, and then doing those actions on a daily consistent basis.
That’s what’s going to lead you to success.
Not the fuzzy pictures of a beautiful outcome that’s devoid of all pain, frustration, and negativity.
The plan is going to keep you going, especially when that initial motivation and desire wears off.
The plan is going to keep you disciplined and on track
Remember this, it’s not about feeling, it’s not about thinking, it’s not about doing all the stuff of trying to draw things to us and attract things into our lives.
It’s about showing up every single day and taking the right actions.
Actions are what’s going to make it happen.
That is in our control right here, right now, today.
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Director of Leadership Development
Elite Marketing Pro
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