Dr Tom Mulholland: Visualise it to make it happen

Visualise what you want, where you will be and how it will feel and even taste and you have a powerful tool in your well ...

Visualise what you want, where you will be and how it will feel and even taste and you have a powerful tool in your well and good toolbox.

The sun rises for me in 2017 over Cuvier Island, east of Coromandel and Great Barrier Island. Beyond is South America and the mighty Pacific Ocean. The rest of the crew are still asleep, recovering from a sloppy passage through Colville channel the day before. I have visualised this day and this view many times before, and now the camera takes a photo that has been in my mind for years. The dream has become a reality. 

In the rollercoaster of life not all things go our way. It's how we deal with setbacks and adversity that count. The sun can rise in a new chapter of your life if you can visualise exactly what you want, and put the steps in to make it happen.  Living on a boat for some is an opportunity that has come out of the Auckland property price crisis, myself included. 

Visualisation is a powerful tool and can be used in many ways. You may want to visualise the car or house you want. The colour, the design, the feeling of satisfaction of getting there can send a warm glow just like the sunrise over Cuvier Island. 

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In sport, you may visualise the goal you kick, the wicket you take or the basket you shoot. One study of basketballers compared those warming up with a 100 free throws pre-game to those who sat in the locker room and visualised 100 free throws pre game. Those that never touched a ball pre-game consistently scored higher in the real game. The reason was that those who sat in the locker room, never missed. In their mind every shot got nothing but net. Those who practised for real pre-game, missed a few shots, putting doubt into their mind. 

A few days and bays later, I met a retired couple on another boat parked up in another jewel in the planet's crown, Great Barrier Island. I had met them years ago when they were working hard at growing their own business. They both retired more than10 years ago – at the age of 40. 

Ignoring any sense of envy of not having to work after 40, I wanted their story. At age 18 they had visualised being rich and had set out to do it. Soon the pair realised that visualising being rich was not what they actually wanted, it was to be free. So they visualised being debt-free, mortgage-free and free to roam and travel the planet. The couple saved hard and invested in ways to make passive revenue while they  travelled around. It only took them 20 years to achieve their visualised goal. 

Do you want to be rich or free, or both? Visualise what you want, where you will be and how it will feel and even taste and you have yet another tool in your well and good toolbox.  However, a vision without action is just a hallucination. How much do you really want it? What will you sacrifice, endure or suffer to reach that vision? I remember Muhammad Ali once saying he hated very minute of training, but he had to go through it to be The Greatest.  

As the sun sets on Cuvier Island, I am visualising a few more bays and a few more days away from land. Floating on a boat, far from the madding crowd and surrounded by friends and family are great rewards for a hard-fought 2016. Soon enough I'll be back in the seat of the ambulance and coming to a town near you. 

Dr Tom Mulholland is an Emergency Department doctor and GP with over 25 years' experience in New Zealand. He's currently on a mission, tackling health missions around the world.

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