By Kim Lowe, Simple Intentions Managing Editor
We prime walls before painting them. We warm up our bodies before exercising. But how often do we purposefully prepare our minds for thinking, communicating, engaging?
Visualization is one way to prime our minds, perhaps most commonly used to prepare for an important event like a presentation or competition. In visualization, we use our imagination to virtually see and feel ourselves having or doing something, whether closing a deal or winning a race.
Done repeatedly, visualization works by “tricking” the subconscious mind into thinking our visualizations are real, thus priming the conscious mind, influencing our actions and ultimately affecting the actual outcome. Visualize yourself nailing a presentation, and theory says, you will nail that presentation.
But what about the simpler things we do every day: planning, meeting, creating. Can we prime our minds for these more routine events – and more simply than having to close our eyes and go deep into our subconscious?
In this video, game designer, co-founder of SuperBetter and senior researcher at the Institute for the Future, Jane McGonigal, promotes predictions as another — and appealingly simpler — way to prime the mind.
Making a prediction – about anything, McGonigal says – sends a shot of dopamine to the brain, which in turn prepares the brain to learn, boosting our focus, energy and engagement. And because dopamine is linked to feelings of pleasure and reward, making a prediction can bring about a feel-good bonus.
So today, while you’re walking to your next meeting, make a prediction (“I predict the boss will love our new design!”) and see what happens. I predict you’ll at least feel good – even if the boss doesn’t love your design.