One of the little-known facts about Albert Einstein is that he attended a school that followed the teaching methods of the Swiss educator Johann Pestalozzi. Pestalozzi schools taught children in what was known as the Pestalozzi Method (the “Method”). Under the Method, it was believed that instead of dealing with words, children should learn through activity and objects. They should be free to pursue their own interests and reach their own conclusions. Much of Pestalozzi’s teaching methods can be found in a book he published in 1801 called How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. In this book, he discusses the importance of spontaneity and allowing children to arrive at answers themselves. Visualization was a major component in this method. Pestalozzi believed that visualization was among the mind’s most powerful features and that imagery was where all knowledge started.
The school environment created by Pestalozzi’s method of eduction created the perfect environment for Einstein to develop as he did. According to a biography of Einstein, Einstein: His Life and Universe:
It [Aarau] was a perfect school for Einstein. The teaching was based on the philosophy of a Swiss educational reformer of the early nineteenth century, Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, who believed in encouraging students to visualize images. . . . The visual understanding of concepts, as stressed by Pestalozzi and his followers in Aarau, became a significant aspect of Einstein’s genius. “Visual understanding is the essential and only true means of teaching how to judge things correctly,” Pestalozzi wrote, and “the learning of numbers and language must be definitely subordinated.”
Given his early learning, it is no surprise that Einstein used visualization throughout his life. At age 16, Einstein used visualization when he discovered that the speed of light was always constant. Einstein believed that visual understanding was the most important form of education and more important than knowledge. Later in life Einstein would write:
I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination circles the world.
Arguably the most important skill any of us can master is creative visualization. Visualizing events and outcomes before they occur is an incredibly valuable skill. Consider this quote from Arnold Schwarzenegger:
When I was very young, I visualized myself being and having what it was I wanted. Mentally I never had any doubts about it. The mind is really so incredible. Before I won my first Mr. Universe, I walked around the tournament like I owned it. The title was already mine. I had won it so many times in my mind that there was no doubt I would win it. Then, when I moved on to the movies, the same thing. I visualized myself being a successful actor and earning big money. I could feel and taste success. I just knew it would all happen.
Creative visualization is the art of creating pictures in your mind of something you would like to happen in the future. This is not a special skill that needs to be developed by people; it is just something that we need to use. What you need to be able to do is to visualize positive events and outcomes.
Instead of visualizing negative outcomes and approaching life from a position of negativity, there is a tremendous amount of strength and power you can get from visualizing positive as opposed to negative results. The thoughts you have, create the reality that you experience. An incredible number of studies have confirmed the power of positive thoughts and visualization to create unbelievable results for people.
The idea that someone can live longer by simply viewing aging in a positive way is astonishing to me. I am surprised that this is not spoken about more. For example, we all know that people who quit smoking can live a few years longer; we also know that eating a certain way can enhance our life span. Why is it that no one speaks of the value of our state of mind in influencing our life span?
How we feel is based on what we focus on. When you focus on the negative, you are likely to feel negative. When you focus on the positive, you are likely to feel positive. We do not experience reality–we experience our representation of reality. How we feel is based on what we focus on.
Your success in your current job, your success in your job search, and more will be determined by the things you focus on. Focus on the positive and the results you want to achieve.
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