The older I get, the more I believe we live a life of self-fulfilling prophecies.
I grew up with grandparents who used to quote from the old version of the King James Bible (Proverbs 23:7): “As you think, so shall ye be.” I thought the idea was a bunch of hooey at the time. More and more, I find I use goal visualization as an essential part of daily living. Visualization is how I stay focused while writing and marketing.
Here’s how I do it. I create in my mind’s eye the result I want to accomplish. I then decide on the “baby” steps needed to get to the goal. I’ve learned to be patient and wait for the process to work itself out. I use these visualizations to keep stress off my shoulders. With specific goals in mind and taking the steps needed to reach the goal, I can’t ask more of myself. No need to stress out.
At some point, I started wondering how I could use “self-fulfilling prophecy” in a love story where my heroine wants to find an ideal mate. One thing I decided right off was that, if she is what she thinks, she can’t obsess over all the wrongs done to her by men. To obsess would fill her mind with everything she doesn’t want to happen. According to the self-fulfilling prophecy, those obsessions would come true.
She’d instead have to look for all the things she loves about men and decide which of those she’d like rolled into one “ideal” male. My heroine’s biggest challenge would be to stay focused on that “ideal” male package and not let contradictory, negative thoughts interfere—whether from her past, her friends and family or from the media. Negativity would bounce her out of her vision. Her eyes would be blinded so she wouldn’t be able to recognize her ideal man if he was in front of her nose.
Years ago I read that it takes ten positive thoughts to wipe out one negative thought. I made a commitment to be as optimistic about my writing goals as I can be and not have waste time overcoming those negative thoughts.
In the novel, despite the passage of time, staying positive and focused on what she wants would be my character’s biggest challenge. Sadly, I never wrote the novel, but I did start using visualization in my own life.
For example, if I’m giving a talk on writing techniques, I don’t think of all the things that can go wrong. I think instead of what I want the audience to get out of the talk. If I assign a writing goal to myself as I go to bed, I don’t wake up in the morning and go over a list of things in my head that could go wrong and get in the way of accomplishing that goal. I wake up focused on the goal and believing I can accomplish it. In most cases, this turns out to be true.
Of course, sometimes life gets in the way. I then re-align the goal and re-focus. What I don’t do is whine about how something always gets in the way. That’s self-defeating. If I did that while believing in a self-fulfilling prophecy, that’s how my day would end up–something would always be getting in the way. Instead, I focus on my adjusted goal and keep striving ahead, not fretting that there is still a lot of road to travel.
Optimism must work. I have a contract in hand on my fifth manuscript. With this sale, I will have sold every manuscript I’ve ever written.
I recommend optimism, visualization and staying focused on the goal no matter what you do in life.
What about you? How do you achieve your goals?
JoAnn Smith Ainsworth
MATILDA’S SONG (ISBN: 978-1-60504-195-7)
OUT OF THE DARK (ISBN: 978-1-60504-277-0)
POLITE ENEMIES (ebook ISBN: 978-1-61160-636-2) release Sept. 2013
THE FARMER AND THE WOOD NYMPH (ebook ISBN: 978-1-61160-660-7) release Dec. 2013
Visit JoAnn Ainsworth on Facebook and Twitter.
Duty requires sacrifice…but the heart will not be denied.
At the time, pretending marriage to her middle-aged widower cousin seemed like the best way to escape a politically motivated betrothal to a brutal knight. Now, her journey toward a new life has landed her in hot water—she’s been waylaid by a local Norman baron who’s mistaken her for a real bride. And he demands First Night rights.
Hot water turns to steam in a scalding night of passion…passion she has never known. And now must live without.
Lord Geoffrey is entranced at first sight of the Anglo-Saxon beauty and finds that one night in her arms is not nearly enough. But all he can offer the low-born Matilda is a life in the shadows—as his mistress.
Her head warring with her heart, Matilda resigns herself to her duty in a masquerade of a marriage. It’s a choice that could cost her life.
For the knight who first sought her hand is back with murder on his mind. Now it’s Geoff who’s faced with the ultimate choice: which is more precious…his estates or the love of the one woman who can heal his soul?
Warning: Warning, this title contains the following: a Norman baron who teaches an Anglo-Saxon beauty the medieval mambo in the bedroom. Men fight to the death for this lady’s honor. Read the rest of this entry »