You’ve probably heard this story. When Jim Carrey was a struggling actor, he wrote himself a check for $10 million, dated Thanskgiving 1995, for “acting services rendered.”
He cashed the check in 1994 when he made $10 million for Dumb and Dumber.
In 1997, Carrey told Oprah he used visualization techniques to get work. He also visualized receiving that $10 million check. Also, seeing that large amount on paper made the vision that much more real.
It seems to have worked for him.
I decided today to do a safe experiment with visualization. I wadded up some paper and imagined it going gracefully into the wastebasket, unhindered by wind, gravity, or my lack of depth perception. I lifted my arm, hurled the wad, …. and missed.
I guess visualization doesn’t always work.
Then the question came. What is required for visualization to work?
The first thing you have to have is ability.
Jim Carrey had the ability to do what he visualized. He had the talent, as his work proves. But talent isn’t enough by itself. You need passion to make it in the fickle and transient world of show biz. It’s passion that will carry you through an ocean of rejection and short-term, low-paying assignments. Passion will sustain you while you’re learning your craft. And passion will help you aim high when life seems to say, “Why don’t you just get a steady job and forget that silly dream?”
When I was shooting for the wastebasket, I was working against an incredible handicap. Since I have monocular vision, the world looks flat to me. If I guess well, I’ll make that shot. If I don’t, I’ll be leaning over to pick that wad up off the floor.
The next thing that is required for visualization to work is that your dream must be realistic.
Jim knew he could do the work. He could entertain. The packed houses for his comedy act proved that. There was no reason he couldn’t take that same power to the big screen. All he needed was the right opportunity.
The third thing you need for your visualization to work is real world practice.
If you want to be a world class comic or just a high percentage paper wad tosser, you have to get out there and do it. The more you perform, the more input you have to make your visualization more real. It’s an endless circle. See yourself winning and you’ll do better. Then, when you do better, you can see yourself doing better still.
We all think about the situations we face. We perform based on how we see ourselves. So why not aim for the sky? Who knows, you might just change the world!
You and the people around you will be better for it.