Updated: Sep 11
It's hard to imagine better for ourselves when we're so used to the same old, same old.
What we generally tend to do is remember what we experienced in the past and expect that it will happen again.
However, when it comes to visualization and creativity, what we're doing is replaying the past only to experience it again in the future.
If we fail to imagine better, if we fail to dream, if we fail to envision something totally new, we'll either get the same old thing or nothing at all.
Today, I want to explain the psychology of visualization.
Allow me to illustrate with a true, personal story.
Traumatized By One Bad Experience
One of the ways I generate long term wealth is through real estate. In one of my first properties, we had bad tenants who never paid rent on time and severely damaged it to where the repairs cost more than a year of mortgage payments and operating costs alone. So, not only did we have to pay for the mortgage and repairs, which dashed our savings, we had to deal with this from Europe after just having our first child and I was overcoming severe postpartum depression.
It was a traumatic experience for us. It prompted us to hire a property management company to seriously review the trustworthiness of each applicant and be on site to regularly inspect the premises.
This type of horror story makes would-be small time landlords afraid to invest in real estate because they simply don't have the extra income to deal with bad tenants. When people tell me their tenant horror stories, believe me, I get it.
Fast forward 8 years. That horror story never happened again. We decided that, if we couldn't find a good tenant right away, we would just pay the mortgage, insurance, utilities, maintenance, property management fees, and the expensive Homeowners Association fees, and taxes and leave the property empty until a good one came along. To us, it just wasn't worth the risk. Unfortunately, it's a costly way to lose faith in humanity...
Losing What You Believe Is The Best You'll Ever Get
Then, one of our properties became empty. We had a fantastic tenant named J who always paid on time, was a model tenant for the world, and left the property in pristine condition.
J has a pleasant personality and is very smart. He moved in needing a quality place to live while he got his career back on track after a failed venture. And he did. He moved on to fulfill a career dream and thanked us for providing a high quality, affordable place where he could do it all in tranquility. We were happy for his success, but we seriously missed him when he left.
We asked ourselves, "Where will we ever find another J?"
Month after month went by. We received many applicants for the place, but I just wasn't feeling any of them.
Many people said to me, "It's better to leave your properties empty right now because of the pandemic. People are income scarce right now and you might have a squatter."
That's a troubling thought, but it is happening out there in the world.
But, having grown up in trailers and roach infested rentals, I know what it's like to be amongst the working poor. It's conflicting to think of people that way while knowing that some people are caught in tough places. Especially children who have no choice in the matter.
I tossed out that idea.
I went to my mind to figure out why, after five months, my property was empty.
It wasn't about the pandemic.
It wasn't about the horror story in the past.
It was something else.
I mulled this question over and over in my mind. I couldn't get a logical answer.
And then, I prayed, using my subconscious instruction cards.
I let it go and hoped that an answer would pop up.
Fortunately, it did.
As I was walking about my house, I heard the answer loud and clear:
"Your property is empty because you don't believe that you can get a better tenant than J. Since J is gone, nobody else exists and therefore, nobody will fill his place."
I was shocked. Like Home Alone Aftershave Shocked.
I ran to Franck and asked him this simple question, "Do you believe we can get a better tenant than J?"
His bright swimming pool blue eyes glistened and his eyes widened. He completely understood the question.
He smiled and said, "No."
Daring To Imagine Bigger and Better
Realizing that we both created this limitation to our own success, I said, "Repeat after me: A better tenant will come to us. Better than we can imagine. J, or better!"
And so, we did, looking straight into each other's eyes (for some odd reason, this act of agreement always works magic for us) and repeated it until we felt strong and sure.
These following events happened so magically that it feels too good to be true, but it really happened.
The next day, as Franck was coming home with the kids, he came across a woman who was leaving a note on our front door.
They ended up talking. She said, "A friend of mine saw your place online and has been trying to reach you via email, but the email keeps bouncing back. She is very interested in your place."
She gave us her phone number. I immediately called her. She said she wanted our place without seeing it because she couldn't leave work to come visit. Normally, I wouldn't have done such a thing, but I told her if she filled out a background check and provided references we would accept her application; I just had a good feeling.
Within 24 hours, everything came back perfect. Stellar reference, etc. And, to make it even funnier, she only needed the place a few days a month since the nature of her work requires to be on the job around the clock.
As if a wink from a universe acknowledging our agreement to expect a better tenant:
Her friend came by recently and laughingly said, "Could you ask for a better tenant? She is almost never home, is the nicest person in the world, and always pays on time!"
If you had asked me before, I didn't even realize that I didn't believe I could have asked for better. Let alone even dare of imagining, after experiencing something what I thought was already perfect, for even better!
Fortunately, I can report, "even better" exists!
Why Do We Imagine That Things Can Get Worse, But Not Better?
It's so easy to imagine that things can get worse. It's frighteningly scary how easy we let our mind drift to the worst case scenario.
For us, the worst case scenario was our first story of a destroyed apartment. Our minds will go back to that place and we overcompensate by just accepting that, if things don't get as bad as that, then we'll be OK.
That's the wrong way to look at any situation.
Oh, we're just paying for an empty rental property. Not making any money. Let's accept that discomfort... as long as it's not as worse than before... yada yada.
We rationalize these things. It literally makes zero sense. We say we're playing it safe, but it's not smart.
The question is, why do we imagine that things CAN get worse, but NOT better?
I've seen this all the time with executive clients. They're stuck in their ways, but so long as they don't make it as worse as some trauma in the past, then all of the struggle and strain they're presently experiencing is suddenly worth it - even socially acceptable.
What a bizarre compromise.
Dare To Dream Better And You'll Do Better
I find it funny how I schooled myself on expecting better.
Whenever people ask me how I'm doing at the post office, the store, etc, I always say, "Better and better every day and in every way!"
People seem to like that because it's a paradigm shifting response.
It makes them say, "I'm going to start using that!"
But, I don't think I believed it totally until this experience with the tenant.
It's one thing to say "I expect better" and it's something totally different to KNOW that better IS YOURS NOW. Not coming around the corner, but NOW - you can't see it happening, but it's happening. It's faith in action.
That tenant had been trying to reach me for at least a week before I opened up my mind to receiving her.
When we did, the doors of our mind received her, because I know without a doubt that if we had not and received that post it note on the door, we would have tossed it out. We would have dismissed the very goodness that life wants us to have and that we wanted, but didn't believe we deserved or imagined is possible.
Say It With Me: This, Or Better!
So, with this I say: dare to dream better. Say to yourself while imagining, "This, or better!"
It can get better. Expect things to happen better than you can even imagine. Get in the habit of expecting things to get better from here on out.
Not imagining the worst case scenarios from nightmares past. Not compromising to mitigate losses.
When you lose something that you thought was already great or perfect, dare to imagine that it can actually get better. That you're upgrading in experience.
Life isn't supposed to go downhill after you believe you have reached the top.
There are vistas you haven't even dreamed existed.
There are views remaining to be discovered.
There are new heights to ascend.
It can only get better from here!