Train Your Brain, Build Your Fortune: The Power of Mental Rehearsal

When was the last time you mentally rehearsed how you’re going to make your financial goals a reality?

Well, whether you’re a skeptic or a die-hard proponent of mental rehearsal, you can take a lesson from Craig, who used this approach to fast-track his financial progress toward his essential life goals.

Now, Craig had a decent job as a middle manager in a tech company and was making good money, but not the kind of money where he could call himself rich. Even so, Craig had big dreams. And his goal was to hit a net worth of $10 million before the age of 50.

Sounds like a tall order, right?

Well, this was especially the case given that he was already halfway through his thirties and only had a fraction of that amount saved.

That’s when Craig realized that he needed a financial game changer, something totally different from what he was currently doing to reach his lofty goal.

Now, you know how sometimes the craziest ideas come from the most unlikely places? Well, a friend told Craig about a book that he was reading and it was all about the power of mental rehearsal.

More specifically, it described how one’s mind often can’t tell the difference between the mental world and the physical world, and so developing a practice of mental rehearsal could help him better realize his dreams.

Now, it’s essential to note here that this approach wasn’t some sort of pie-in-the-sky wishful thinking.

In fact, the book discussed three concrete steps that Craig needed to focus on to realize his dreams, and these included: 1) clarifying his goals, 2) developing a mental rehearsal routine, and 3) overcoming limiting beliefs.

Sounds too good to be true, right?

Well, Craig thought so at first, but he ultimately decided to give it a shot.

And, so, how did he do it?

Well, he started with the basics and got clear about what he wanted and that was: a $10 million net worth by age 50. Then, he wrote his goal down, big and bold, and stuck it to his kitchen wall.

Now, you might wonder, does this approach really help? But think about it this way: seeing that number daily reminded Craig of his dream and kept him motivated regardless of what was going on that day.

Next, Craig got real about his expectations. He knew that just seeing a number wouldn’t cut it. That’s because he had to make this dream feel as real as possible. So, what did he do?

Well, Craig made a list of what his $10 million goal would look like to him.

For Craig, this meant a house in Hawaii, being able to travel the world, and funding scholarships for underprivileged children. And so, to make the list more real, he attached pictures representing his goals to each one of the items.

Now, stay with me here because this is more than simple daydreaming. That’s because the pictures of his goals made the outcome real and tangible to Craig so that he knew exactly what his financial decisions would help him accomplish.

Finally, Craig got serious about his visualization practice, and that’s where the magic started to happen. That’s because Craig started visualizing his desired outcomes every single day. Now, can you imagine how powerful it would be to be so focused on what you want from your life that you don’t lose focus of it regardless of what’s going on in your life?

Well, by doing so, Craig could almost taste the life he was dreaming of, and it drove him to push even harder toward his financial goals.

And, so, what happened?

Well, as he spent more time mentally rehearsing the life he wanted, Craig noticed he was more willing to take more risks. 

He asked for that promotion he’d been eyeing, he got serious about his disciplined investment strategy, and even began exploring side hustles to diversify his income. And wouldn’t you know it, his net worth started to climb faster than he ever thought was possible.

And here’s the kicker: just after his 48th birthday, Craig hit his goal a full two years earlier than planned. And at that point, he was standing in his beachfront home, traveling the world and giving scholarships to needy kids. But the best part? It wasn’t just about the money. Craig found that the real magic was in the journey and the incredible power of mental rehearsal that got him there.

The Power of Mental Rehearsal

Now, while Craig’s story may sound too good to be true, the fact is that our mindset and how we view our life goals have a lot of sway on whether or not we achieve our desired life goals.

And at this point, it’s critical to note here that the kind of visualization we’re talking about is not necessarily one associated with the Law of Attraction, or the “Name it and Claim It” prosperity gospel. 

To be sure, while the jury is out on whether thinking good thoughts about what we want from life will actually manifest them, what we’re talking about here is the proven method of priming our brains for a desired life outcome so that we can better do the work, rather than simply wishing our desires into existence.

Indeed, looking at mental rehearsal from the perspective of sports, psychologist Aidan Moran has been known to say that “sports are played with the body and won in the mind.”

And, so what does this mean?

Well, the saying suggests that winning in sports goes beyond mere physical dominance. That’s because athletes who can harness the power of their minds by channeling their mental strength, visualizing success, setting goals, and employing effective strategies are more likely to achieve ultimate victory.

And so, what does sports have to do with money? Well, the truth is that top-performing athletes often acknowledge that their opponent isn’t the person staring at them from the other side of the court, but rather, it’s often the person staring at them from the other side of the mirror.

That’s why when it comes to mental rehearsal in performance training, Jim Afremow, the author of “The Champion’s Mind,” has some valuable insights for upping your game when it comes to mastering your journey to financial independence.

Goal Setting

To start, you need to consider the fact that mental rehearsal plays a vital role in goal setting. And why’s that? Well, that’s because visualization helps you take obscure or ethereal desires and turn them into something you can touch, taste and smell.

For example, have you ever visualized yourself living in a new house while touring homes with your real estate agent? Or how about imagining your child’s experience at a new school during an open house? Could you recall how you felt in those moments?

Well, if you can, then you’ve likely already experienced the power of visualization when it comes to setting your goals. To be sure, to make the practice successful for you, Afremow suggests frequently visualizing yourself accomplishing your desired outcomes, whether it’s winning a competition, attaining personal financial milestones, or achieving financial freedom through your savings goals.

Indeed, by consistently envisioning your success, you enhance your focus, motivation, and belief in your ability to achieve those objectives. To be sure, when engaging in vivid mental imagery or visualization, the brain can activate similar neural networks and pathways as it does during actual experiences. This activation can lead to physiological and psychological responses similar to those experienced in real-life situations.

What’s more, visualizing yourself in your desired financial state will not only help you set goals, it can also boost your motivation and focus your energy towards achieving those highly desired life goals. Now, these outcomes typically happen because you’re using the power of your imagination to generate positive emotions and feelings of accomplishment to get a taste of what achieving that goal might feel like.

Again, this mental rehearsal process will help keep you motivated during challenging times, help you remain focused on your objectives, help you avoid distractions, and, most importantly, help you avoid making impulsive financial decisions that could derail your financial independence journey.

Develop a Mental Rehearsal Practice

Alright, so once you have a clear idea of which objectives you want to pursue, the next step in using visualization to fast-track your financial goals is to mentally rehearse your desired life outcomes.

And, so, how do you do this?

Well, start by visualizing the satisfaction and joy you’ll experience once you achieve your goals. As in Craig’s case, this could include tapping into the feeling of cruising up the driveway of your house in Hawaii, experiencing the awe and wonder of visiting a new country or seeing the joy in a child’s face when they realize that you’ve helped them pay for college.

Now, naturally, on the surface, constantly thinking about your desired financial goals might seem a little like daydreaming.

But, the truth is that mental rehearsal is much more than daydreaming because it’s a way to prime your brain for the outcome that you want to achieve. In fact, mental rehearsal is an approach used by the soccer great Pele, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, Muhammad Ali, Tiger Woods, and many other well-known athletes to prime their minds for the outcomes they desire before actually doing the work.

Now, when it comes to applying this concept to your finances, you’ll likely want to make the outcome more than just about achieving your life goals but also about the actions you need to take to achieve those outcomes. For example, take the time to visualize what your typical week or month looks like when it comes to how you’re handling your finances.

For example, imagine your ideal financial situation and visualize specific milestones, such as paying off debts, saving a targeted amount of money, or acquiring assets that can produce income later on in life. And by creating a clear mental image of what you need to do to hit your life goals, you can develop a long-term roadmap along with short-term actionable steps that you can touch, taste and feel to reach them more efficiently.

To be sure, can you vividly imagine how you would feel checking your bank statements to see how your spending and savings are aligned with your overall life goals? And how do you want to feel knowing that your savings balances are growing consistently or that they’re solid enough to cover your lifestyle goals until you die, thanks to the choices that you’re currently making?

That’s the power of mental rehearsal and visualization.

Again, it’s essential to note here that we’re not talking about wishful thinking. To be sure, the field of neuroscience has a lot to say about how neurons that fire together wire together, and that’s a discussion for another time. But when it comes down to it, what you should know is that mental rehearsal helps improve connections in your brain that link effort to outcome.

Remember, the mind is, for the most part, a lazy member of our physiological system. It prefers habits and novelty and tends to focus on things you’re good at or generally enjoy doing. So then, from this perspective, mental rehearsal allows you to prime your brain and body for future habits and desired outcomes by pairing images and scenarios of success with a physiological outcome that links potential achievement with positive emotions.

Indeed, through visualization, you can mentally rehearse the daily choices you’ll need to make with your money with utmost clarity. And by creating detailed mental images, you are effectively training your brain to simulate the actual physical experience associated with that work.

Overcome Limiting Beliefs

The last point we’ll cover when it comes to mental rehearsal is how it’s a great way to overcome limiting money beliefs and how it can help you build confidence in your financial abilities. Now, if you’re having trouble being consistent with doing the work to hit your financial goals, like sticking to your budget, it may have something to do with your belief in your ability to achieve these goals.

And that’s where mental rehearsal can help out.

That’s because visualization allows you to rehearse those behaviors necessary to achieve your life goals while helping you identify blindspots and potential derailers to create potential solutions.

And, so, how do you go about doing this work?

Well, to start, identify any negative beliefs or doubts you may have about your financial potential and replace them with empowering imagery. This could include imagining yourself finally overcoming those bad habits or derailers that have been holding you back, and what it would feel like to finally attain your measure of financial success.

To be sure, this visualization practice will not only help you challenge your limiting beliefs but also help you develop a confident mindset, enabling you to take bold actions such as investing, starting a business, or negotiating for better financial outcomes in your life.

Use Mental Rehearsal to Fast-track Your Financial Goals

Now, if you’re still not sure where to begin with all this mental rehearsal work, consider this: what would your dream life look like, and how would achieving your financial goals bring this vision to life? Can you feel the excitement bubbling within as you step into your dream home, or experience the pride coursing through your veins as you fund your child’s college education without any debt?

That’s the power of mental rehearsal kicking in.

Now, drawing on Craig’s story, reflect on the impact of visualization in your life. Picture the confidence you would feel asking for a deserved promotion or the thrill of discovering a new investment opportunity that aligns perfectly with your financial goals. At the same time, imagine the satisfaction of seeing your savings grow steadily or the relief in realizing that you’re financially prepared for your post-employment years no matter what comes at you.

To be sure, your dreams aren’t as far-fetched or unachievable as you might think. In fact, it’s quite the contrary. Your financial dreams are within your grasp, and it starts with mentally rehearsing how your life will look when you achieve that outcome.

Indeed, just like in sports, the battlefield is in your mind, and victory starts there. And by frequently visualizing your desired financial state, you’ll find an increase in your focus, motivation, and belief in your ability to reach your goals, but most importantly, you’ll be taking one step closer to becoming the master of your own financial independence journey.