Visualizing Success

In undergrad when I was supposed to be building little stereochemical models using plastic balls and sticks, I read a lot of self-development books instead. Many of them spoke to the power of visualization and its simple three steps:

1) Visualize one’s goals with as much details as possible as if they have already been achieved. Note how it feels, what it looks like and heck, even how it smells if you can swing it.

2) Write down those details then put the paper away and forget about it.

3) Accidentally happen upon that piece of paper some time later and recognize with shock that you managed to realize your heart’s desires without even “trying”.

The secret lies with the subconscious: once you defined what success is in the most primordial way (that is, what it feels like to each of your senses), the subconscious then knows what to work towards and guides your subsequent decisions in a way conducive to the realization of those sensations.

As I’m cleaning out my “treasure trunk” (a Hudson’s Bay Company limited edition metal popcorn tin) in preparation for my upcoming move, I came upon such a list I wrote on Feb 3, 2007, titled “No limitations 5 year goal”.

I guess it was one of my earlier attempts at visualization because most of the list read like a Christmas wish list (“Chanel quilted purse, Burberry trench and Louboutin red-soled shoes”) with no details of the sensations I expect to experience when those “goals” are realized. Consequently, I’m still sadly lacking those wardrobe essentials.

A slightly better one was “Working well-paid Parisian science plant-related research job” (although the grammar was admittedly shitty). Nevertheless, this attempt at visualization was better because I did end up doing research on genetically-modified tobacco plants that summer, albeit in Germany and only for a living stipend. I think I could’ve visualized with more feeling.

However, there was one winner in this list that made my skin tingle and my jaw drop. It was also the longest and the most emotionally-involved visualization: “Live in traditional but in great condition old Parisian apartment with Eiffel Tower view, on same side of the river, in cluster with other such apartments”. Bam! Five years later in 2012, I spent my February (as well as January, March and April) in precisely such a flat on rive gauche. During the five years in between the time I wrote down that goal on lined, three-ring binder paper to when I looked out my window at the Eiffel, life took me down paths I wasn’t even capable of fathoming back in 2007. Yet in spite of it all, the power of visualization still got me to that Parisian rooftop apartment.

So basically what I’m getting to is this, it’s time to get back to dreaming.

Belated Enthusiasm

Lately, I find that I’m reading of my own volition a lot of things I wouldn’t touch with a ten-feet pole back in grad school, when I was essentially paid (full scholarship) to read them. Now, I actually spend my weekends pouring over think tank publications, highlighting across the latest UN org chart and combing through the Hill Times. I even bought “The Great Political Theories – Part 1: From the Greeks to the Enlightenment” and “Part 2: From the French Revolution to Modern Times”. In contrast, my past (sparse) literary purchases ran along the lines of “It! 9 Secrets of the Rich and Famous That Will Take You To The Top”, among other more embarrassing titles.

These days, my desk is covered with more readings than that piece of wood has ever seen during my seven years of post-secondary education. I have yet to start on Donald Savoie’s “Governing from the Centre” that I promised to discuss with a colleague but the books (in French!) I ordered for the Sciences Po alumni association’s Livres de Politiques salon at the end of the month have already started to arrive.

I’m not sure what to make of this change in me, though this eagerness sure would’ve been helpful when I was in school and bullshitting through my teeth to meet the word limit for my term papers.

On TV with a Nose

This week the House returned to sitting and the social calendar suddenly became jam-packed. Among other things, I attended a panel on competition, innovation and productivity held by Canada 2020, a progressive and non-partisan centre. There, in the grand ballroom of the historic Château Laurier, Melanie Aitken (former commissioner of the Competition Bureau of Canada, who took on telecom and credit card giants during her tenure), Marcel Côté (KPMG), Glen Ives (chair of Deloitte Canada) and John Manley (president and CEO of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, as well as former Deputy Prime Minister of Canada) discussed competition in Canada and how policy is best implemented.

Competition Matters by Canada 2020, Château Laurier in Ottawa, Jan 30, 2013

Competition Matters by Canada 2020, Château Laurier, Jan 30, 2013

After the panelists staked out their positions, I approached the microphone to ask the first question. I summarized that they have mostly discussed the lack of competition and productivity at the structural (regulatory framework, tax incentives) and the organizational (concentration in low-margin industries and the tendency to sell successful start-ups to foreign conglomerates) level. However, it is the individual who votes in a government that passes certain legislation and it is again the individual who chooses the kind of business to operate (or sell). Therefore, I asked, could encouraging individual Canadians to be more risk-tolerant be the most effective way of increasing competition and productivity at the organizational and structural level?

Since starting Penning an Image, I’ve become very aware of how one is always scrutinized. So I was mentally prepared to see the following shot of me gesticulating on Canada 2020’s website (though I do wish they chose a less Jean Chrétien lip-droop version, but whatever, with enough practice, I will be like the panelists who spoke in quotable sound bites and moved in photo-friendly “shutter” bites).

Increasing competition and productivity at the structural and organizational level by encouraging risk-tolerance at the individual level.

Increasing competition and productivity at the structural and organizational level by encouraging risk-tolerance at the individual level.

What I wasn’t prepared to see was the following shots of an acquaintance’s  flat screen half-way across the province.

Seen across the country on CPAC, "20 Years of Politics in Action"

Seen across the country on CPAC, “20 Years of Politics in Action”

Direct from Ottawa, Rose talks policy (apparently) on the Canadian version of C-SPAN.

Apparently, the person with whom I haven’t spoken for over a year saw me on national television in his Toronto kitchen (thanks for sharing Mr. LSE!).

Rose’s first thought: &#@&=%!!!

Roses second thought: I hope I sounded intelligent.

Rose’s third thought: My flat little Chinese nose grew up to look quite distinguished in profile. *turning around to announce to the nearest audience, her unassuming parents:My flat little Chinese nose grew up to look quite distinguished in profile!!” (I have had a thing with my nose ever since kindergarten, when classmates used to push it because they thought it was cute. In her efforts to teach me to run away from out-stretched thumbs, Mom scared me by saying all that pushing will flatten my nose to a mere pig snout.)

Rose *to herself“Although that hair could use a serious deep oil treatment.” (Which is EXACTLY what I’m doing as I type this, but I fear it’s a lost cause)

Rose *getting back to the nose: “But look at the bridge on that one, I see some resemblance with the prominent noses of former deputy ministers of Justice!!” (I walk by their somber portraits everyday)

Dad: “Please try not to be so smug about this on your blog.”

Rose *patiently directs him to the following:

Image courtesy of Kads.