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"We are the protagonists of our stories called life, and there is no limit to how high we can fly."

Type rated on A330, B747-400, B747, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Power of Visualization

Don’t underestimate the power of visualization and the impact on the brain!

Researchers have determined that when we visualize something in vivid color with detail, our minds cannot determine if we're actually looking at the item or not.

Years ago Dr. Blaslotto, at the University of Chicago, had conducted a test where he gathered a group of people off the street and put a basketball in their hands. After they demonstrated their abilities to throw free throw shots, he split the group into three equal groups of similar skill level. The first group he told to practice every day for an hour. The second group he told to visualize throwing free throw shots, with the ball going through the hoop, every day for an hour. The third group he told them not to think about basketball at all. Thirty days later he brought the three groups back together.

The first group that had practiced daily improved 24%.
The second group that had only “visualized” practicing daily improved 23%.
The third group had no improvement.

A prisoner of war was able to keep his golf score within a few strokes just by visualizing his swing golf swing while sitting in prison for twenty years!

The stories are many… and my favorite is how I practiced for my A330 maneuvers validation in the bathtub.

I closed my eyes and visualized setting up the flight deck, practiced my flows, and flew multiple approaches to landing. It works! And… works better than looking at a picture. If you can train your mind to see the cockpit overhead panel, and visualize moving the switches… isn’t that more challenging than actually looking at the picture? And the best thing is… your mind doesn’t know the difference. Think about that picture for the perfect landing and when to flare. Can you see it? Then keep seeing it and practice ten landings tonight.

You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll improve.

Tomorrow… some great ideas on how to improve your memory!


  1. Great post!! and I totally agree on that which I've been doing 'mental flying' to keep myself proficient for the next flight! =)and it works!!

  2. JuJu, Thank you so much for your comment! I've been off for 30 days from checkride to the line... first flight Monday, and I am using this too. It works...and so glad to see other people doing this too. Have a great next flight!

  3. What an incredibly powerful post Karlene, I love it! I'm going to visualizez signing that publisher's contract now!

  4. Heather, I am visualizing the signing for you too! We really do send our thoughts into the universe. Many studies on that too... and it works! I can see it! Three weeks... NY here you come!

  5. Great post! I've heard about the basketball experiment before. Fascinating!! I wonder if it works for snagging literary agents lol.

  6. Wonderful post! I really appreciated this. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Great post, Karlene. Creative visualization has gotten me through many tough situations where I knew I was going to feel challenged and visualized myself succeeding brilliantly (or at least still standing!) before stepping into the challenging moment. You are so right -- it really works. Yep. Visualize it and send it to the universe -- I'm in!

  8. Thanks Linda! Now can we visualize success with our pitches this weekend? I can see it! Do you think there will be an impact with the universe with all our thoughts banging around out there? :)

  9. Visualisation is indeed a key part of success. In one of our chats with Matt Hall (exRAAF fighter pilot & now Australia's Red Bull Air Racer) he explains how he uses visualisation to prepare for flying the Red Bull track (and being on the winning podium :)

    Check it out at:

    (sorry for the shameless plug, but it's an amazing chat about this topic as well as some fun stuff like flying his P51 :) )

  10. Grant, you are a pilot... yes? Okay... so you have grounds to be shameless (on occasion) :) Thank you for the great link! And... the excellent comments on the power of visualization.

  11. MBW... YES! We're counting on this power to snag an agent. Let me know when and I'll work on that for you!!!

  12. Thank YOU Julie! I'm working on visualizing waking up in 5 hours. Hope it works! lol


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