Weekly TKD Lesson

“When schemes are laid in advance and seen in one’s minds eye, it
is surprising how often the circumstances will appear that fit in
with them.”
                                 –Sir William Osler
Highly motivated achievers find the strength of their motivation in
the power of their imagination.

One of the wonderful aspects about human imagination is that it can
see things not as they are now, but as they can be; it can foretell
the future, based upon our beliefs and expectations, in an almost
uncanny way; it can draw the colorful mental images that we hope
someday to turn into reality.

Imagination is the beginning of creation.

Dr. David McClelland of Harvard University demonstrated this
through a series of “projective tests.” In these tests, McClelland
used photographs or drawings depicting basic scenes.

For instance, in one photograph, a man was lying in bed with his
eyes closed. His hand was raised and extended over an alarm clock
on the table next to the bed. A window in the background was bright
with the rays of early morning sunlight. McClelland asked his
subjects to either describe the scene or tell a story about the
person in the picture.

To be sure that the responses were solely a function of
motivational levels, the subjects for each test were people of the
same sex, age, social background, and level of education.

This was McClelland’s hypothesis: Since all motivation comes from
internal images, the subjects in the study who demonstrated the
highest and most active levels of imaginative power would become
the most successful in achieving their personal goals.

He called these people “highly motivated achievers.”

His experiments confirmed his hypothesis. He found that highly
motivated achievers told action-filled, goal-oriented stories about
the scenes.

People with a lower motivational level generally gave bland,
passive descriptions of the images.

For example, after viewing the photo of the man in bed holding out
his hand toward the clock, a highly motivated achiever might
describe a man who has to wake up early and get back to work on an
important project that kept him up late the night before. They
would even describe details of the project.

On the other hand, McClelland’s less motivated subjects tended
toward a passive interpretation of the scene. Many described a
sleeping man who is reaching to turn off the alarm because it’s
Saturday and he doesn’t have to go to work.

McClelland was not content to accept the results of the first study
at face value. He continued to ask himself the following question:
What if individuals don’t start off with a vivid imagination, but
their professional position demands a vivid imagination?

If, in fact, highly motivated achievers developed their imaginative
abilities in response to their jobs, it would mean that their
imaginative powers might not have played a role in motivating them
to their level of extraordinary success.

In other words, how could McClelland be certain that the vivid
imagination of these individuals was a cause of success and not a
result of it?

He solved the problem by devising a second study that took 14 years
to complete.

For four years, he gave his projective test to college students.
After giving the last projective test, he compiled the results and
divided the students into two groups. The first group comprised
those who showed the same traits as the highly motivated achievers
of his earlier study, and the second group included those who were
of average motivation.

McClelland then waited 10 years before he could complete his study,
giving the students time to establish careers. He knew that if
those with the most vivid imaginations were the same ones who had
advanced furthest up the corporate ladder, he would have proof that
vivid imaginations played a key role in helping people advance the
furthest in life. He would have proof that a vivid, action-oriented
imagination was a cause, a prerequisite in maintaining a highly
motivated state, not just a result of success.

Ultimately, McClelland’s findings confirmed his expectations.

The highly motivated achievers, those students who told the most
vivid, action-oriented stories in the projective tests, had most
often chosen entrepreneurial careers involving a large amount of
personal responsibility, initiative, and personal risk.

The other students gravitated to non-entrepreneurial fields that
required much less personal initiative. From the 14-year study,
McClelland concluded that highly motivated achievers find the
strength of their motivation in the power of their imagination.

McClelland’s research may seem complex, but there’s one principle
woven throughout all his studies: The more vivid and real the image
that motivates you, the stronger the motivation.

How about you?

Are your goals clear and detailed in your imagination or are they
just some fuzzy black and white picture that you have never really
given much thought to?

As we hold a picture in the hands of our imagination, the enormous
power of our minds is set on achieving it. Soon, depending upon the
difficulty and complexity of the image, it is ours… it is a
reality, whereas before, it was only a picture in our imagination.

Starting today, use your imagination to make a clear picture of
what you want in life: your family, students, your school, home,
car, everything that you desire in your life and then get started
on achieving it.

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