Visualizing the Right Answer
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree of Contrast.
One of the Â best Â decision-making Â tools Â I have Â ever used Â involves visualization,Â Â and Â itâ€™s Â one Â my Â personal Yoda introduced me to. I wonâ€™t describe the technique in as much depth as necessary Â to get the full benefit, but I will give you my reactions to the tool and how it worked for me personally. This is the kind of meditative experience Â thatâ€™s Â useful Â for Â anything Â where Â I Â have Â multiple paths to consider and Iâ€™m feeling ambivalent about them.
The question Â at hand Â involved Â six separate Â paths Â I could take regarding Â a business Â decision and a product/ service Iâ€™ve created.
I close my eyes and find myself in a vast forest. Daytime. Trees, mainly oaks, so thick that sunlight could not streamÂ through. Â Itâ€™sÂ comfortable, Â serene. Â Light Â trickles through the thick oak leaves and branches above and filters Â down, Â dappled Â light Â on Â the Â carpet Â of Â brown Â oak leaves under my bare feet. I love this place. Itâ€™s my enchanted forest. Itâ€™s beautiful and Iâ€™m surrounded by it.
Choice A appears in front of me. Iâ€™m told to observe my Â surroundings Â and how they change. Not much happens. I notice more Â of the brown and dead leaves. Itâ€™s peaceful, but thereâ€™s no sense of movement. The choice involves giving away a particular product of mine for free, as I often have. Itâ€™s a service-oriented choice, but I feel stuck to where Iâ€™m standing. Everything is very, very still.
Choice B is presented to me. It involves receiving a nominal Â amount Â for the product. Â A miniscule Â amount, really, but thatâ€™s what Iâ€™ve Â charged for it in recent years because Â I Â wanted Â to Â make Â it Â available Â to Â as Â many Â as neededÂ it and still cover Â basic Â costs Â for my non-profit venture. I find myself taking a step backward. Thereâ€™s a sense of nothing at my back and the forest in front of me. Thereâ€™s a little bit of disgust and disrespect I feel with this path. The first choice was at least about service Â to humanity, but this one is just…insulting. Â Yes, it covers the physical costs, but that it wouldnâ€™t be snapped up at that price is abhorrent to me. Â I see what I never saw before when this sounded Â like such a sweet idea Â to help others…the real value of it is ignored. I would rather go with Choice A and give it away than to be insulted.
I am given Choice C and I suddenly take a couple of steps forward. Strange. The forest isnâ€™t surrounding Â me now but I feel it 3/4th of the way around me. The light in the forest is more noticeable and I can just see the bright green, sunlit Â grass Â in theÂ fields Â surrounding Â the Â forest. Low-down Â to Â the Â ground, Â barely Â visible Â beneath Â the shade of the trees. But for the first time, Iâ€™m aware that thereâ€™s something beyond and outside this forest I love so much. This place is serene, and feels lighter. Iâ€™m happier here.
But before I can settle in, Iâ€™m offered Choice D. Instantly, I feel myself move forward, probably 20 or maybe even 50 feet. This place is serene and peaceful, too, and the forest fully surrounds me now. I can see more of the green fields beyond the forestâ€™s edge, so bright it almost hurts my eyes. Iâ€™m very comfortable here.
â€œNow think about Choice E,â€ Yoda instructs me.
Iâ€™m propelledâ€”or Â sucked, Â Iâ€™m Â not Â sure Â whichâ€”all the way to the edge of the forest! Iâ€™m still in the shade of the serene forest but I can look out at the bright fields in the sunshine, feel the breeze, shiver in Â excitement. The forest is all but behind me now. I like this place. Itâ€™s comfortable but thereâ€™s a buzz of excitement. Â Iâ€™m still standing in pleasant peaceful shade and Iâ€™m pleasantly cool but I can feel the warmth of the sun on the field just beyond the forest. I like it here, a lot.
Then Iâ€™m given the next choice, the final choice in the series of Â possible Â directions Â for this project. Â I step out into the sunshine. Itâ€™s warm and wonderful but so bright. Gods, itâ€™s so bright I can hardly see. I have to shade my face. Iâ€™m in the first steps of the bright green, but Iâ€™d rather be back in the edge of the forest, in the edge of the shade and Â looking out at the sunshine than in the sunshine and unable to see anything around me or even the forest so close to me.
I open my eyes, and Yoda and I talk about my visualization. The first two choices were dead still and moving backward. The third choice was a step in the right direction. The last choice was too Â much, too uncomfortable for me.
Choices D & E were much more comfortable for me, with E holding a lot more of an anticipatory buzz that I liked.
Based on this decision-making model, Iâ€™ve decided to go with Choice D for the basic idea and choice E for the expansion. I also have some bonus material that I could incorporate Â into Â the Â plan Â that Â would Â make Â me Â much more comfortable with Choice F. So in the end, I ended up with not just one course of action, but three with a little different Â alterations to fit them. Without this technique, I would never have considered anything riskier than the third of my choices.
Using a self-guided Â visualization Â and interaction Â with Yoda (taking Â notes and asking questions occasionally), I figured out my answer in about 10 minutes…to a question thatâ€™s bugged me for years.
All it took was a trip through my enchanted forest.