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Can Mirror Neurons Make You a Star in Your Career?

Athletes in football, baseball, soccer and golf swear by the amount of physical
practice they put in. Superstars spend almost as much practice time on conditioning
their mind for winning. Is this just more New Age weirdness?

You can use Creative Imagery to become an expert in your career. Some CEOs
believe they won and maintain their position through insights gained by Mental
Conditioning.

Is there scientific evidence to prove the value of Mental Practice?

History

In 1980 a group of scientists at the University of Parma, Italy headed by Dr.


Giacomo Rizzolatti, discovered the existence of Mirror Neurons in Macaque
monkeys. Placing electrodes on the brain’s premotor cortex, whenever the monkeys
used their hands or mouth, these Mirror Neurons fired.

Wait! When the monkeys saw other creatures use their hands or mouth – the
Mirror Neurons fired. No scientific journal would publish their research.
Key point: there has been no proof of Mirror Neurons in Homo sapiens - until 2010.

So What

Mirror Neurons firing is the gist of Creative Imagery. In the 1980 Olympics the
Russians (Soviet) team did the following scientific experiment to boost the skills
of their athletes:
I) Group one did 100% of physical training.
II) Group two did 75% physical training and 25% mental
training (visualization).
III) Group three did 50% physical and 50% mental
training.
IV) Group four did 75% mental and 25% physical training.

Result: The fourth group showed the greatest improvement in performance. The
Russian Olympic coaches concluded that mental training (creative visualizing)
produced the following:
a) Increase in personal motivation.
b) Boosted athletic confidence because they visualized
themselves winning their events.
c) Improved Attention-Span by eliminating
distractions from intruding on their training
sessions.

Who Cares

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We have been teaching Creative Visualization for ten years to train executives and
students for positive results in acing exams, making presentations and winning
promotions. The most effective approach for us is 50% cognitive and memory
training and 50% Creative Imagery.

Athletes use the system of Creative Imagery internationally. The explanation is


Monkey-See-Money-Do in your brain. Some coaches call it Muscle Memory.

It still sounds ridiculous to attempt to affect the outer world via changing one’s
thoughts. We believe it follows in the footsteps of professor Ivan Pavlov and his
work on Conditioning and Association.

Mentally seeing yourself successfully performing (sinking the hole, throwing a


touchdown) repetitively, creates a mind-map for reality. Google: reinforcement.

Who Says So

Reporting in the April 2010 edition of the Journal – Current Biology, “First Direct
Recording of Mirror Neurons in Humans.” The team led by Dr. Itzhak Fried,
UCLA professor produced fMRI evidence Mirror Neurons fire not only when we
perform a particular action, but when we watch someone else perform the same
action.

Get this: many researchers conclude that Mirror Neurons are what makes us
Human. Why? Mirror Neurons permit us to empathize and feel what others
are experiencing including pain and pleasure. We are reading the minds of others.

Inquiring Minds must know: Mirror neurons are located in our Medial Frontal
and Medial Temporal Cortices, and in our eyes and memory.

The Point Is

Mirror Neurons fire in our eyes when we receive information from our Retina,
Optic-Nerve and brain. They also fire from our imagination using virtual reality –
what we choose to create through volition (will power). Mental Imagery is equal
in Mirror Neuron firing, to seeing reality. Imagined events are equal to live reality.

The firing occurs is the Motor regions of our brain as well as vision and memory.
Different brain areas control separate functions such as movement – seeing – and
memory. We SEE and learn while awake, asleep and dreaming, and daydreaming.
They are all a form of SEEING & produce Emotional learning.

When watching others perform actions (throwing, running, grabbing, eating)


we can automatically interpret and decode their emotions and intentions.
Humans are linked with each other through our Mirror Neurons – think about it.

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What about learning by Imitation, verbal and non-verbal communication and
empathy (rapport, emotional understanding, & insight)? Right, it is our Mirror
Neurons in action. Practicing mentally - equals practicing physically.

How To Do Creative Imagery:

1. Sit down and please close your eyes. It helps you go into
Alpha Hz (cycles per second) and out of Beta
consciousness. Adds deep relaxation and faster learning.
2. Take a deep diaphragmatic breath and hold it for a count
of three-seconds – “one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand
etc.” Exhale slowly and do it twice more. Ready?
3. Mental visualize a positive scene in your office for
example, being congratulated on a new promotion. See all
the details of the scene, the colors, the smells and sounds.
4. Feel the emotions as-if you were experiencing the
successful event in reality. How would you feel about it?
5. Maintain a broad SMILE on your face throughout this
pleasurable exercise. Feel the positive experience.

How Long

Each Creative Imagery exercise requires a minimum of 5 minutes of visualization.


To create a mental habit requires 21 consecutive days of creative visualization
meditation. A certain golf superstar spends 30 minutes daily mentally visualizing
each hole he will play He also physically practices and says he would never give up
Creative Mental Practice. He claims it gives him the winning edge.

Endwords

Mirror Neurons have been a pleasant myth up to April 2010. The scientific evidence
has arrived and labeling Mental Visualization, New Age foolishness is dead and
buried. Google: Conditioning, Reinforcement, and Association.

Our personal experience teaching corporate executives and students (through


law school), suggests cognitive practice alone is not as efficacious as adding mental
visualizations to the mix. Together, major strides in achievement can occur.
Do a Mind Experiment as A. Einstein did and judge for yourself.
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See you.

Question: Would you have a competitive advantage in your career by reading and
remembering three (3) articles, reports and books in the time your peers can hardly
finish one? We suggest Knowledge is Power.

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copyright 2010 H. Bernard Wechsler www.speedlearning.org
hbw@speedlearning.org
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