Your Life Is Not A Vision Board

There’s this thing that I find really useful when I want something in life, it’s called “Hard Work” and it seems to be pretty effective.  I know, for many people the words “hard” and “work” used next to each other in the same sentence in that particular order is incredibly off-putting, but seriously, hear me out – it’s really, REALLY effective.

I was at an event in San Diego back in 2011 when I first ran across the idea of a “vision board” and candidly I was horrified.  This very excitable young lady bounded up on stage and presented a full 45-minute session to over 200 people about how she used this “strategy” to bring “manifest” significant positive outcomes in her life.

I’m using a lot of quotation marks in this email, sorry about that but in this context, if you can just imagine me saying those words sarcastically then you’ll see the benefit.

Anyway, back to the happy lady.

I’m generally not a rude person, albeit I can be a bit direct so when it came to the Q&A portion of the festivities, I couldn’t help but grab the mic and ask a pretty blunt question.

“Thanks for sharing with us your art project, but could you enlighten us with what you actually did for clients and customers to generate revenue for yourself?”

She was not happy with my referring to her vision boards as an art project, to her way of thinking these things were the equivalent of some super Jedi mind trick.  Her response to my question was terse, “I did coaching.”

The woman in front of me grabbed took the mic and asked a follow-up, “What were you coaching people in exactly?”

The whole room pretty much knew what was coming next and her answer didn’t disappoint, “I taught people how to manifest the life they deserve by using vision boards.”

This guy across the room laughed out loud raucously.  She glared at him in a way that suggested she was trying to manifest him a stroke at that moment in time.

I’d like to say that the audience tore her apart and shredded her but I think we all knew she was a fraud or as I more commonly refer to them now, she was a Hopium Dealer.  Her entire schtick was telling people she changed her life by creating a vision board and then sell you on the idea that she can teach you how to do the same.

If you’re not familiar with what a vision board is, let me do my best to enlighten you without making myself feel stupid by even writing it down.

Basically, you cut out pictures of things you want – nice house, a picture of somewhere you’d like to live, a new car or whatever and you stick them to something like a large pin board.  If you’re extra ambitious you can write down some positive thoughts or daily affirmations and pin those to the vision board.

Once you’ve done that, you basically stare at it a lot and focus on those things.  When I say a lot, I mean a metric tonne’s worth of focus.  Like, you should be doing Care Bear Stare type focus on that thing.  It needs to burn into your cerebral cortex so that your subconscious mind knows you want those things.

Then carry on with your day.

I know, I know… You’re sitting there thinking, “Hold up Sean, when do I actually do the stuff required to earn those things that I want?”

Well, I’ve got one magical word for you… Hold tight because this little golden nugget is the game changer that takes a vision board and lifts it out and above scrapbooking or making pictorial collages…

You ready?


BOOM!  Feel that enlightenment!

If you focus on that vision board long enough, hard enough and you really buy into it, the universe will deliver it to you because you’ve “manifested” it.

Ok, let me be clear for you – the whole premise of manifesting stuff is total and utter BS that is predicated on the tiniest sliver of psychology research and pseudo pop psychology logic.

There is some research that says if you keep showing yourself something routinely, that you’ll start seeing that thing more often.  Your brain starts to recognising that thing more actively and taking note of it.

The pop psychology kicks in at the point where you start acting subconsciously to get the thing that you want.  There’s no real, peer-reviewed or blind study research to suggest this is true.

The usual example you hear used is the black Mercedes.  If you want a black, Mercedes AMG then you put a picture of the car in places you look regularly – your screensaver on your computer, your phone background, a picture on your desk, etc.  Then over time you’ll start behaving in a way that subconsciously you start working towards a path where you put yourself in a position to buy that car.

That all sounds interesting, it’s just, unfortunately, a big giant myth.

Manifestation is the entrepreneurial equivalent of religion.  You suspend all logic and rational thought and start accepting make believe as fact.  You start hoping rather than planning and executing.

Let me be as clear as I can be… If your business plan is put together using a glue stick, holiday or car magazine clippings and a healthy dollop of feel-good quotes and memes, you’re living a fantasy and you should stop doing that.

You cannot leave your life or your business up to the universe to sort out for you because you TOTES WANT something and your contribution to that simple be looking at pictures and feel-good slogans.

If you want something, don’t leave it up to chance.  Make a plan, work hard and be honest with yourself about the effort required.  Just because people are trying to sell you Hopium, that doesn’t mean you have to take it!

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