Should we throw away our vision boards?

What is a vision board?

A vision board is a collection of images that represent your goal. The idea popularised by The Secret is that making one of these will focus you enabling you to reach your goal. In a lot of ways this sounds like a good idea.

What are the benefits of vision boards?

Of course making goals does have benefits such as clarifying what you want to do and how you are going to get there. Visual imagery also can be beneficial particularly if you tend to think visually. The claim in The Secret was that they harness the power of attractional energy and if the techniques are followed correctly they will course you to achieve your goal.

What does the evidence say about vision boards?

Neil Farber in a recent controversial post on his Psychology Today blog outlines a number of experiments that show in various ways that creating visual images about your goals such as your dream job or images about studying can result in less action towards those goals.

His conclusion is that spending time creating images in your mind, dreaming about your goal can lead you to just do that – dream and fantasise about it rather than take actual steps towards it.

He also points out that these images and our resulting lack of success can also lead us to spiral down into despair blaming ourselves for not reaching our dreams.

In his follow up article he points out that the success of these vision boards appears completely anecdotal. There are also many cases of people achieving in life without using such techniques.

He also points out that a vision board gives you no guarantee that your vision will be realised. Following all the instructions and believing without a doubt may not be enough if you have a completely unrealistic vision.

What is the alternative to vision boards?

Instead Farber puts forward the value of action. We need to get started with our plans. Do something. Take steps towards the realisation of the vision not just dream about it.

What do you think?

Is Farber right? Could this technique lead us to just fantasising about our goals? How can we ensure that we do take the necessary steps? How do we get the balance right when focusing on our goals? I’d very interested in your thoughts.

Positive Psychology in a Nutshell

A book review

If you are interested in positive psychology and want a light simple yet comprehensive introduction then this book is for you. Actually Positive Psychology in a Nutshell is more than an introduction; it is also an up to date and balanced overview of the whole area.

For such a small book it is surprisingly thorough. The serious student might want a more detailed text but still Positive Psychology in a Nutshell should whet their appetite. I would recommend this as a very good starting point for anyone. It outlines all the major areas and issues clearly and concisely.

The tables and diagrams delightfully convey complex ideas to the lay person. Positive Psychology in a Nutshell is very readable and presented in a friendly and entertaining style. The occasional personal anecdote and relaxed style makes for easy reading but not at the expense of the necessary rigour.

Not only does this book introduce all the major areas of positive psychology but its little tips and exercises will get you immediately applying some of the principles to your own life. Positive Psychology in a Nutshell is not exactly a workbook but it is very practical and you each chapter explains positive principles that can improve your life.