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How do you see Success?

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How do you see success?

By Douglas Vermeeren

Do we see things as they are or as we wish them to become? This has long been the argument of philosophers. Is it more advantageous to see the world realistically for what it is, or do we become positive thinkers and see the world from only an encouraging perspective?

The personal development industry has champions on both sides of the fence.

Some being so bold as to say that without the factual starting point of truth there can be no progression. And the other side of the argument contending that without a positive perspective and interpretation of every action, cosmic forces that be can never reward an individual with success.

So what is the truth?

At the SUCCEED Research Center we have been very interested to discover where the results really exist.

As part of our study we observed groups of high achievers primarily in business over a period of 12 consecutive months. Along the way we had them complete surveys and interviews with us indicating how they made most of their key decisions, identifying contributing factors and fears. As part of this study, we tried to determine in all cases if  these decisions were based on facts and opportunities at hand or a  yearning to create an ideal reality based on positive optimism.

Our results indicated something very interesting in regards to this subject.

The achievers view of reality was generally a reflection of their positive or negative expectations. They were creating their own illusions of reality. If the out look was great so was the interpretation of the facts. As a result when the facts were positively interpreted all the future expectations increased in positivity. They were making their decisions based on interpretation and expectation. Facts were quite irrelevant.

In other words, the top achievers were not creating results according to facts, they were indeed creating the facts as well.

There is a scientific term for individuals who recreate fact to suit their needs and desires. They are called “Counterfactuals.” Most top achievers are counterfactuals.

Top achievers tend to see the world in a way that empowers them and as a place of possibility. Even when a door closes they see or create the open window that replaces it instantly. After having experienced this a number of times, they expect an open window, even where it seems logical that one would not exist. They are innately optimistic and focused on the end result arriving in a positive way. Facts that appear to be in conflict with their destination are given very little credit.

Part of the solution can be found in the way they tend to view the world.  They see the world from a perspective of imagination rather than from a position of concrete knowledge or fact. Knowledge is secondary to imagination. Additional studies indicate the more knowledge one accumulates the more enhanced a persons ability to imagine grows.1

In 2009, The SUCCEED Research Center conducted an extensive study on visualization, imagination and the effects on performance. (See ) It was determined that where an outcome was visualized with intense emotional investment the outcome was 92% more likely to occur.  Emotional attachment was considerable more attainable when a knowledge of the visualized activity was involved. 2

In addition to simply visualizing the outcome in a positive way, talking about the outcome also significantly increased the achievers ability to create it. Talking about the result before it occurred was a strong exercise in imagination. How else could could you talk about something that hadn’t yet occurred. As a side effect, it was also determined that as an individual spoke about the challenges of the task they discovered answers solving for that task as they spoke. Now that’s imagination in action.

In conclusion, Do we see things as they are or as we wish them to become? The answer is yes.

The SUCCEED Research Center

Douglas Vermeeren is the director of the SUCCEED Research Center which is dedicated to sharing research on the systems that top achievers use to create lasting success. Over the last decade Vermeeren has interviewed more than 400 of the world’s top achievers, including business leaders, celebrities and professional or Olympic athletes. For more information and a FREE gift to increase your productivity go to and for more details on how this article can be applied to your personal success become a supporting member of The SUCCEED Research Center . There you will find tools, exercises and strategies to take you to the next level in all areas of your life.

1.Discover Presents The Brain, The Great Pretenders, Alison Gopnik  p. 38

2. Is visualization a key to success in business? The SUCCEED Research Center,

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