Worrying or Imagineering?

Which do you do?

“Imagineering” is “positive engineering.” It’s literally CREATING the future.

Worrying is creating what you don’t want.

The mental capacity to imagine and see what you want is the essential step in maintaining your capacity to believe that what you want will happen. Do it often enough and it takes the worry out. Or every time you worry, use it as a cue to start the “Imagineering” process and see in your mind’s eye what you want.

Write down what you imagine. Don’t get trapped by thinking that you are protecting yourself from disappointment because you won’t get what you imagined. That’s a retreat from the world that draws to you what you worry about.

Every one from Einstein, to Edison, to Bell, and even Gandhi and Mandela, have told us to imagine what we want to see.

Imagineering takes us out of primarily left-brain problem solving of the immediate issues of our day to the more right brain capacity to create and imagine.

Imagineering lets us see what is known in faith, and it’s like pouring ice water on the amygdala of fight/flight, fear, and dread.

Your brain likes to imagine. It likes even more to be guided and directed to what you want to think and what you want to feel. It uses less psychic energy when we are much more complicit in what we are creating in our future.

Real or not, negative visualization from imagination, which is really worry, kicks the brain into the flight/flight response, and all of the stress hormones are let loose.

You can go through life on physiological high alert when there is really very little going on around you, except in what you have negatively created in your own brain.

Worry is creating negative pictures of the future.  It creates anxiety and then the anxiety creates more negative pictures.  We all know the cycle.  But could it be a cue toward good?

For sure.  Here’s how.

Begin to catch every worry or negative picture of the future and use it as a CUE.

Decide that this “worry picture” will be a cue for you to imagine something good.

Start imaging something good that you want in the future.  Keep imagining it.  Imagine it in great detail.  Start planning around this event.  Return to this image and refine it and change as you wish. Feel the feelings of already having it.

As you start imagineering, you will become aware that you also have to get clearer and clearer about what it is that you are wanting.

Very often anxiety is a sign that we are not in touch with what we are really wanting, that we are not clear.

Instead of worrying or making resolutions, try “imagineering” what you want.

About the author

Dr. William K. Larkin
  • Nick Earl

    I love the idea of using negative patterns as cues to create new positive patterns. As someone who’s developed a bit of a negative habit of worrying (imagining what I don’t want, and having negative self talk about it) this may take some work. But it’s definitely going to be worth the investment of energy and awareness. Worry really does drain you of so much enjoyment and fun in life, and apart from the fact it’s negative, you miss out on the present moment enjoyment.

    So I will begin to be aware of when I’m running the negative pattern of worry in my mind, and begin to self-redirect myself towards imagining what I want, just like the post has explained!


    • Susan Whitcomb

      Nick, I grew up in an environment where all the negative possibilities were considered, so can really relate. I used to walk around telling myself in various forms and fashions that there wasn’t enough. And, there often wasn’t. My new mantra is “I have everything I need…right now,” which helps me shift into a mindset to be able to see the provision I need–whether it be tangible provision (finances, networking connections, etc.) or the more intangible but just-as-important provision (attitude, hope, peace, strength to tackle a task, etc.). That “seeing” of provision seems to connect with the “imagineering” idea, I think. I’m noodling on that!

      • Nick Earl

        Great comment Susan, thanks for taking the time to chime in 🙂 I’m really happy to be part of this group, It’s really some top level ish 🙂

        • Susan Whitcomb

          Hey, you inspire me Nick. I can’t believe you’re getting up at, what, 2 or 3 in the morning to do this class? I’m impressed. Makes me think “I can do more”!

  • Marsha Copeland

    I feel my lean towards worry has diminished in the last several years. I have seen the negative effect on one’s health worry can produce. I recognize within myself how small minded and limited I become when engaging in worry. The cascade of images becomes fixed. Verses viewing the opening to my vast expansive mind through imagineering where my Genius lives that can solve whatever problem is presented.

  • Karen Pierce

    This blog post really hits home with me. One of my biggest habits to break is worrying. My gratitude for ANI and the tools I’ve learned during this first 20 weeks is too much to express here for helping me break move toward breaking this bad habit. I’ve noticed that when I get into long worry periods my body actually feels contracted, and like there is pressure being exerted on my head and shoulders in a downward motion. Walking seems heavier. The muscles around my eyes actually feel constricted as well. Whew! A lot of energy going into this worry!

    With the help of the emotional gym and other tools from ANI I can now redirect my attention much faster. Recently I decided to add a technique to the ANI tools that I learned in some of my Native American circles earlier in my life. It seems that in some tribal cultures (indigenous people have known so much about the psyche way before we have figured it out) who are aware of the importance of attention and manifestation have a practice they do when they get into negative imagineering. They say aloud: “That’s a story that doesn’t need to get told”, and they repeat this three times for every time they do negative imagineering. They were already clued into the fact it takes a ratio of at least 3 positives to overcome 1 negative thought or feeling, perhaps intuitively! This technique, added to the Emotional Gym has been highly effective for me. I carry it further and imagine what I do want and say aloud: “This IS a story that needs to get told”. I have also used this with my FuturePac work. Looking at what I want to manifest in my goals and pictures I’ve found to put in my FuturePac scrap book, feeling gratitude that I already have it, and saying aloud: “This IS a story that DOES need to get told” three times has helped the feeling of certitude to be strengthened–certitude that I will get what I want to manifest. When negative imaginings start up, which I know will around why I won’t achieve the goals (bad habits are hard to break) I will repeat the “This is a story that does NOT need to get told”, and return to looking at my scrap book. Thank you ANI!

  • Guest

    When I read “Don’t get trapped by thinking that you are protecting yourself from disappointment because you won’t get what you imagined” I was reminded of the concept of “defensive pessimism,” mentioned by Jonathan D. Brown and Margaret A. Marshall in their study “Great Expectations: Optimism and Pessimism in Achievement Settings.” Their results revealed that low expectations do not diminish the pain of failure. Low expectations lead to worse results and fail to protect us from negative emotions when the unwanted outcomes occur.

    I also appreciated this: “very often anxiety is a sign that we are not in touch with what we are really wanting.” I will watch for this in my own work-life this week.

  • Susan Whitcomb

    This post reminds me of what we discussed in our first class about flipping the switch to activate neural pathways using these four methods: focus, goals, reward or punishment, and benefit. To help me remember these four items, I created the learning device of F2R2, which stands for:
    Focus: pay careful attention to the task, object, person
    Future: focus on future or goals
    Reward: expect a reward
    Relevance: does my brain judge this relevant and beneficial

    As I “imagineer,” I will be focusing on what I want to create in the future, making sure there is a relevant reward!

  • Joanne E Harrington

    Since starting Course 1, I have slowly decreased the amount of time spent
    contingency planning which is the term I substitute for “worry”. Now with
    the ANI learning under my belt these last 17 weeks, I have clued into the
    benefits of re-designing my worries as imagining positive outcomes to whatever triggers worry and concern. When I think about all the time I have spent planning to be ready for whatever unexpected contingency might come my way that could ruin a thoughtfully planned day, it boggles the mind. Perhaps subconsciously I thought such planning would keep me safe.
    As I learned early on, optimists are not obsessive about planning.

    On the other hand, I have also learned to be kind to myself and in doing so I also recognize that some of the contingency planning that I do/did
    is a manifestation of my action strengths of positivity and arranger. Now fellow blog responders, please weigh in if you think these next few thoughts are pure rationalization. One of the great things about gaining skills and abilities over the course of one’s working life, is that these attributes affords one the opportunity to imagine even greater mastery. So when I reflect
    on my worry habit, I know that I didn’t always feel frightened or
    apprehensive. On a number of occasions, upcoming meetings and other work related events produced excitement and happiness. If I was giving a
    presentation or attending an important meeting, I’d consider when and how to
    make a point persuasively. I pictured myself skillfully answering tough
    questions. Such imagineering gave me a feeling of preparedness. I feel my preparedness for such situations, in advance of the actual experience was a way for me to anticipate a good result. It wasn’t worry driven. It was preparedness driven.

    I didn’t have the ANI language to explain the motivation in terms of Imagineering a positive outcome.
    All I know is that the process of Imagineering as I now know what to
    call it has always been helpful to me in building resilience and a psychic energy buffer should life experiences go haywire. I am mindful as I write this of the concept of “just this” as a means of creating flow. Seems to me Imagineering creates the right conditions to enable flow to flourish.

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