Improving Visualization


I was referred to the book “Mind and Memory Training” by Ernest Wood for the purpose of improving my visualization skills. The first exercise for novices was to imagine a five pointed star. I have been trying with minimal success for three days to hold the image of the star in my head. I have bought industrial grade ear muffs and a blindfold for improved concentration. Whenever I close my eyes to visualize the star, I imagine several unanticipated, and unrelated, scenarios. When I try to mentally force the star, against Ernest’s advice, in these random imaginations there is a hazy rapidly moving star interacting in the story line but when I try to focus on it the imagination changes. What am I doing wrong?


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Try to draw the star on paper and then immediately close your eyes and mentally see your drawing.

Then in your minds eye redraw the star against your visualization.
Do this until you can see the drawing without first having to draw it on paper.

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As it relates to visualization for the purpose of memorization, the most important thing to do with the image being visualized is having it interact with the surroundings in a bizarre or disturbing manner. In my experience, this
Seems to effectively solve the problem.

Thanks for the suggestions guys.

@kinma I am currently engaged in practicing your suggestion, I will let you know how it develops but I seem to be reducing the interference. Hopefully that is not confirmation bias speaking.

@LabDocFarmer I also find this to be easier to see in my mind’s eye. I just wanted to know how I can focus on one object and manipulate it so I could expand that control to other parts of my memory training.

Another thing you can do is stare at a candle. Then close your eyes and mentally “trace” over the afterburn that will be visible in the darkness of your closed lids. This is a great way to bridge into being more visual. :slight_smile:

That sounds interesting, I’ll definitely give it a try. Love your YouTube channel btw, publicizing this esoteric information is critical.

I have also had a bit of trouble visualising things. I think I was trying too hard, and maybe trying to force my brain to imagine things it really doesn’t find memorable.

To combat this, I’ve been starting to just relax and read fiction again, imagining up as much as I can while I go. If some things don’t stick, no big deal, just move on until you find something that does. This seems to be helping, and I’m finding it easier to just relax and let my mind do the work.

Here’s one thing you might try. I made a memory palace of countries and capitals of Europe. For Moldova, the sound of the capital reminds me of the word for quiche. So, I pulled up a picture of a quiche on google images on my phone and held it in front of my locus for Moldova. I did this for multiple loci and found it quite effective.

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As it relates to visualization for the purpose of memorization, the most important thing to do with the image being visualized is having it interact with the surroundings in a bizarre or disturbing manner. In my experience, this Seems to effectively solve the problem. -LabDocFarmer

Question: If I put a map on a bizarre or disturbing place, can I remember it by doing that?

It definitely helps. The maps should not be commonplace. Ideally, they will hold some special significance either with respect to their importance to you or their visual distinctiveness. Nonetheless, any map is better than no map. My kid and I use maps which are much more significant to him but they still work quite well for me.

If you haven’t solved your problem try the following: Pick an object around your house fridge, door picture. Notice things about that object. Its color, size estimate it try to be able to describe its properties to someone who can’t see it. Now turn away from it and try to hold the image in your mind with the eyes open. Use the description you just formulated to prompt yourself about the image it it starts to fade. Practice this 10 minutes or so a day with different objects. Then practice manipulating the object( change the size, color, location), divide the object into its component parts and then assemble the object again.

With regards to Wood’s book use the internet to find pictures of the images he mentions print them and trace them and then try to draw them on graph paper. Then try to hold them in your mind. I suspect you have a vision convergence problem. Its hard to remember items if you have convergence issues. The website discusses the issue of convergence. You might want to look up the works of Dr Kenneth Lane on amazon. com

Try listening to guided imagery meditations on a daily basis. That helped me a lot.
Each time you’re listening to one, you’ll get more stable images and you’ll be able to fill in visual gaps.

Here’s an article that gives you exercises and tips to improve your visualization skills:

Btw., thank you for mentioning the book from Ernest Wood!
What a hidden gem! Lots of unique info about thinking, memory and more!

Hope this helps

I don’t think you are doing anything wrong E, other than looking for quick results after only a slight effort.

The fleeting, unstable image that you have been seeing in your mind’s eye is just the weak, faded beginnings of the clear, “solid” image you are trying to achieve and that you will need to create a powerful memory.

The purpose for this particular exercise is to strengthen your ability to create, by force of will, your own mental images, without any aide or interference (input) from physical reality. To clarify, the force that I mention is not to be confused with the kind of force Ernest Wood advises against, but more like “stick-to-it-ive-ness” and focus.

Material drawings, candles, and objects that you can actually see with your eyes can only help you to a small degree. Using these “crutches” is akin to using a calculator to do your math homework. The real power lies in generating these images in your own imagination; from thin air, in other words.

As you know, we all think in images. You already know what a five pointed star looks like, it’s a fairly simple shape, all you need to do is make it real in your mind’s eye. Easier shapes to envision would be; a circle or a square, you can use one of these if you like.

But, I suggest that you should use the star or the much simpler pentagon within the star; which you can use as a kind of primer or foundation, to which the more complicated points of the star can be added later, as you become more proficient. You can even the visualize a human body with outstretched arms and legs within the star to help you maintain the star’s outline.

Also, and very importantly; as you visualize, you must KNOW that the star is already there, wherever you are trying to visualize it, (in front of your mind’s eye, on top of your head, on your forehead, on your chest, etc) even if you can’t see it. You’ve created it in your mind already, you know this because you’re thinking about it, and as you know, we think in images. This is why you mustn’t force it. All you have to do is let it “materialize”.

Here is an illustration that shows the pentagon and the relationship of the star to the human body:

The mind is like a muscle in many ways and muscles must be exercised before they can get stronger. Three days practice is not long enough to expect results. How many push-ups do you have to do before you get those well formed pects, traps and delts?

Here’s a good free audiobook:

Here’s an iTunes app for listening with a good Favorites feature:


If you really want to get “down and dirty”; visualize your star as you concentrate on learning the lessons from the book. I’d be happy to share my technique.

And don’t forget to breath correctly.

The book deals mostly with concentration but there’s lots of powerful information about creating more success in your life also.

You are traveling down the correct path, don’t turn back now.


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I suspect you have a vision convergence problem. Its hard to remember items if you have convergence issues. The website discusses the issue of convergence.

This is interesting. I’ve had some trouble with visualization too and was recently diagnosed with convergence insufficiency. I didn’t find any discussion of visualization and convergence on the site that you linked, do you have some other sources discussing a possible link of weak visualization ability and convergence issues?

Urfin, if you want to become more visual for the purpose of memory, you can also explore whether or not it is even necessary. Often just the conceptualization of visual imagery is more than enough. It doesn’t have to be HDTV.

I’m not obsessing about it, I know from practice that I can do memorization, in fact I’ve noticed that my ability to visualize had started to improve with the memorization training. But if there is a link to a vision disorder, it’d be a very interesting area to explore. (Maybe it’ll even give me some additional motivation to do those convergence exercises)