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  • Writer's pictureTommy Sangchompuphen

Visualizing Success: A Lesson from an Olympic Swimmer

Visualization is a powerful tool recognized for its ability to enhance performance and help individuals reach their goals. This concept is not only applicable to athletes but also to those preparing for significant professional milestones, such as the bar exam. Let’s explore how visualization, a technique effectively used by swimming champion Regan Smith, can be applied to bar exam preparation.

Regan Smith is an American Olympic swimmer. Earlier this week at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Indianapolis—just a couple hours from the University of Dayton—Smith broke the world record in the 100-meter backstroke with a time of 57.13 seconds.

The story is one of resilience and determination. In 2019, at just 17 years old, she set two backstroke world records, catapulting her to fame. In late 2023, however, Smith was diagnosed with mononucleosis, a significant setback just months before crucial competitions. During her recovery, she set a goal for herself: to reclaim the 100-meter backstroke world record with a time of 57.13 seconds. She wrote this goal on a pink note and placed it on her refrigerator, a constant reminder and source of motivation​.

This practice is a prime example of effective visualization. Visualization involves creating detailed mental images of desired outcomes and the processes leading to them. For visualization to be effective, you need to make your imagined scenario as detailed as possible.

As you prepare for the bar exam, use visualization to enhance your focus and motivation. Here are some steps to help you incorporate visualization into your study routine:

🎯 Set Clear Goals: Define what you want to achieve. Write down your goals and place them where you can see them daily, just like Regan Smith did with her goal time on the fridge.

👁️ Envision the Process: Visualize the specific steps you need to take to achieve your goals. Imagine yourself studying, taking practice exams, and reviewing materials.

🧘‍♂️ Focus on Sensory Details: Make your visualization as detailed as possible. Think about the environment where you will study, the feel of your notes, and the sounds around you.

🤝 Trust the Process: Focus on your technique and trust that the process will lead to success. Remember, if you have practiced the right techniques, the outcome will follow.

Regan Smith’s journey to reclaim her world record demonstrates the power of visualization and determination. By applying similar techniques to your bar exam preparation, you can stay motivated and focused on your goals. Remember to visualize both the end result and the detailed steps required to get there. Trust the process, and your hard work will pay off.


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