Creative visualization (sports visualization) refers to the practice of seeking to affect the outer world by changing one’s thoughts and expectations. Creative visualization is the basic technique underlying positive thinking and is frequently used by athletes to enhance their performance. The concept originally arose in the US with the nineteenth century New Thought movement. One of the first Americans to practice the technique of creative visualization was Wallace Wattles (1860–1911), who wrote The Science of Getting Rich. In this book, Wattles advocates creative visualization as the main technique for realizing one’s goals; a practice that stems from the Hindu Monistic theory of the Universe that is subscribed to by the book.
Some celebrities have endorsed the use of creative visualization and claimed it had a significant role in their success. Such celebrities include Oprah, Tiger Woods,Arnold Schwarzenegger, Anthony Robbins, Bill Gates, Ronnie Bernard and others. During a 2008 interview with Tavis Smiley, actor Will Smith said he used visualization to overcome challenges and, in fact, visualized his success years before he became successful. Another example is actor Jim Carrey, who wrote a check to himself in 1987 in the sum of 10 million dollars. He dated it ‘Thanksgiving 1995’ and added the notation, “for acting services rendered.” He visualized it for years and in 1994 he received $10M for his role in Dumb and Dumber.