Watch as any child plays pretend.

It's an amazing and uplifting thing to witness.

Beyond the costumes and the props, children actually BELIEVE they are becoming what they are pretending to be.

They aren't just boys wearing an eye patch--they are literally pirates sailing the Seven Seas.

Little girls become princesses and fairies in their mind's eye.

It's testament to the power of pretend.

The sad, inevitable truth is that by the time we are teenagers, we generally have lost this imaginative force that brought us so much joy as a kid.

Reality sets in and that fighter jet with heat seeking missiles is just a piece of folded up binder paper.

But what we don't realize is that the power of pretend is innate in us as humans. We are the only living creatures who can do this, do you realize that?

Dogs can't pretend to be cats. They might ACT like them sometimes, but it's not a conscious effort to envision themselves as another creature.

This is a gift that is exclusively ours as people.

And it never goes away.

I just read an article about something scientists have known for some time--that the brain stimulates itself in the same way whether you are doing something or imagining that you are. It's a fascinating concept!! And what a miraculous GIFT!!

This is why I always say to SMILE even if you don't feel like it. Your brain doesn't care if you are crabby or not, the moment you smile chemical reactions occur in you that stimulate the feelings associated with happiness.

The same goes for frowning. See how long that good mood lasts if you spend your day scowling and raising an eyebrow at everyone who walks past you.

In one study, they found that people could suppress their appetites just by thinking of things like rainbows or the smell of eucalyptus!

Experts suggest that just visualizing a gym workout--with all the details from the machine you are using to the sounds it makes to the sweat dripping off your body--can get you motivated to get in the gym.

Jack Canfield, one of my favorite motivational speakers and mentors, would throw fun parties for people interested in boosting their self esteem and motivation levels.  The parties involved people coming as they "wanted" to be. They were told to introduce themselves as working in the occupation of their dreams and acting and dressing and presenting themselves as if they REALLY were those things!

You can't become something or achieve something if the overwhelming, dominant thought in your mind is that you cannot and will not achieve it.

You will never get rich by only seeing yourself as poor. You cannot attain the body shape and size you want by fixating on the shape and size you feel stuck in at the current time. It's not possible.

Explorers didn't set out envisioning not finding what they were looking for. We didn't shoot for the moon and envision landing on mars instead. We don't feel better by thinking horrible thoughts.

You get the picture.

So go take this powerful, yet surprisingly underused and appreciated, gift and harness it to change your life and your world!