Stop Thinking So Much
The human mind is a funny thing. It is the mind, inside you which controls whether you succeed or not in almost everything in life. If you can master your mind, you will come off as a cool, confident, powerful man.
The mind has 2 parts:
The first part is like the computer of your brain. If you program it with the necessary information it will automatically recall this information when needed.
However, the second part of the mind is what ultimately controls whether you succeed or not -- the ego. The ego is the part of the mind which clutters your in-built computer with un-necessary information. The ego feeds your mind with un-necessary information about past experiences, possible future experiences, how people might be looking at you, etc. Letting your ego take control of you will essentially ruin your chances of succeeding.
Let me give you an example.
In a game of football when you need to make a tackle, you will execute the tackle most effectively if you clear your mind of all useless info and let your brain's computer take control. In other words, if you stop thinking and start doing.
If you feed your mind with useless information about the person you are about to tackle (size, expression on face, what could happen, what has happened in the past) or the conditions (it's raining, I'm tired) your brain's computer will respond by making your body respond (i.e. you will do the "safest" thing possible and swing your arm wildly while the guy who should be half unconscious on the ground will shoot past for a touchdown).
This is because when you fed your brain with all the extra info it got confused, and presumed you were scared and needed safety, so you swung your arms ineffectively.
If you had just fed your brain with the necessary info such as the direction and velocity of the person running you would have made a good tackle. (If you have practiced tackling your 'computer' will automatically recall the technique, you don't have to think about it.)
The same can be said when approaching a woman.
If you feed your 'computer' with useless info about a woman's appearance, her friends, what could happen, what has happened in the past, etc. -- YOU WILL FALTER.
You don't have to feed your brain with any other info other than smile, initiate kino, make eye contact, and take control. (The beauty of your brain's computer is that once you've done this a few times, and start trusting yourself to do the right thing, you never have to think when approaching a woman again!) If you do this you will get the girl every time.
So, it's not just about imagining, it's about feeding your mind with pure, necessary information and NOTHING ELSE!
I also believe this is why the 3 second rule works. Because you don't have time to let your ego interfere.
If you can master your ego so that it lives only in the present and only delivers messages to your brain containing useful information with no self-doubt, fear or references to the past/future -- YOU WILL SUCCEED!