Price: $6:00 at Amazon.com
Audio: $27.97($19.58 member) at Audible.com
Length: 288 pages (11hr 42min audio)
Publisher: Pocket Books (August 15, 1989)
Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.7 x 6.8in
Table of Contents:
- The Self Image: Your Key To A Better Life
- Discovering The Success Mechanism Within You
- Imagination – The First Key To Your Success Mechanism
- Dehypnotize Yourself From False Beliefs
- How To Utilize The Power Of Rational Thinking
- Relax And Let Your Success Mechanism Work For You
- You Can Acquire The Habit Of Happiness
- Ingredients Of The Success-Type Personality And How To Acquire Them
- The Failure Mechanism: How To Make It Work For You Instead Of Against You
- How To Remove Emotional Scars, Or How To Give Yourself An Emotional Face Lift
- How To Unlock Your Real Personality
- Do-It-Yourself Tranquilizers That Bring Peace Of Mind
- How To Turn a Crisis Into a Creative Opportunity
- How To Get “That Winning Feeling”
- More Years Of Life And More Life In Your Years
Psycho-Cybernetics dates back more than 40 years and it is a staple for any self-help book collection. It paved the way for many of the concepts today. I have to say after going through this book it is by far one of the best self-help books I have ever read – If not the best. I had so many ‘ah ha’ moments in this book and learned so much about human behavior and psychology as it applies to self-development.
Maxwell Maltz was a plastic surgeon who worked on patients who were not only physically scarred but emotionally scarred as well. As a result, he began to research the connection between the self-image and belief systems. During his work he discovered something ground-breaking – That the reason why people are not successful in life is not because of willpower or determination but it’s because of their self-image. Our self-image defines what we believe we can and cannot do.
If we fail a math test and we come to the conclusion that we’re terrible at math then consecutive math tests will prove this self-image to be correct. If we instead fail the test and conclude that we failed that particular test then this is a different self-image. The difference here is that it is better to make a conclusion based on fact ‘I failed the math test’ not a conclusion on ourselves ‘I am bad at math’. As a result consecutive tests we will do better. A lot of our beliefs are created through our perception of things. So if we look at things in a more positive light we can create more positive beliefs and live more positive lives.
What I Learned
Maltz talks a lot about visualization. He states on multiple occasions that “The human nervous system cannot tell the difference between an actual experience and one imagined vividly and in detail.” He uses the example of how a boxer shadowboxes or how a basketball player visualizes his shots. These athletes are practicing visualization which Maltz claims is the same exact practice as actually physically practicing. The brain simply cannot tell the difference.
This technique can be used in any situation. Maltz uses the example of a public speaker. You can set up empty chairs and imagine people in them, staring at you as you speak. You can picture yourself messing up and recovering. You can picture yourself giving a flawless speech. Imagine what the air will feel like, the pressure, or the atmosphere of the room. Maltz also goes on to describe athletes who are at the top of their field through visualization and very minimal actual, physical practice.
What I found the most interesting and useful is when Maltz talks about the mindset of successful people. He lists out specific qualities they have and he talks about them extensively. A lot of success comes down to a positive self-image. He states that we all have a ‘cybernetic mechanism’ in our brain. Maltz coins this term the ‘Automatic Success Mechanism’. We can all be successful if we set a goal and have the motivation to complete that goal. Our brain will automatically begin to correct our actions and behaviors to complete whatever goal that is. But it’s never that easy is it? Maltz states that the problem arises when our self-image does not align with our goal. When we have a goal and visualize ourselves completing that goal but our self-image says “I’m not that kind of person” now we have a disconnect. Our self-image and goal does not align. Now your brain will actually cling to your current self-image and you will never complete that goal unless you change your self-image.
The example that Maltz used to describe self-image which I found most interesting was an example from his own life. Maltz stated that as a plastic surgeon some patients didn’t feel any different even though they looked completely different. In fact even though it was a major surgery sometimes the patient wouldn’t even notice a difference! Despite the fact that all of her peers say what a huge change the surgery was the patient insisted that the surgery did not work. The patient would see very little noticeable difference or no noticeable difference at all. Maltz states that his interest in these particular patients put him on the path of studying human psychology, self-image and eventually led him to publish Psycho-Cybernatics.
This is the same with people with anorexia as well as other disorders. Even if you get them to step on a scale at 80 pounds and you ask them if they think 80 pounds is heavy they would answer ‘No, but I’m still fat’. They will then proceed to starve themselves. In both cases the problem is not an aesthetic problem. The problem is their self-image. They believe that they are fat or ugly but the fix isn’t to lose weight or get surgery – It’s to resolve deeper issues within their psyche.
What I didn’t Like
I often like to have a section in my book reviews on what I didn’t like to give some perspective but to be completely honest I did liked everything about this book. I found myself actually having to go on Amazon and look at the bad reviews for this book (not many) to get a good idea of what people actually didn’t like about it. Now, over 90% of people liked this book. Only about 3% of 600 reviews gave it one start. I would say about 80% of these 1 star reviews were mostly complaints on how they updated the classic and people didn’t like that. So it wasn’t really on the content itself. Now I never read the original and I couldn’t find it on amazon so I can’t agree or disagree there but one thing that stuck out which people complained about was that the book is a bit fluffy. Some customers complained that there is a bit more stories than people would like to read. I personally enjoyed the stories and found them quite interesting to put our psychology into perspective but to each their own I guess.
If there is one self-help book you will read this has to be the one. I have gone through around 50 self-development books and this is seriously the best one I have read yet. Highly, highly recommend I can’t say it enough. I learned so much from this book. Even Tony Robbins, arguably the best self-development guru today speaks positively of this book. If that’s not enough to buy this book I don’t know what is.
- Gives a view of visualization different from Law of Attraction books like ‘The Secret’
- Explains in depth, an often overlooked part of success – Your self-image.
- Talks in depth on the mindsets of successful people.
- Will really open your mind on practice, why you have limiting beliefs and why you are who you are.
- Gives you practical exercises that you can do to change your belief and self-image.
- For some people, Maltz’s stories can linger on for too long.
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Have you gone through this amazing book? Feel free to leave your comment or review below! I look forward to reading them.