Estimated Read Time: 7 Minutes
Have you ever thought to yourself, “I would love a guide on how to handle life!”. This is exactly how I felt before I came across Psycho-Cybernetics by Dr Maxwell Maltz. Published in 1960, the concepts can still be used in modern times and has been a proven science for self-improvement and success.
If readers are able to integrate it in their lives, the rewards are limitless. Dr Maltz goes on to explain:
- How the self-image has complete control over an individual’s ability to achieve or fail any goal.
- How to use visualisation, mental rehearsal and relaxation to improve your self-image and bring you success
- That Psycho-Cybernetics is a science. It provides practical things to do that yield quantifiable results.
Dr Maltz shares fascinating concepts to help you understand your self-image. There are exercises after each chapter for self-improvement, but I would like to share with you the one at the end of this article that has helped me recently. But first let me explain the basics of Psycho-Cybernetics.
The self-image is our own idea of who we are. It has been created from past experiences and your beliefs of yourself. This includes all of your successes, failures, the way people have reacted to you and what went on in your early childhood. From this, we create a mentally constructed sense of self.
The self-image then controls what you can and cannot accomplish, what is difficult or easy for you, even how others respond to you just as certainly and scientifically as a thermostat controls the temperature in your home.Dr Maxwell Maltz – Psycho-Cybernetics
If we perceive ourselves as being a certain way, we’ll find a way to always keep in line with this idea. A ‘failure type person’ will find some way to fail, even if he/she has every intention of succeeding. You won’t be able to escape your self-image, even if you do so briefly, you’ll be snapped back. This is called the ‘Snapback effect’.
Dr Maltz explains that whatever you may be finding difficult in your life, it is likely proving or reinforcing something ingrained in your self-image. It’s not enough to say ‘it’s all in your head.’ It is better to acknowledge that is possibly hidden patterns of thought that, if altered, will free you to tap into more of your potential and experience vastly different results. The self-image can be changed.
Your Subconscious Mind… Isn’t a Mind
The structure of the brain is made up of countless neurons. These are cells within the nervous system which communicate with each other in unique ways. The neuron is designed to transmit information to other nerve cells, muscles and gland cells.
When neurons receive or send messages, they will transmit electrical impulses along their axons, which vary in length, from an inch to about a metre long! Most axons are covered with a layered myelin sheath, which accelerate the transmission of electrical signals along the axon.
As Dr Maltz explored the science of cybernetics, he became convinced that the subconscious mind, is not a mind at all, but rather a goal striving servo-mechanism. Made up of the brain and nervous system, which is used and directed by the mind.
There is within us a life instinct, which is constantly working towards happiness and freedom. He states that humans have a consciousness which operates on an automatic, goal striving machine. Dr Maltz calls it the Creative Mechanism. It is the side of your subconscious which works automatically to achieve the goals you set for it. It will work unbiasedly towards your target, positive or negative.
So the goals you attempt to ‘process’ through this mechanism are filtered through the self-image and if there are any inconsistencies with it, it will either be rejected or modified.
I wondered how this could actually work and what I found interesting about this idea is how it matches how the way the brain operates. When we do something, we are sending electrical signals down the axons. The more you do or experience something, the more myelin sheath is created to accelerate the signals and it becomes your natural way of being.
So if you have created a sense of self that is lazy, a failure or depressed; axons which activate for you to experience laziness, failure or depression are lined with plenty of myelin sheath, so when you present yourself with a goal, the way it is processed will be through the ‘self-image’ or through the better connected axons in your brain.
To explain this further, let’s imagine you thought you were weak. There is a box which was labelled as heavy incorrectly. It is fairly weighted but not enough for you to not be able to pick it up. Your goal in this scenario is to move it from A to B. But you’ve read it as being heavy and as you think you’re weak, you try to pick it up but you can’t. Your brain is sending signals around your muscles making them not utilise their full strength, but keeps in tact the self-image of ‘weakness’.
Automatic Success Mechanism
They say that within three weeks or 21 days, you can change a habit. So if your Creative Mechanism is centred with being a failure, it is possible to change it to a Success centred Mechanism if you work at changing your self-image for 21 days. After this period, it will become an Automatic Success Mechanism.
This system helped me to quit smoking after 10 years of damage. I have attempted to do it various times, most recently in April 2020 where I managed two weeks but this time around, its been over two months. I’ve managed to change my self-image surrounding smoking from thinking it was impossible to quit, to imagining how it could be without cigarettes and then finally being smoke free. 99% of the time, it feels like I’ve never smoked before. There those rare occasions where I’ve eaten some great food or see someone with a cigarette which makes me want one but unfortunately, that will never go.
Let me share how the success mechanism works and one of the strategies involved, in changing your self-image.
How the Success Mechanism Operates
- Aim – You must have a goal or target. For this goal, it must be conceived as being already in existence now, either in actual or potential form.
- Trust – don’t be discouraged if the means to achieve this goals isn’t already apparent. You don’t achieve something in the future, it is always in the moment of now, so why not believe it is already ‘truth’? Think it to be true and your success mechanism will steer you towards the end result.
- Relax – don’t be fearful of making mistakes. The mechanism can work through negative feedback, it tells you what not to do the next time. “Automatic course correction is one of the many benefits of Psycho-Cybernetics“.
- Learn – Whenever you learn something, it is through trial and error. You’ll mentally correct yourself until you achieve a successful motion, movement or performance. Further integration of the skill is through continuously doing what works while simultaneously forgetting what doesn’t.
- Do – You have to trust your creative mechanism to do its work and not become too concerned or too anxious at to whether it will work or not. You can’t force it by too much conscious effort so let it do its thing. It is operating below the level of consciousness that you are aware of. You must act as if it is there, and it will come through.
Devote 10-15 minutes every day, taking a mental picture of what achieving your goal looks like. Take it from a vague idea, to a fully imagined vision that occurs exactly the same way whenever called upon. Do this for 21 days and see what happens.
I used this 21 day rule to quit smoking. I held the image of what life would be without smoking and it grew itself into reality. It was tough at first, I kept telling myself, give it three weeks… and then a month went by and remembered that I hadn’t smoked for that long!
Thanks for reading this article. I hope this gives you a small idea of how The New Psycho-Cybernetics could help you change behaviours you don’t approve of. It’s regarded as the original science of self-improvement and success and I can see why! I personally have been listening to the audiobook, I like being able to take a walk while absorbing the concepts put forward by Dr Maltz.
I highly recommend purchasing the book/audiobook as there are plenty of other mental exercises you could start doing today to help you change your self-image and create a fully integrated Automatic Success Mechanism.
I’d would like to leave you with a short video which features a monk who speaks about the worldview on behaviour and what we need to acknowledge to move forward.
Sending peace and love through the 4th Dimension!
ADR – One Human