Friday, February 27, 2009

Chapter 15 - More Years and More Life

Chapter 15 is the last chapter of Psycho-Cybernetics and it talks about how to have more life and live longer

The first portion of the chapter talks about scientific and medical discoveries. As this book was published in 1969, I am not sure if these studies are outdated.

Dr. Maltz also talks about positive thinking and that it will allow your body and mind to function more smoothly. Negative thinking will inhibit you.

Develop an enthusiasm for life, create a want for more to life and you will receive more.

Chapter 14 - That Winning Feeling

Chapter 14 of Psycho-Cybernetics is about how to feel like a winner.

Dr. Maltz does not say anything new in this chapter. He tells you that you should recall past victories in your mind and recall past successes and remember how they felt and that will empower us with a winning feelinng.

Chapter 13 - Crisis into Opportunity

Chapter 13 of Psycho-Cybernetics is about turning a crisis into an opportunity to advance ourselves to the goal.

In the opening of Chapter 13, Dr. Maltz talks about some athletes who perform even better when playing for high stakes such as championships, compared to exhibition games. The reason for this is because these athletes have learned to react to crises situations properly. These crises give athletes strength, power and wisdom that they do not normally possess.

1) Practice Without Pressure

We have to prepare and practice for crisis situations. The more pressure and tense it is, the harder it is to learn. So therefore, practicing without pressure is best so you can learn and absorb information more efficiently. For example, if you are a golfer, you should practice your swing when you are alone, without pressure. If you are a boxer, you should practice your punches and footwork. If you are a speaker, you can practice your speech to an imaginary audience. All this private practicing will form a "mental map" in your memory. So when the crisis moment happens, all the practice in your muscles, nervous system and brain will carry-over to your situation. At the same time, practicing without pressure is building a self-image of yourself to help you perform at your best.

The word "crisis" comes from a Greek word that means "decisiveness" or "point of decision". Once we are in a crisis situation, we are to act aggressively to make what we want to happen.

2) Crisis Brings Power

When there is a crisis, the secret to making the most of it is fearlessly accepting the challenge and confidently expanding your strength. You must be aggressive to strive for your goal. Being goal-oriented during a crisis will be a stimulus which releases additional power to help you accomplish your goal.

During a crisis situation, one will be excited and nervous. This excitement or nervousness is extra energy that can be directed any way you want. It is how you see that extra energy that makes the difference. When you channel your excitement into your goal, it will give you a "boost" of power.

3) What Is The Worst That Can Possibly Happen?

In crisis situations, some people tend to use their imagination against themselves and make their potential failures bigger then what they really are. Ask yourself the question, "What is the worst that can possibly happen if I fail?"

Also, see crises as opportunities to advance yourself.

Chapter 12 - Do-it-Yourself Tranquilizer

Chapter 12 of Psycho-Cybernetics is about developing mental tranquilizers so you will not react to negative stimuli that will steer you off course.

Here is an analogy of how tranquilizers work. Let's suppose you are sitting quietly in your den. Suddenly, the telephone rings. From habit and experience, this is a "signal" or stimulus which you have learned to obey. Instantly you get up from your seat and head towards the phone. When the phone is ringing, this is a stimulus that has changed the course of your action.

However, Dr. Maltz is saying that even though the phone is ringing, you do not need to pay heed to it. You can, if you choose to remain quietly sitting in your den. You are aware of the ringing of the phone, but you no longer choose to react to it. The phone ringing has no actual power over you. Only what you give it. In the past, you have picked up the phone when it was ringing out of habit. You can then form a new habit of not responding to the phone ringing. Just like the way people are conditioned to stop everything they are doing to pick up a ringing phone, people are also conditioned to respond in a certain way to the stimuli in their environment.

One way of extinguising responses is delaying it. Counting backward from 10 when stimulated to be angry can effectively extinguish the autoamtic reflex.

You should realize that you are an "actor" not a "reactor". As a goal-striving being, you have goals that you should strive towards to. If responding and reaction to negative feedback does not take you closer towards the goal, then no response is neccessary. Responding to such stimuli will get you off course.

Relaxation plays an important role as a tranquilzer because relaxation is "non-response". The more relaxed you are, the less you would react to external stimuli.


Whenever you come across a stimuli that will get you off-course from your goal, remember the telephone analogy and say "I am letting the telephone ring." Then imagine yourself in other situation when you would normally react in a way that will get you off-course and see yourself unmoved by this stimuli.

Just as the human body has a built-in thermostat that maintains its temperature at 98.6 degrees regardless of the weather, Dr Maltz says that human beings also have a "spiritual thermostat". The spiritual tehrmostat helps you to maintain an emotional climate regardless of the emotional weather around you.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Chapter 11 - Unlocking Your Real Personality

Chapter 11 of Psycho-Cybernetics is about unlocking your real personality that is inhibited.

An inhibited personality (shyness, nervousness, awkwardness etc.) is a muffled expression of your true personality. The cause of an inhibited personality is caused by an overly sensitive mechanism to negative feedback, or by excessive negative feedback. The purpose of negative feedback is to tell the mechanism to correct the course and move towards the target in the right direction. If the reaction from negative feedback is too great, you are likely to concluded that not only you are off-course but also it is completely wrong to move forward.

Stuttering is an example of an inhibition caused by excessive negative feedback that inhibits speech. If one is overly critical of his own speech or is too careful in trying to avoid errors in speech, stuttering is likely to result.

In any social interaction, there is the sending and receive of feedback data. Facial expressions such as smiles or frowns and body language is a form of feedback that tells us how we are doing whether we are building a deeper rapport with the other party or we are moving apart. The more we are overly too careful in our social interaction, this will inhibit our communication with the other party.


1) Don't worry in advance what you are going to say. Just open your mouth and improve.

2) Don't plan and think before you act. Act and correct your actions as you go along.

3 Stop criticizing yourself constantly. Useful negative feedback is automatic, spontaneous and subconscious.

4) Make a habit of speaking louder than usual. A powerful voice is a great disinhibitor.

5) Let people know when you like them. Compliment people. This will free you from inhibitions.

Chapter 10 - Removing Emotional Scars

Chapter 10 of Psycho-Cybernetics talks about emotional scars that prevent us from enjoying life.

Just like when you cut yourself and you form scar tissue to protect that area where you have been cut, when someone hurts us we form emotional scars to protect our emotions from being hurt again.


1) Be Too Big To Feel Threatened

  • The people who become offended the easiest have the lowest self-esteem. These people need to build up their self-esteem so that they will not feel threatened by every chance remark or innocent act. A big strong person does not feel threatened by a small danger; only a little person does.

2) A Self-Reliant, Responsible Attitude Makes You Less Vulnerable

  • A person with a hard, gruff exterior usually develops it because inside he is so soft inside that he needs to protect his core (soft-core). A person who has little or no self-reliance is a person who is emotional dependent on others and is most vulnerable to emotional hurts caused by other people.
  • Develop a more self-reliant attitude. Assume responsibility for your own life and emotional needs. Send out love, approval, acceptance and understanding to others and you will find it coming back to you.

3) Relax Away Emotional Hurts

  • When you are tense or uneasy, it is much easier to get your feelings hurt. When you feel offended, the feeling is entirely a matter of your own response. When the body is in deep relaxation, it is absolutely impossible to feel or think about negative emotions

How To Remove Old Emotional Scars:

To remove old emotional scars, you must learn to forgive. You must give up grudges and see grudges as undesirable which serves no purpose but acts as a hindrance. There is a perverted sense of satisfaction that some people get in in pitying themselves. Remorse and regret are attempts to emotionally live in the past. You must forgive yourself of the past mistakes and failures.

One of the mistakes we can do is to identify ourselves with our mistakes. If someone says "I failed", he recognizes that he has made an error. But if someone says "I am a failure", that is what he thinks the error did to his identity. Identifying with a mistake will make that mistake permanent. YOU make mistakes. Mistakes don't make YOU---anything.

To live creatively, we must be willing to open up to be a little vulnerable. A lot of people need thick emotional skin--not a shell which closes you in completely. A person who is shut-in by a shell of his own making is like an oyster. The oyster has a thick shell so that nothing gets in or gets out.

Chapter 9 - The Failure Mechanism

Chapter 9 of Psycho-Cybernetics explains what is a failure mechanism and how we can use it to move us to our goals.

The human body has its own "danger signals" which doctors refer to as symptoms or syndrome. A fever for an example is actually beneficial because if you recognize that you have a fever, you would take the corrective action to maintain your health. Failure-type personalities also have recognizable symptoms. Once it is recognized, the failures are utilized as negative feedback to guide you to your correct course.

The acronym for FAILURE is



Failure is defined as an emotional feeling which develops when a goal of importance cannot be realized, or some strong desire is thwarted. Chronic frustration means either that the goals you set are unrealistic, or both


Aggressiveness is a necessary emotional steam that is released when striving for a goal. It is better to sought after our goals in an aggressive manner rather than defensive manner. However when the aggressiveness is out of control and misdirected, it becomes an aggressive force.

Failure-type personalities tend to channel their aggressiveness into self-destructive tendencies such as ulcers, high blood pressure, smoking, drugs etc. If the goals are unrealistic and impossible or if the method of attaining the goal is futile, a person with a failure-type personality would aggressively try even more harder. This is like bumping your head into a brick wall and then bumping your head even harder.

One study by a Viennese doctor, Dr. Konrad Lorentz did a study which concluded that animals cannot feel or express affection until they have properly channeled their expression of aggression.

Misdirected aggression is an attempt to to hit one target by lashing out at any and all targets possible. So when you are blocked in achieving some important goal, you are like a head full of steam with no where to go. Physical exercise is a good channel for utilizing aggression. Another good channel for utilizing anger is in writing. Write a letter to a person who has frustrated or angered you. Pull out all the stops. Leave nothing to the imagination, then burn the letter. The best channel for aggression is to use it properly when working towards some goal.


The feelings of insecurity are based upon a self-concept of inner inadequacy when comparing ourselves to an imagined perfect self.

After achieving a goal, you must "get off your high horse". A mental attitude of superiority is a form of insecurity. The reason for this is that if you are so "great", there is no more reason to improve yourself and you will deteriorate. So keep on striving for the next level or strive for another goal.


The extreme and chronic feeling of loneliness and being alienated by other people is a symptom of a failure mechanism.

Loneliness is a way of self-protection to protect oneself against exposure, hurt and humiliation. Dr. Maltz reccomends to develop some skill to combat loneliess such as dancing, playing an instrument, sports and conversation. The more you put yourself into social situation the more you will be comfortable with people.


Uncertainty is a way of avoiding mistakes and responsibility. There are two types of uncertainty. One is based onthe false premise if no decision is made, nothing can go wrong. Being "wrong" can be a blow to someone's self-esteem. The second type of uncertainty is making decisions hastily and prematurely and still sees himself as "perfect" even though his decisions will backfire.

You must realize that in order to correct your course, you must take the next step even though it might result in a mistake or failure. It is by these failures you will correct yourself and move closer towards the goal. It is impossible to change anything when standing still.


Resentment comes from two Latin words: "re" meaning back" and "sentire" meaning to feel. So resentment is the emotional rehashing or re-fighting of some events from the past. Resentment is an attempt to make your own failure "easier" by blaming it on others or blaming injustices. Resentment waste energy that could have been used productively towards an accomplishment. Resentment is a way of blowing up your ego. Some people get a perserve satisfaction from feeling "wronged"

The real cause of resentment is your own emotional response and reaction to circumstances. So as long as you harbour resentment, it becomes impossible fyou to become responsible for your own actions and success. This is because victims of this type of mentality give their power over to other people and are soley dependant on them.

Resentment is inconsistent with goal striving. This is because in goal striving, you are responsible to achieve your own success and happiness.


Emptiness is a symptom that comes with not living creatively. Either it is because you have no worthwhile goals or that oyu are not using your inborn-talents to strive for your goals. The people who say "Life has no purpose" really mean that they are not striving for any goal (purpose). People who have goals they are striving for do not contemplate on the meaningless of life.

We need to be aware of negatives so we can steer clear of them. Here's 3 ways of how we can make use of our negatives to lead us into success:

  1. Understand that negatives we feel are alerting us of danger ahead.
  2. Take the negatives for what they are--which is something that we do not want
  3. Take immediate and corrective action to steer on the right path.
Once you fully undertand this anytime you come across a negative, there will be an automatic reflex to avoid further negatives to guide you into the correct course.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Chapter 8 - The Success Type Personailty

Chapter 8 of Psycho-Cybernetics defines what a "sucess-type" personality is.

SUCCESS to Dr. Maltz is an acronym for:

ense of direction


Human beings function like a bicycle. It can maintain its poise and equilibrium as long as it is heading forwards. With no place to go, it is difficult to maintain balance and the bike will be "shaky" in its balance.

When you have no personal goals, you will go around in circles and find life as aimless and purposeless. The people who say that life is not worthwhile are really saying that they have no worthwhile goals.

Prescription: Get a goal that is worth working for. Decide what you want out of a situation. In addition to person goals, help out a "cause" which you can identify with that will help others.


Understanding depends on good communication. Communication is vital for any guidance system or computer to function well. Your Success Mechanism will not function appropriately if the information is faulty or misunderstood.

Oftentimes, we color incoming sensory data with our own fears, anxieties or desires.

Prescription: If you have made any mistakes, correct hem and move towards your goal. An automatic guidance system corrects its cause through negative feedback data. It acknowledges errors, corrects them and moves towards the goal.


Having a goal and understanding of the situation are not enough. You must have the courage to pursue the goal. Often the difference between a successful person and an average person is that the successful person is willing to bet on himself and take a calculated risk. A step in the wrong direction is better than staying "on the spot" all your life. Once you are moving, you can correct your course as you go. The automatic mechanism cannot guide you when you are "standing still".

A man who will not develop his own courage is likely to find courage from external sources such as alcohol.

Prescription: Have the courage to make a few mistakes and suffer a little pain to get to your goal. Don't sell yourself short. You have all the resources within you. You will never know you have them within yourself until you act and give them a chance to work for you.


It is a psychological fact that our feelings about other people is a reflection on how we feel about ourselves. Thus, when a person is charitable towards others, he will be charitable towards himself.

Prescription: Develop a genuine appreciation for people and their uniqueness. Think about other people's feelings and their desires and needs. Think about how they feel. Treat other people as important.


Having a low self-esteem is a form of self-sabotage.

Prescription: The word "esteem" literally means "to appreciate the worth of". The biggest secret of self-esteem is to appreicate others.


Confidence is built upon an experience of success. When we firs begin any undertaking, we are likly to have little confidence in our ability because we have not learned from experience that we can succeed. All your successes will breed other successes. The more we practice something, the more we will have sucess at it. This is because the "computer" in thebrain will remember the sucessful attempts and discard the failures. Dwelling on, reinforcing, and rembering our successes will increase self-confidence.

Prescription: Consider all errors, and unsuccessful attempts as learning experiences. Deliberately remember and picture your successes and how it felt like when your previous goals were achieved and accomplished. When starting a new project, call up the feelings from all your past successes and use them for your new project.


Changing your self-image does not mean changing yourself or improving yourself. What it means is changing your mental conception and realization of that self. Having a better self-image does not create any new abilities, talents, and powers -- a better self-image releases and utilizes them.

Self-acceptance means accepting yourself for who you are with all your strengths as well as weaknesses. Your mistakes and failures are not "you", it is only what you have done. You are not your mistakes. If you have made a mistake, then you should use it as negative feedback to move yourself towards the goal you are aiming for.

Prescription: Accept yourself as you are, even with your shortcomings. Differentiate your "self" and your "behavior".

Chapter 7 - Aquiring the Habit of Happiness

Chapter 7 of Psycho-Cybernetics is about acquiring the habit of happiness.

We as human beings, function better (medically speaking) being happy as compared to being unhappy. King Solomon, in the Book of Proverbs wrote, "A merry heart doeth good like medicine, but a broken spirit drieth up the bones."

The word disease is actually "dis-ease" which means a state of unhappiness.

Our self-image and our habits are tied-in together. The origin of the word "habit" mean a garment or clothing in Middle English. Our habits are then literally, the garments worn by our self-image. We have them because our habits "fit" us. When we develop and acquire new and better habits, our self-image will outgrow the old habits, because they do not "fit" us no more.

Our unhappy behaviours, beliefs, and beliefs are all "learned habits". To form new habits, we must make a conscious decision to do so and then practice and "act out" the new response or behaviour. It requires constant watchfulness and practice until the new behaviour pattern is thoroughly learned.


Start with something simple. When putting on your shoe, you always habitually put on either the left or right shoe first before you put in the other. So for the next 21 days, consciously put on the other shoe that you habitually put on last as the shoe you put in first. Do this for 21 days. This simple change of habit will act as a reminder that you can change your unhappy ways of thinking into happy ways of thinking. Every time you put on your shoes say to yourself, "I am beginning the day in a new and better way." Then consciously decide that throughout the day the following for 21 days:

  1. I will be as cheerful as possible.
  2. I will try to feel and act a little more friendly towards other people.
  3. I am going to be less critical and a little more tolerant of other people, their faults, failing and mistakes.
  4. Insofar as possible, I am going to act as if success were inevitable, and I already am the sort of personality I want to be. I will practice "acting like" and "feeling: like this personality.
  5. I will not let my own opinion color any fact in a pessimistic or negative way.
  6. I will practice smiling at least 3 times during the day
  7. Regardless of what happens, I will react as calmly and as intelligently as possible
  8. I will ignore completely and close my mind to all those pessimistic and negative facts which I can do nothing to change.
After acting out and experiencing these 8 new instructions for 21 days, you will see that worry, guilt and hostility will significantly diminish and your self-confidence will significantly increase.

Chapter 6 - Letting Your Success Mechanism Work

Chapter 6 of Psycho-Cybernetics is about letting your success mechanism work without the interference of the conscious mind.

Creative ideas are not a result of conscious thinking from the forebrain. In order to receive an "inspiration" or a "hunch", you must be intensely into problem-solving and searching for the answer. The includes thinking about the goal consciously, gathering all information about the subject and considering all possible causes of action. Most importantly, you must have a burning passion to solve the problem at hand.

The philosophy Bertrand Russell in his book The Conquest of Happiness wrote:

"I have found for example, that if I have to write upon some rather difficult topic, the best plan is to think about it with very great intensity-- the greatest intensity at which I am capable-- for a few hours or days, and at the time give orders, so to speak, that the work is to proceed underground. After some months I return consciously to the topic and find that the work has been done. Before I had discovered this technique, I used to spend the intervening months worrying because I was making no progress; I arrived at the solution more the sooner for this worry, and the intervening months were wasted, whereas now I can devote them to other pursuits"

Everyone is a "creative worker" and it is not reserved only for painters, artists, poets and writers. All of us have a Success Mechanism within us and it will work in problem-solving, running a business just as good as it will in inventing or writing a story.

The Success Mechanism in you can also produce "creative doings" (skills). Any performance skills such as playing sports, playing an instrument, conversation etc. is the doing of your Success Mechanism, not of your conscious thinking. Creative performance is natural and spontaneous. The most skilled of pianists could never play a whole song if he constantly and consciously thinks of which finger should play which key at which time. The pianist has previously given thought to this matter and practiced until his actions became second-nature. The "skill" we see is the automatic mechanism taking over when the pianist is playing the song.

5 Rules for Freezing Your Creative Machinery

1. Do your worrying before you place your bets, not after the wheels start turning
  • Conscious effort and "willing" will jam and interfere the automatic mechanism. The reason why some people are overly self-conscious and socially awkward is because they are too consciously concerned and too anxious of every move they make. When they become overly self-concious, they jam their automatic mechanism.
2. Form the habit of consciously responding to the present moment.
  • The creative mechanism only functions in the present time. Do not waste time fighting strawmen of the past
3. Try to do only one thing at a time.
  • Even if we try to multitask and do everything at once, we can only do things one at a time. An analogy of this is an hourglass, and that each grain of sand (tasks) fall one by one in a single file.
4. Sleep on it
  • Some of the greatest people have slept on some of their problems and have found the answers when they awoke. Your creative mechanism works at its peak when there is no disturbance from your conscious mind.
5.Relax while you work
  • Recall feelings of happy times and relaxation to remove stress and tension. The less you are stressed, the better your Success Mechanism can work. By practicing the feelings of relaxation, it will be habit and you will no longer need to practice it.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Chapter 5 - Rational Thinking

Chapter 5 of Psycho-Cybernetics is about using rational and logical conscious thinking to change negative beliefs into positive, working ones.

The automatic mechanism that human beings have is also what Sigmund Freud calls the "unconscious". This unconscious mind has no will of its own. It only acts accordingly to your present ideas and beliefs concerning yourself and your relation to the environment. The unconscious only works with the information you give it in the form of ideas and "goal-pictures".

The conscious mind is the "control knob" of the unconscious/automatic mechanism. If the conscious mind is feeding negative thoughts and ideas into the unconscious, the unconscious will develop negative patterns subsequently. It is the conscious mind's job to filter out what is rational and irrational. Most of our negative thoughts and emotions are irrational by nature anyways. So it is by applying rationality that we can rid of negative thoughts.

The late Dr. John A. Schindler who worked at the Monroe Clinic has formula for changing people's lives for better. One of his key methods for changing people's lives was through what he called "conscious thought control". To make use for "conscious thought control", one must begin from the present and begin to develop new ways of looking at old problems and begin to acquire useful habits. The reason why some people are so used to negative beliefs is because they have either forgotten or never realized that they have the ability to control their present thinking to produce a life of enjoyment.

All skills are acquired by trial and error. It begins with having an end goal in mind and having a trial and making an error on the way. This error is remembered for the next trial so that it can auto-correct itself until the goal is reached or accomplished. When the goal is finally accomplished, it is burned into memory on how it got there and it is recalled into memory when faced with a similar trial. All servo-mechanisms function this way. All servo-mechanisms store memories of errors, failures and negative experiences. These past failures in memory contribute to the learning process and are used as "negative feedback data". The "negative feedback data" will tel the servo-mechanism that it is off-course and will then the servo-mechanism will auto-correct itself towards the goal. Once the error is corrected, the error will be consciously forgotten and the attaining of the goal will be "dwelt upon".

All errors, mistakes and errors are absolutely necessary in the learning process. The errors are the "means to the end", and not the end in themselves. When the errors have served their purpose, we should move on. If we mistakenly dwell on the errors and keep thinking about them, the error will become the "goal" that the automatic mechanism will strive for. This is why in Psycho-Cybernetics it is not advised to dwell on past mistakes because it will affect your success mechanism.

To effectively change beliefs, rational thought must be accompanied by powerful emotions and desire. The constant repetition of thoughts and possibilities will cause the arousal of the emotions that will make the desired goal more and more attainable.

Worry, for an example, is an idea that things will go wrong and it is always accompanied by irrationality and negative emotions which will deteriorate your performance. If you change the goal picture into something positive, you can easily generate powerful emotions that will help you develop strong and grounded personality.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Chapter 4 - Dehypnotize Yourself

Chapter 4 of Psycho-Cybernetics deals mainly with dehypnotizing yourself from negative or limiting beliefs.

Negative beliefs, according to Dr. Maltz is a form of hypnotism you are doing to yourself. In the beginning of Chapter 4, Dr. Maltz gives the example of a fellow doctor friend of his, Dr. Alder. In Dr. Alder's youth as a young student, he had difficulties in mathematics. His teacher become convinced that he was "dumb in mathematics" and then convinced his parents who also believed the teacher's claim. His grades started to reflect this belief of being "dumb in mathematics". Then one day, it occurred to him that he had a sudden flash of insight and wanted to solve a math problem that his classmates could not figure out. When he walked in front of the class and begin to solve the problem, he himself and his whole class were amazed! Then he began to understand how arithmetic works and went on to be an excellent student. This story is to illustrate that Dr. Alder's belief that he was "dumb in mathematics" was a form of hypnotism he had done to himself. When he dehypnotized himself of this belief, he became an excellent mathematics.

Feelings of inferiority do not come from "facts" or experiences. These feelings come from our beliefs and conclusions of our experiences. Most of our feelings of inferiority come from comparing ourselves to someone else's norm. An inferiority complex and all the mannerisms of it is caused by holding in your mind a "norm" or an "average" and then convince yourself that you do not measure up. The people who feel inferior, feel so because they are striving for superiority. Inferiority and superiority accord to Dr. Maltz, are two sides of the same coin and are not genuine ways of living.

Dr. Norton L Williams said that modern human beings anxieties and insecurities stem from a lack of self-realization of themselves and a lack of discovering one's uniqueness, individuality and distinctiveness. This is why you cannot compare yourself to others. Everyone is different and unique in their own way. They cannot measure up to everything you can do, and neither can you measure up to everything they can do.

To dehypnotize yourself from negative and limiting beliefs, physical relaxation plays a key role in doing so. Dr. Maltz says that exerting your "will" or effort to dehynotize yourself will be counter-productive and will reinforce your limiting beliefs. Dr. Matthew N. Chappell says that often the effort or "will power" that is used to fight against or resist worry, is the very thing that perpetuates worry and keeps it going.

The practice of physical relaxation will bring about "mental relaxation" and a "relaxed attitude" which grants us to better guide our automatic mechanism do achieve our self-image. Physical relaxation itself is a tool for dehypnotizing people from negative attitudes and limiting beliefs.


PRACTICE EXERCISE (To be practiced for at least 30 minutes a day):

Sit comfortably in a comfortable chair or lie on your back. Consciously "let go" all your various muscle groups and allow them to relax without exerting too much effort to relax. Pay Attention to all the different regions in your body and relax all of them. Spend about 5 minutes to consciously relax your whole body. Next, you will use your creative mechanism to automatically bring a total relaxation. You are going to use "goal-pictures" in your imagination and let your automatic mechanism to realize the goals for you.

Mental Picture No. 1

In your mind's eye, see yourself lying stretched out upon the bed. Form a picture of your legs as they would look as if its made from concrete. See yourself lying there two very heavy concrete legs. See these very heavy concrete legs sinking far down into the mattress from their sheer weight. Now picture your arms and hands as made of concrete. They also are very heavy and are sinking down into the bed and exerting tremendous pressure against the bed. In your minds eye see a friend come into the room and attempt to lift your heavy concrete legs. He takes a hold of your feet and attempts to lift them. But they are too heavy for him. He cannot do it. Repeat with the arms, neck, head, etc.

Mental Picture No. 2

Your body is a big marionette doll. Your hands are tied loosely to your wrists by strings. Your forearm is connected loosely by a string to your upper arm. Your upper arm is connected very loosely by a string to your shoulder. Your feet, calves, thighs are also connected together with a single string. Your neck consists of one very limp string. The strings which control your jaw and hold your lips together have slackened and stretched to such an extent that your chin has dropped down loosely against your chest. All the various strings which connect the various parts of your body are loose and limp and your body is just sprawled loosely across the bed.

Mental Picture No. 3

Your body consists of a series of inflated rubber balloons. Two valves open in your feet, and the air begins to escape from your legs. Your leg begin to collapse and continue until they consist only of deflated rubber tubes, lying flat against the bed. Next a valve is opened in your chest and as the air begins to escape, your entire trunk begins to collapse limply against the bed. Continue with arms, head, and neck.

Mental Picture No. 4

Many people will find this the most relaxing exercise of all. Just go back in memory to some relaxing and pleasant scene from your past. There is always some time in everyone's life when they felt relaxed, at ease and at peace with the world. Pick out your own relaxing picture from your past and call up detailed memory images. Yours may be a peaceful scene at a mountain lake where you went fishing. If so, pay particular attention to the little incidental things in the environment. Remember the quiet ripples on the water. What sounds were present? Did you hear the quiet rustling of the leaves? Maybe you remember sitting perfectly relaxed, and somewhat drowsy before an open fireplace long ago. Did the logs crackle and spark? What other sights and sounds were present? Maybe you choose to remember relaxing in the sun on a beach. How did the sand feel against your body? Could you feel the warm relaxing sun touching your body, almost as a physical thing? Was there a breeze blowing? Were there gulls on the beach? The more of these incidental details you can remember and picture to yourself, the more successful you will be.

Daily practice will bring these mental pictures, or memories, clearer and clearer. The effect of learning will also be cumulative. Practice will strengthen the tie-in between mental image and physical sensation. You will become more and more proficient in relaxation, and this in itself will be "remembered" in future practice sessions.

Chapter 3 - Imagination

In Chapter 3 of Psycho-Cybernetics, Dr. Maltz opens the chapter by telling about a patient of his who considered himself to be "ugly" and "funny looking" because he he was uncomfortable with his nose and big ears. The patient kept on having pictures in his mind of people making fun of him and talking behind his back. The patient even imagined that his family was ashamed of his appearance because of his looks. When Dr. Maltz first met the patient in person, he saw that his patient's facial deficiencies were not as serious. Dr. Matlz describes the patient's nose as "classical Roman" and his ears were very similiar to thousands of ears from other people. Dr. Maltz realized that the man did not need surgery, and that he had a poor self-image of himself. He was not ugly as he thought himself to be. It was his imagination alone and poor self-image that was the cause of his misery. His poor-self image set up an automatic self-depricating mechanism to his misfortune. After a couple of sessions of Psycho-Cybernetics with Dr. Maltz, the patient realized the power of his imagination and that his imagination was the cause of his poor-self image. Soon the patient succeeded in building a positive self-image of himself and achieved his much-needed confidence by applying his Creative Imagination to do so.

Dr. Maltz says the Creative Imagination enters into all our actions. What the Creative Imagionation does is that it sets a "goal picture" which our automatic mechanism works on. Human beings act or fail to act not because of "will" but because of imagination. Human beings always act and feel and perform in line with what they imagine to be true about themselves and their enviroment.

The nervous system cannot tel the difference between a vividly imagined experience and a real experience. In both imagined and real experience, the nervous system reacts automatically to the information given to the forebrain. To further illustrate this point, Dr Maltz talks about people under hypnosis. In his research he found that when hypnotic subjects are hypnotized, they are convinced of the words of the hypnotist are reality and act as if things are true while being hypnotized.

Our ideas or beliefs, not emotions are the true causative agent of how we act of react in the environment. For example, a man on a hiking trail that meets a grizzly bear will react to what he thinks or believes or imagines what the environment is to him. The messages or information of what the environment is, is received by the nerve impulses of the senses (touch, taste, feel, sound, smell). These nerve impulses are then transmitted to the brain where they are decoded, and interpreted and then become ideas or mental images. It is these mental iamges that we react to or act upon. We act not according to what things are, but rather what we conceive things to be. We have mental images for our self image, our environment, the people around us etc. We behave and act as though our mental images of everything are the truth and reality.

Once we realize this, then we can say that mental images is our oppurtunity to practice positive attitudes and self-empowering habits. If we can picture ourselves being in a certain manner, it is almost the same as actually being that same way in reality. The reason for this is that the nervous system cannot differentiate between happening actually and vividly imagined. The more we mentally practice ourselves to be a certain way, we become closer and closer to it.

Role-playing, is a very good form of mental rehearsal. You can rehearse situations mentally in your mind, if you are in sales or if you have a job interview. You can mentally rehearse the sales process, the objections, the job interview, the interview questions, etc to make yourself more mentally prepared. You can mentally rehearse anything and it is just as good as you doing the actual thing the more vividly your mental rehearsal is.

The reason why imaging, visualization and mental rehearsal works so well is because that is the natural and normal function of our brain. Psycho-Cybernetics explains that the brain and nervous system and muscular system as a servo-mechanism (an automatic goal-striving machine which streets its way to a target or a goal by the use of feedback data and stored information, automatically correcting the course when necessary.) The ONLY WAY for the automatic creative mechanism to work is that it must have a clear and definite goal to strive for. When you have a clear goal in mind, your creative "success mechanism" takes over and does that job for you. This success mechanism works better than your "will" or conscious effort.

The same mechanism that can help you reach your goals can also help you achieve your "best self". You can do this by forming a picture of the self you want to be in your mind and "seeing yourself" in the new role. Before you can change anything about yourself, you must "see" that in yourself before it can happen.


Set aside 30 minutes a day where you can have peace and quiet to exercise your imagination. Many people have good results imagining themselves sitting in front of a large motion-picture screen of themselves. It is of utmost importance that you make you make your pictures very vivid, detailed and as real as possible. Pay attention to the smallest of details and all the sights, sounds, feeling, smells, tastes in the theater of your mind. Visualize the ideal person you want to be.

This 30 minute mental exercise will create new memories that will be stored in your mid-brain and central nervous system. It will help you create a new self-image. The more you practice visualizing your ideal self, the more you will become your ideal self. Our current inadequacies seems natural to us because we have mentally rehearsed real and imagined memories and we have put them into our automatic mechanism. So if we start putting in empowering thoughts and feelings and memories into our automatic mechanism 30 minutes a day, we can develop a more powerful personality and a healthy self-image.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Chapter 2 - Discovering the Success Mechanism

Chapter 2 of Psycho-Cybernetics goes further in-depth to explain how you can discover your very own "Success Mechanism".

All living creatures have built-in a guidance system or goal striving device. For animals, their goals are preset for survival and replication. We call this "instinct". Animals have their goals preset. Humans on the other hand have what is called the CREATIVE IMAGINATION which allows us to change our goals. Our Success Mechanism can be directed by the use of the human imagination.

When applying the science of cybernetics to human beings, the brain and nervous system together form a servo-mechanism that operates as a goal striving device. There are two general types of servo-mechanisms:

The first type of servo-mechanism is where the target, goal or answer is known and the objective is to reach it. An example of this type of servo-mechanism is a self-guided torpedo that is aimed directly at a particular target. The target is aimed at and then the success mechanism takes over till it hits the target. Before it hits the target, the torpedo will make mistakes auto-corrects its course to get in closer approximation towards the target. Essentially the torpedo "zig-zigs" its way into the target.

The second type of servo-mechanism is where the answer is not known and the objective is to discover or locate it. An example of this type of servo-mechanism is locating a package of cigarettes in a room too dark to see. Trying to recall a forgotten name is another example.

Dr. Maltz believes in a "universal mind" in which he says all humans can tap into.

Here's an interesting quote from Dr. Norbet Wiener:

"Once a scientist attacks a problem which he knows to have an answer, his entire attitude is changed. He is already fifty per cent of his way toward that answer."

Whenever human beings do creative work they always begin with a "target answer" or goal in mind which will be "recognized" when it is achieved. When it comes to problem sovling the Creative Imagination scans through stored information and past experiences and then uses them as a guide to help solve the problem. It is also quite common that the answer comes to the conscious mind when least expected, even in the form of dreams when we are asleep. The creative mechanism, according to Maltz has access to stord information in the universal mind.


The exercise here is to re-read this chapter three times per week for 3 weeks and become famliar with your success-mechanism and how it operates.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Chapter 1 - The Self-Image

Chapter 1 of Psycho-Cybernetics focuses on the idea of the self-image. Dr. Maltz describes the self image using the analogy of a blueprint. When looking at a blueprint of a house, we know how big a house will be and how many levels and all the precise measurements before actually building it.

Dr. Maltz writes about his two important discoveries concerning the self image:

1) Everything that you do, feel or how you behave is always consistent with your self-image.
2) The self-image can be changed.

To explain Dr. Maltz's first point, people who hold certain beliefs about themselves such as "I'm ugly" would act in alignment with that thought. They would wear clothes and style their hair in away that make them feel even more unattractive. Because they hold a self-image that they are ugly, they act as if they are ugly. The second point Dr. Maltz makes is that the self-image can be changed. This is what he is basing book, Psycho-Cybernetics on. If you can change your self-image, everything about you, inside and out will change in alignment with the self-image. He makes the important distinction that changing the self-image is very different from just positive-thinking. Positive-thinking, according to Dr. Maltz is just throwing new garments on old material. You must change the self-image first and then you will act consistently with that new self-image.

As for the subconscious-mind according to Dr. Maltz, is a "servo-mechanism". A servo-mechanism is a device used to control an operation through feedback. It is a mechanism that serves for a purpose. For instance, the thermostat is the servo-mechanism of the home furnace. So the human servo-mechanism is made up of the brain and nervous system (what the psychologist's call the sub-conscious) and it is used and directed by the will of the mind. Human beings only have one mind (or consciousness) and an automatic goal-striving machine. This goal-striving machine needs clear goals and objectives. Dr. Maltz calls this the CREATIVE MECHANISM. This Creative Mechanism's goal is seeking to create mental images. We can create mental images using our imagination. The ultimate goal of the Creative Mechanism is creating our self-image. Just like other servo-mechanisms, the Creative Mechanism makes use of stored information or "memory" to auto-correct problems and resolve situation so things run more smoothly.

Thus, to allow the Creative Mechanism to be a success-orientated mechanism one must learn to develop a realistic self-image and use the Creative Mechanism achieve one's goals. This is all achieved through "creative mental picturing, creatively experiencing through your imagination, and the formation of new automatic reaction patterns". This is no different according to Dr. Maltz, than recalling past memories, worrying or tying shoe laces. If you can remember and do something as simple as tying shoe laces, you can act out new action patterns till it becomes second-nature.

Introduction to Psycho-Cybernetics

Hello and welcome to my blog about the book, Psycho-Cybernetics written by Dr. Maxwell Maltz, a plastic surgeon. In this blog, I will go over the book chapter by chapter for my own self-discovery and I will share with you important teachings of this book.

Let us begin with a bit of background on the book itself. In his practice, Dr. Maltz noted that although plastic surgery was meant to give people a boost of self-confidence and a positive change of behavior, there were some cases where after the surgery was complete and the face was altered to be more physically attractive, the patient still felt inadequate and had "feelings of inferiority". As he began to explore the human personality Dr. Maltz concluded that altering one's physical appearance was not truly what changes ones behavior and self-esteem, rather it is the self-image or one's mental and spitual concept of oneself that is the dermining factor of personality and behavior.

Dr. Maltz was largely influenced by a new form of science called "Cybernetics". Cybernetics is a science that was developed by physicists and mathmeticians that focused on goal-orientation. It explains how things came to be and what must take place physically to achieve a certain goal. This, Dr. Maltz, felt was something missing in psychology as it fails to describe how one can improve one's self-image. How Cybernetics applies to humans is that the brain and the nervous system together, according to Dr. Maltz, is a "goal-striving mechanism". Thus the term and the title of the book, "Psycho-Cybernetics" can be defined as psychology applied with goal-oriented Cybernetics. If one has a success mechanism or a failure mechanism, the brain and the nervous system will automatically follow.

With Pyscho-Cybernetics, one can create his or her own success mechanism by having a clear understanding of how the human brain functions and how to strive goals that will improve one's life.