Thursday, February 26, 2009

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.

1 comment:

Mr. SGR said...

This is such a powerful lesson I plan to share with other along with the one that applies to SUCCESS.

This book, or the newly updated version should be made into a class or course in every middle, junior, and high school in the world. I imagine a world where people know, understand, and apply this knowledge and awereness in their daily lives from an early age.

Thank you for posting this.

I also want to reference this post on my blog today and will provide a link back to here.