A New Way to Get More Living Out of Life
Life gets busy. Has Psycho-Cybernetics been on your reading list? Instead, learn the key insights now.
We’re scratching the surface here. If you don’t already have Maxwell Maltz’s classic book on the importance of self-image, order it here or get the audiobook for free to learn the juicy details.
Most people experience moments of doubt in their abilities or lack of self-esteem. These are natural processes. But there are ramifications that occur when they become a consistent habit. In such instances, your progress towards your goals gets impeded. This causes your doubt to compound further.
Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz explores the fundamentals of how the mind works. The mind is a powerful tool. When harnessed correctly, it can positively impact your life and drive meaningful change. However, the life you live depends on your self-image.
Maltz uses practical examples to explain how your self-view controls your success.
Psycho-Cybernetics is an ideal read for people seeking to break past mental barriers. The book suggests evidence-backed theories on reprogramming your mind and implementing behavior changes.
About Maxwell Maltz
Maxwell Maltz was an American cosmetic surgeon and author. Many believe his books have inspired the modern self-help book genre. Maltz graduated from Columbia University with a doctorate in medicine in 1923. After graduating, Maltz trained to be a plastic surgeon. His experiences of surgery inspired his thoughts about self-image and success. This led him to write Psycho-Cybernetics. To date, the book has changed the lives of over 40 million people.
Maltz was born in 1899 in New York’s Lower East Side. He was the third child of Josef and Taube Elzweig, who were Jewish immigrants from Resche, a town in the Austrian-Hungarian Empire (today Rzeszów, Poland).
He also wrote fiction, such as the 1947 play “Unseen Scar” and the 1975 novel “The Time is Now.” His autobiography, “The Pygmalion of a Plastic Surgeon,” was influential and was discussed in many other books about body and identity. After his self-help book was released, it was renamed “Dr. Psycho-Cybernetics.”
StoryShot #1: Experience Is Important
As a plastic surgeon, Dr. Maltz realized one thing. Even if people get plastic surgery, their feelings and attitudes remain the same. He then came across cybernetics. Cybernetics is the actions and requirements of machines that allow them to complete tasks effectively. People can apply the same processes to achieve success or failure.
People’s experiences are like machine programming. Your experiences lead to specific outcomes. Similar to programming a language, we can change these experiences. We should consider how we can use our experiences to achieve successful outcomes. Maltz encourages you to read this book with experience in mind. That’s why he suggests you actively read the book by taking notes.
StoryShot #2: Change Your Success Mechanisms
We each have a self-image developed based on our experiences. Your self-belief guides how you live your life. Some people are perpetually successful, while others seem to fail continually. Their experiences – success or failure – guide their future behaviors.
Most people aim to change their self-image by making external changes, like plastic surgery. Others encourage positive thinking, but do not address their self-image beliefs. Both types will fail. True happiness comes from achieving an adequate self-image you can live with.
In this book, the subconscious is a mechanism controlled by your mind. The function of your subconscious depends on the goals you set. These goals develop through your self-image. Based on these assumptions, your self-image dictates the limits of your accomplishments.
There are five fundamentals for setting up success mechanisms:
- Create goals and targets you believe you might achieve. Success mechanisms depend on goals.
- Make sure your goals focus on the end, not the means. Your mechanism will find a way to work if you remain centered on your goals.
- Making mistakes feeds your auto-correct. This is a positive reaction that helps you redirect toward your goal.
- Forget your past errors and move on. You should focus on the final successful choice that will lead you toward your goal.
- Trust the process without worrying about having to adjust it. Let your mechanisms work. Don’t make them work.
StoryShot #3: Imagination and Relaxation Matter
Our reactions to our environment are generally automatic and without thought. We react based on our internal systems. The most important thing is what you believe to be true. These beliefs create the reaction. Many studies have found that mental practice can improve performance. You must practice correcting your mental image of a specific action. Changing what you believe is far easier than just trying harder. Instead of excessive effort, you can relax and enjoy the process.
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Alter your self-image to improve your outcomes. By picturing yourself differently, you will act differently and improve your life. Avoid being too harsh on yourself and maintain a conservative, optimistic attitude. It is easy to feel inferior when we measure ourselves to someone else’s expectations. Instead, believe in who you know you are and who you can be.
Relaxation is crucial when seeking to alter our self-image. Your imagination is vital in encouraging relaxation. You should get comfortable and consciously relax each muscle group in your body. Then, practice positive and calming mental images over and over. Over time, these mental images will align with your physical feelings.
StoryShot #4: Use Rational Thinking
Rational thinking is an effective tool for changing your beliefs and behaviors. Rationality allows you to realize that negative unconscious thoughts do not always have to be resurfaced to move on. Instead, it is more rational to focus only on the mistakes that will help you towards your goals. You should forget even these mistakes once you have practiced achieving your goals.
We can create personal success by purging negative memories. When you start feeling negative, look for the cause of this negativity. In most cases, this negativity is irrational. Use rational thinking to show yourself the absurdity of your negativity. You should repeat this practice whenever negative thoughts or memories surface. In this space, encourage rational and positive beliefs.
There are four questions you can ask yourself to evaluate whether a belief should remain:
- Is there any rational reason for such a belief?
- Could it be that I am mistaken in this belief?
- Would I come to the same conclusion about another person in a similar situation?
- Why should I continue to act and feel as if this were true if there is no compelling reason to believe it?
You should be angry about these negative beliefs. These beliefs are the barrier between you and success. Allow this anger to surface and use it as motivation to create new beliefs. Besides this anger, you should also accompany your rational thoughts with feelings and desires. Try to get excited about your desires. If you can make this transition, you dwell more on positive and desirable goals than negative ones.
Rational thoughts are essential when establishing your goals and dismissing negative self-images. But you should not let rational thoughts dictate your entire life. If you continuously focus on rationality, you will be anxious and stressed. Once you have set up rational goals, you need to just let go and allow success to come to you. This act of letting go encourages the spontaneity and creativity that is fundamental to success. Part of letting go includes avoiding multitasking. Multitasking takes your focus away from the moment and increases stress.
We rate this book 4.5/5.
This article was first published in 2021. It was updated and revised on 15 Oct 2022.
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Syed Rafiqul Hossain
I must say that I didn’t find many websites that provide such great summaries. I really liked it.
Thanks for your supportive comment, Syed Rafiqul! Keep the feedback coming.
Thanks for your feedback!
Great summary! Thanks
Thanks for your feedback!