More than 50 years ago, plastic surgeon Dr. Maxwell Maltz had a revelation after witnessing behavioral and personality changes in patients after disfiguring accidents or corrective surgery: How you see and what you believe about your self-image controls absolutely what you can and cannot accomplish. Furthermore, the habits and actions you associate with your self-image cannot be changed or overcome by conscious effort, “positive thinking,” and will power. “The person who has a ‘fat’ self-image — whose self-image claims to have a ‘sweet tooth,’ to be unable to resist ‘junk food,’ who cannot find the time to exercise,” Maltz posits as an example, “will be unable to lose weight and keep it off no matter what he tries to do consciously in opposition to that self-image.”
This sovereignty of self-image became the foundation for the publication of the best-selling Psycho-Cybernetics in 1960. Last month, a new version of Maltz’s seminal self-help classic, updated by marketing consultant and Pyscho-Cybernetics Foundation CEO Dan S. Kennedy, hit the bookstores. The good news is that The New Psycho-Cybernetics: The Original Science of Self-Improvement and Success That Has Changed the Lives of 30 Million People (Prentice Hall Press, $22) still holds up after all these years.
The New Psycho-Cybernetics features strategies–including relaxation, visualization and calm, and rational thinking–to help you focus on “resetting” the “facts” about your self-image from those consistent with failure to those consistent with success. Sometimes the book feels a bit dated — this is quite literally a posthumous update of Maltz’s original works — but if you are truly ready to change your life for the better, this is a great place to start.
Don’t Play ‘Small’
Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, handsome, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to manifest the glory of God within us. It is not just in some; it is in everyone. And, as we let our own light shine, we consciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
–Nelson Mandela, 1994 South African Presidential Inaugural Speech, quoting spiritual leader Marianne Williamson of the Church of Today in Detroit.