The self-help books of today owe a big debt to Dr. Maxwell Maltz, author of Psycho Cybernetics. When I have talked about the book to students, they usually just give me a blank stare. They haven’t heard of it! Now this classic book has been updated in a new edition for a new generation of readers by Dan S. Kennedy and his associates in the Psycho-Cybernetics Foundation, Inc. As part of the update, more contemporary examples have been incorporated from celebrities such as Chuck Norris and Greg Louganis.
Speaking of current examples, I was struck by a video of Olympic Gold Medalist Sarah Hughes as a small child. "What do you want to do when you grow up, Sarah?" "I’m going to ice skate in the Olympics and win a gold medal! And I can’t wait!" Visualization is classic Psycho-Cybernetics.
Maxwell Maltz was a cosmetic surgeon. He was dumbfounded when he would show his patients their new, beautiful faces and they would say, "I don’t see any difference," or "I still feel ugly." Dr. Maltz came up with the theory that these patients had an image in their mind, the self-image, that had to be changed before they could accept their physical image. After working with patients to improve their self-image, many of them found they didn’t need to improve their physical appearance after all!
According to Dr. Maltz, the mind can’t really distinguish between actual experiences and a synthetic visualized experience. If this is the case, you can improve your performance through mental rehearsal in the "Theater of the Mind."
A basketball team was divided into three groups of players. One group practiced making free throws. The second group sat down and looked at the basket, mentally making free throws. The third group goofed off and didn’t practice physically or mentally. The third group didn’t improve. The first group made a dramatic improvement. The second group, with only mental practice, improved almost as much as the first group.
The entire book is written in Dr. Maltz’s voice. Sometimes this seems rather strange, because the experiences and examples cover more than a lifetime.
Overall, The New Psycho-Cybernetics is a practical, invaluable guide to self-improvement that I heartily recommend.
Buy it on Amazon: Psycho-Cybernetics, A New Way to Get More Living Out of Life.
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