Summary

We have an unconscious self-image that molds our life to stay congruent with it. Most of us have a self-image that was “given” to us by parents, teachers, and culture, and this self-image is small and limiting. Consciously exame your self-image and test the limits of your personal reality. Give vivid, detailed goals to your unconscious to work on, and strive towards them everyday.

Pragmatic Application

Hero scrapbook at end of chapter 1.

Meditation Techniques

Book Notes 

Chapter 1 – Self-Image: Your Key To Living Without Limits 

“Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside them was superior to circumstance.” – Bruce Barton

“Most of our beliefs about ourselves have unconsciously been formed from our past experiences, our successes and failures, our humiliations, our triumphs, and the way other people have reacted to us, especially in early childhood. From all these we mentally construct a self (or a picture of a self).”

“The self-image then controls what you can and cannot accomplish, what is difficult or easy for you, even how others respond to you just as certainly and scientifically as a thermostat controls the temperature in your home.”

Your self-image can be changed (and likely needs to be). (Metaprogram anyone?)

Prescott Lecky is the main scientific source this book draws from. He pioneered self-image (research him.)

“To really live, that is to find life reasonably satisfying, you must have an adequate and realistic self-image that you can live with. You must find yourself acceptable to you. You must have a wholesome self-esteem.”

His book is not scientifically rigorous but he urges the reader, try for yourself. This is the essence of pragmatism and experimenting. Always be experimenting.

Ultimately he advocates; Learn, practice, and experience. I can dig that.

Great Tech: create a scrapbook of 3-5 great humans who each examplify some aspect of your personality you’d wish to improve. I’d pick Carl Jung up for my psychological curiosity, Robert Anton WIlson for philosophic open-mindedness, Elon Musk for manifesting dreams, etc.

Additional Tech: choose one person to hyper-study for a month. Read as much as you can about them with the goal in mind that you could have a conversation with them in your mind.

Chapter 2 – How To Awaken the Automatic Success Mechanism Within You

Now, this is an older book and it is more than a little flimsy scientifically, but the essential point he shares in this chapter has been talked about in almost every self-help book I’ve ever read; Choose a vivid goal you wish to achieve, and work towards it tirelessly, and magic seems to happen.

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” -Thoreau

“The word cybernetics comes from the Greek word meaning literally “steersmen.” This really caught my attention, it reminds me of the Rider/Elephant Dual-Process Theory metaphor.

Interesting Tech: This is an idea I’d like to play with. At the end of the chapter he tells the reader to reread this chapter at least times a week for 21 days. Having a reader reread something is a unique (and possibly effective), way to get them to learn somethin

Chapter 3 – Imagination: The Ignition Key To Your Automatic Success Mechanism 

“Human beings always act and feel and perform in accordance with what they imagine to be true about themselves and their environment.” This idea really affects me. I think this is the core of human experience; we are telling ourselves a story and most of us are unaware we are doing this, and that we have control over how the story gets told.”

“The human brain and nervous system are engineered to react automatically and appropriately to the problems and challenges in the environment.”

“What we have not been quick to realize, however, is that the brain and nervous system that reacts automatically to environment is the same brain and nervous system that tells us what the environment is.” Fucking great.

“You act and feel not according to what things are really like, but according to the image your mind holds of what they are like. You have certain mental images of yourself, your world, and the people around you, and you behave as though these images were the truth, the reality, rather than the things they represent.”

“When you see a thing clearly in your mind, your creative “success mechanism” within you takes over and does the job much better than you could do it by conscious effort our willpower.”

The claim here is, if we vividly and in detail imagine an outcome, our unconscious mind will work tirelessly to help us achieve it.

Try it; imagination practice, visualization, mental picturing, our using “The Theater of Your Mind.”

Tech: For 30 minutes, at the same time each day, for 21 days, Imagine your Ideal Self. Imagine what they look like, how they talk, how they walk, how they interact with others, how they spend their day, what they want from life, etc. Each night attempt to make this more vivid.

(Interestingly, this is a visual version of a scientifically-supported writing technique called “Best Possible Self Exercise.” In this protocol, you sit and write for 20 minutes, 4 days in a row, about what your best possible self looks like. Maltz was ahead of the science here.)

Chapter 4 – How To Dehypnotize False Beliefs

“Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.” -Nietzsche

“If you have accepted an idea – from yourself, your teachers, your parents, friends, advertisements, or any other source — and further, if you are firmly convinced that idea is true, it has the same power over you as the hypnotist’s words have over the hypnotized.”

“This hypnotic programming gains permanence by coming from an authoritative source, through repetition, and through intensity.”

“It is no exaggeration to say that all human beings are hypnotized to some extent, either by ideas they have uncritically accepted from others, or by ideas they have repeated to themselves or convinced themselves are true.”

Tech: Meditate for 30 minutes everyday. You can lie down, and just imagine “letting go” wherever you feel yourself “holding.” I find myself constantly having tension in my jaw and my shoulders.

Chapter 5 – How To Succeed With The Power Of Rational Thinking 

Basically apply Rational-Emotive-Behavioral-Therapy. I wonder who came first, Albert Ellis or Maxwell Maltz. There is no reference to Ellis.

“There is widely accepted fallacy that rational, logical, conscious thinking has no power over unconscious processes or mechanisms, and that to change negative beliefs, feelings, or behavior, it is necessary to dig down and dredge up material from the “unconscious.” -He, Ellis, Beck, and all positive psychologists agree that this is just not helpful (or as helpful as giving people a future to aspire towards.)

“It is quite possible to overcome infantile suggestions of the unconscious, and even to change the contents of the unconscious, by employing the right kind of technique.” -Bertrand Russell

“We must use rational thinking to achieve perspective, to rise above these paralyzing mental hazards.”

Tech: Sit down and have a heart-to-heart talk with yourself. Are there goals you have accepted as “impossible?” Use rationality to example if it is truly impossible or if it is a self-limiting beliefs holding you back.

Note: I am going to stop the book notes here. A lot of the science of this book is dated and sadly I have the “new” version where someone else put their own words into the text without marking that it wasn’t Maltz’s. I will do a new review of this book when I get an original copy of PC and reread. What covered is more than enough to feast on.