Improving Your ‘Self-Image’ and Yourself Through Imagination
From an essay by Tom Peters
“Self-image” is the key to human personality. Expand the self-image and you expand the “area of the possible.” We can improve ourselves through improving our self-image. This improvement will be both in our business and personal life.
We react to the image we have of ourselves in our brain. Change that image for the better and our lives improve. Self-image is changed for the better or worse, not by intellect alone, not by intellectual knowledge alone, but by experiencing.
Wittingly or unwittingly, you develop your self image by your creative experiencing in the past. You can change this image by the same method. This experiencing can be either real or imagined. Experimental and clinical psychologists have proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the human nervous system cannot tell the difference between an ‘actual experience” and an experience imagined vividly and in detail. Basically, a lie is as good as the truth as long as you believe it.
Maxwell Maltz, M.D., a plastic surgeon, discovered that when you change a person’s face you almost invariably change their future. Change their physical image and nearly always the person is changed, their personality, their behavior, and sometimes, basic talents and abilities.
A plastic surgeon does not simply alter a person’s face, he alters the person’s inner self. It’s as though the personality itself has a ”face.” Maxwell Maltz discovered that you can change that “personality face” without plastic surgery and thereby change a person’s “self-image” for the better. If a person’s “self image” changes for the better, you almost invariably change the person’s life for the better. Maxwell Maltz, M.D., invented this process and called it Psycho-Cybernetics.
The process of improving our self-image involves using our imagination and looking at ourselves in the most positive way possible.
We each have a current self-image that governs our conscious and subconscious behavior. If we are going to change our self-image, we need to develop new ideas on how we picture ourselves. Ideas are not changed by will but by other ideas. We need to picture ourselves the way we want to be or what we want to become. It’s very important to picture ourselves as already having attained full success, not just making progress toward success.
In sports the current hottest teaching technique is Cybernetics. Prior to the students going out to start practice, they view video tapes of the best athletes and then mentally picture themselves as successful, smooth and coordinated, basically having already accomplished success. They then learn faster, easier, with less stress and are more successful.
A technique that psychologists use for working on your self-image is to picture yourself before a large motion picture screen. You need to concentrate on as many details a possible. Make the picture vivid and real, pay attention to small details, sights, sounds, feelings, emotions. Picture yourself as an accomplished speaker, a first-class salesman, or a great negotiator. Play out various scenarios in your mind. Be confident and eloquent as a speaker. Overcome every objection as a salesman or be a brilliant negotiator. Mentally experience success. Your mind reacts to what you have experienced easier than what you have intellectually learned.
All of us have had past successes that we are proud of. Remember how great it felt, how confident you were and how you looked to the future with enthusiasm. Remember and build on these feelings and memories, expand your capabilities and become a better you.
Remember! If you have a low opinion of yourself others will too. You should be your own best friend; don’t tear yourself down. We all want to be liked, wanted and able. Give yourself the best chance.
Mentally picturing the desired end result forces positive thinking and lessens your tension. Tension, inferiority complex, and hesitation (being too careful) are the biggest enemies. You are better than you think. Consciously improving each individual area is too hard and takes too much time.
By mentally picturing total success you allow yourself to be positive, loose, and less inhibited in achieving a better total you.
This technique is guaranteed to work, to make life more enjoyable, business more successful and to put more enthusiasm in everything you do. You’re better than you think. This process will allow you to prove it to yourself.
Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz, M.D. can be purchased at most local book stores, on amazon.com, or directly from the publishers. In paperback ($5.95) Simon & Schuster Publisher 212-373-8000 or cassette tape ($15.95) Audio Renaissance 800-221-7945.
Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain .
Excerpted from Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain. Copyright c 1995 by Shakti Gawain. All rights reserved.
Creative visualization is the technique of using your imagination to create what you want in your life. There is nothing at all new, strange, or unusual about creative visualization. You are already using it every day — every minute in fact. It is your natural power of imagination, the basic creative energy of the universe, which you use constantly, whether or not you are aware of it.
In the past, many of us have used our power of creative visualization in a relatively unconscious way. Because of our own deep-seated negative concepts about life, we have automatically and unconsciously expected and imagined lack, limitation, difficulties, and problems to be our lot in life. To one degree or another that is what we have created for ourselves.
This book is about learning to use your natural creative imagination in a more and more conscious way, as a technique to create what you truly want – love, fulfillment, enjoyment, satisfying relationships, rewarding work, self-expression, health, beauty, prosperity, inner peace, and harmony … whatever your heart desires. The use of creative visualization gives us a key to tap into the natural goodness and bounty of life.
Imagination is the ability to create an idea, a mental picture, or a feeling sense of something. In creative visualization you use your imagination to create a clear image, idea, or feeling of something you wish to manifest. Then you continue to focus on the idea, feeling, or picture regularly, giving it positive energy until it becomes objective reality … in other words, until you actually achieve what you have been imagining.
Your goal may be on any level — physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual. You might imagine yourself with a new home, or with a new job, or having a satisfying relationship, or feeling calm and serene, or perhaps with an improved memory and learning ability. Or you might picture yourself handling a difficult situation effortlessly, or simply see yourself as a radiant being, filled with light and love. You can work on any level, and all will have results … through experience you will find the particular images and techniques that work best for you.
Let us say, for example, that you are feeling unsatisfied in your current job situation. If you feel that the job is basically right for you but there are factors that need improvement, you could begin by imagining the improvements that you desire. If that doesn’t work, or if you feel that you would prefer a new job, then focus on imagining yourself in the employment situation that you desire.