Psycho-Cybernetics: (Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #29)

Psycho-Cybernetics Maxwell Maltz notes by Kingston S. Lim

Below are my personal notes of Psycho-Cybernetics. These highlights were what I used to write my personal development book, Wiser Next Week, a condensation of many different self improvement books.


  • A human being always acts, feels and performs in accordance with what he imagines to be true about himself and his environment
  • Your nervous system cannot tell the difference between an imagined experience and a real experience
    • You act and feel not according to what things are really like, but according the the image your mind holds of what they are like
    • Therefore, if your ideas and mental images concerning ourselves are distorted or unrealistic, then our reaction to our environment will likewise be inappropriate
  • See clearly what you want to do before you do it, instead of using conscious effort or sheer will, let your creative success mechanism take over. Have a mental picture of the desired end result, it focuses your effort towards your goal, rather than a mental conflict of doubt. 

Practice Exercise: Great Living Starts With a Picture Held in Your Imagination of What You Would Like to Be

  1. Relax for 30 minutes daily, alone and undisturbed, close your eyes and exercise your imagination. Imagine you’re watching a movie, make it as vivid and detailed as possible
  2. You are creating a practice experience and if it is vivid and detailed enough, your imagination is equivalent to an actual experience to your nervous system
  3. See yourself acting and reacting appropriately, successfully, ideally, the way you want to be. It doesn’t matter how you acted yesterday
    1. You don’t need to try to have faith you’ll act ideally tomorrow. You’re nervous system will take care of that in time
  • This exercise builds new “memories” into your brain and nervous system. It builds a new image of self. 
  • With time and consistency, you will automatically “act differently” without trying. Use it to build new, desired behaviors, or to break old ones

Power of Rational Thinking

  • Our errors, mistakes and failures were necessary steps in the learning process. But they were  means to an end and not an end in themselves. Once they’ve served there purpose, they should be forgotten. 
    • The unhappiest mortal is that man who insists upon reliving the past over and over in imagination, constantly self critical of past mistake of which he is powerless. 

Freeing Your Creative Machinery

  1. Do your worrying before you place your bet, not after the wheel starts turning
    1. While you still hold influence over the outcome, that is when you should concern yourself as mental exertion may reveal new options
  2. Focus on only 1 thing at a time
  3. Sleep on it
  4. Relax

The Habit of Happiness

  • Happiness is simply a state of mind where our thinking is pleasant most of the time
  • Living life on a deferred payment plan is a common cause of unhappiness
  • Do not let outward events and other people dictate how you feel or react, this is the position of an obedient slave
  • Form the habit of reacting aggressively and positively towards threats and problems through knowing that whatever problems and setbacks will be solved. 
  • If you wait until circumstances justify you thinking pleasant thoughts, you’ll wait forever
    • Understand that it is your sole responsibility to make things better. 

Failure Mechanisms:

  • Frustration: Chronic Frustration Usually Means the goals we set for ourselves are unrealistic, or the image we set for ourselves is inadequate, or both
  • Aggressiveness: Excessive and misdirected aggressiveness follows frustration as night follows day
    • The failure type doesn’t direct aggressiveness toward the accomplishment of a worthwhile goal. Instead it’s used in self destructive channels. 
    • The best channel of all for aggression is to direct it towards a goal. 
  • Insecurity: Use of a false measuring stick, we should be “good” without acknowledging the process behind that competence
    • Man is a goal striving mechanism, the self realizes itself fully only when man is moving forward towards something
    • Those whom are convinced that he is “good” in the absolute sense not only has no incentive to do better, but feels insecure because he must defend the sham
  • Loneliness: Being cut off and alienated from other people
    • It is unwittingly arranged so because of his passive attitude, that its up to others to come to him to ensure that he is entertained
    • It never occurs to him that he must contribute something to any social situation
  • Uncertainty: A “way” of avoiding potential mistakes and responsibility based on the fictitious premise that if no decision is made, nothing can go “wrong”
    • Being “wrong” holds untold horrors to the person who tries to conceive of himself as “perfect”
    • It is the nature of things that we progress by acting, making mistakes and correcting course
  • Resentment: An emotional rehashing or refighting of an event from the past. You can’t win because you’re attempting to do the impossible, change the past
    • Its caused by your own emotional response, your own reaction. You alone have power over it. Resentment is allowing others to control your emotional response. 
    • If you feel life owes you something, a handout and it goes unfulfilled, you will be resentful. 
      • You alone are responsible for your own success and happiness
  • Emptiness: A symptom that you’re not living creatively. You then have a goal you deem unimportant or you’re not using your talents and efforts to strive toward an important goal. 

Unlocking Your Real Personality

  • Excessive negative feedback interferes with an appropriate response
    • Feedback is meant to point you in the right direction, not to stop you from taking action
  • Whenever you constantly and consciously monitor your every act, word and manner, you become inhibited and self conscious. You become too careful to make a good impression and choke off creativity
  • How to Tell if You Need Disinhibition
    • Shy around strangers
    • Dread new and strange situations
    • Feelings of inadequacy, worry, nervousness and self consciousness

Actions to Take for the Inhibited

  • Don’t wonder in advance what you’re going to say. Just open your mouth and say it. Improvise as you go along
  • Don’t plan, don’t think before you act. Act, and correct your actions as you go along
  • Stop criticizing yourself, no more “shoulda, coulda, woulda”
    • Focus on actions moving forward, not dwelling in the past
  • Make a habit of speaking louder than usual
    • This allows you to exert all your strength, including strength blocked off and tied up by inhibition
  • Let people know when you like them. Those whom are inhibited fear others will find their compliments superficial or suspect ulterior motive. Break this barrier. 
    • Complement at least 3 people a day

Crisis Into Creative Opportunity

  • Practice without pressure and you’ll learn more efficiently and be able to perform better in a crisis situation. 
    • Build it into the unconscious, “shadow box”
  • Your automatic success mechanism must respond automatically. Too much tension or anxiety jams the system. 

Creating a Winning Feeling

  • “An empty mind, is a devil’s playground”
  • Banishing negative thoughts leads to feelings of anxiety of whether the thoughts are actually gone. What you focus on expands, new negative thoughts will take the place of the old. 
  • Instead, focus on positive imagery and memories. As our minds are filled with the positive, the negative will take care of itself. 
  • Everytime you find yourself filled with negativity, use it as a signal to fill your mind with pleasant pictures of the past or anticipate positive future experiences
  • Develop a nostalgia for the future, instead of the past, to remain vital and productive, develop an enthusiasm for life, create a need for more life and you shall receive more. 

If these brief notes, peaked your interest in Psycho-Cybernetics, you can check it out on Amazon here.

And be sure to check out my book, Wiser Next Week.

All Previous Entries:

The Magic of Thinking Big: Ultra Condensed Cliff Notes #1

Millionaire Fastlane: Ultra Condensed Cliff Notes #2

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #3

30 Lessons for Living: Tried & True Advice from the Wisest Americans: Ultra Condensed Cliff Notes #4

Awaken the Giant Within: Ultra Condensed Cliff Notes #5

The End of Jobs: Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #6

Slipstream Time Hacking: Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #7

Think and Grow Rich: Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #8

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion: Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #9

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success: Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #10

The Obstacle is the Way: Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #11

Meditations: Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #12

Why Loyalty Matters: Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #13

Walden: Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #14

Self Reliance and Other Essays: Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #15

Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable: Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #16

Letters From A Stoic: Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #17

On the Shortness of Life: Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #18

Principles Life & Work: Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #19

As A Man Thinketh: Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #20

Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreements without Giving In (Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #21)

The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking: (Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #22)

Man’s Search for Meaning: (Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #23)

Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results: (Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #24)

Unlimited Memory: (Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #25)

The One Thing: (Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #26)

You Are Not Your Brain: The 4 Step Solution for Changing Bad Habits: (Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #27)

How to Lead When You’re Not In Charge: (Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #28)

7 thoughts on “Psycho-Cybernetics: (Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #29)

  1. Pingback: Repost: A really insightful post! A must read! Psycho-Cybernetics: (Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #29) – Tracey's World , Discover

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