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November 11, 2013

Dr. Maxwell Maltz and Psycho-Cybernetics

Psycho-cybernetics sounds like something from the Borg and Star Trek, right? It was decades ahead of every other concept of self-development when Dr. Maltz developed it in the 1950’s. But it isn’t science fiction. It’s a real, practical way for us to achieve happiness and self-confidence.

Maxwell Maltz’s First Career

Dr. Maltz started as a plastic surgeon. Plastic surgery was a new, almost unheard of

Dr. Maxwell Maltz
Dr. Maxwell Maltz

medical discipline, in the 1930’s. Maltz even had to travel to Europe to complete his training.

As he treated patients, Maltz removed scars and gave people the new, beautiful faces they wanted. Yet he also noticed that some people had no change in how they saw themselves. The physical scar was removed, but some people didn’t feel changed.

This led Dr. Maltz to believe each person has a self-image that governs my personality, what I will and will not do, even what I can and cannot accomplish. He published is findings in New Faces, New Futures in 1936.

Maxwell Maltz’s Second Career

14 years of research, testing and experiments followed. Max wanted to know why so many people see themselves inaccurately in this self-image.

Max discovered the self-image is a complex picture of

  • who you are
  • what you are capable of
  • what you deserve

We create this picture from

  • what we’ve been told about ourselves
  • past experiences, and
  • beliefs we’ve developed about ourselves

Maltz found our perceptions are often distorted by unchallenged past experiences and other false ideas we have embedded in our sub-conscious mind. So he looked for ways to help people change that self-image, and help them achieve their life desires.

Maxwell Maltz’s Impact on Us Today

Maltz’s work is mostly taken for granted today. We hear athletes and performers talk about visualizing performance all the time. In fact, we often suppose these techniques are for superstars and the ultra-successful without realizing everyone can use them in their daily lives.

Psycho-cybernetics is about more than just becoming the next Donald Trump or Joan Rivers.

When Dr. Maltz published Psycho-Cybernetics in 1960, his intent was to help everyone reach their peak potential. To be happy with the life they have chosen.

One of his patients simply wanted to be a good father and husband. He was an ex-convict, and believed he was “just the sort of person who had low friends.” The techniques Dr. Maltz developed helped this man become the dad and husband he wanted to be. In his own words, “psycho-cybernetics drove him sane.”

Dr. Maltz’s techniques are often reduced to simple motivation. Yet Dr. Maltz said “Motivation without understanding how the mind works, and specific strategies for putting it to use, only leads to frustration.” So you can expect to get both here: motivation and instruction.

I owe a debt of gratitude to Dr. Maltz for psycho-cybernetics, and Dan Kennedy for introducing me to it. This is what Getting Happy is all about: sharing the tools and techniques I’ve discovered in changing my self-image, and putting happiness into my life. My personal goal is to find teens who are as I once was, and keep them from traveling the darker paths I’ve walked.

As we make progress together, I hope you’ll share your story about Getting Happy. Why you wanted to, and how you got there. For now, please share your questions about Dr. Maltz, his work, or even questions about the book Getting Happy. I’m happy to hear from you.

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