Psycho-cybernetics; give yourself a mental facelift

Dave Hogan, the CEO and founder of Smartflow, recommended “Psycho-Cybernetics”. A book about how the outside can influence the inside. How to fake it till you make it. How to programme for success. The practice of calling up “pleasant ideas and memories” is one of the most important aspects of Psycho-Cybernetics. That and changing your self-image. The book is a hands-on version and combination of  “Ask and it is given“,  “The biology of belief” and “Breaking the habit of being yourself“.

You decide what you think

No one can decide what your thoughts shall be but yourself. Our habits are garments worn by our personalities. They are not accidental or happenstance. We have them because they fit us. Fully 95% of our behaviour, feeling, and response is habitual. What we need to understand is that these habits, unlike addictions, can be modified, changed, or reversed simply by taking the trouble to make a conscious decision—and then by practising or “acting out” the new response or behaviour. 


Stop carrying around a mental picture of yourself as a defeated, worthless person. Negative experiences do not inhibit, but contribute to the learning process, as long as they are used properly as “negative feedback data,” and are seen as deviations from the positive goal that is desired. Our errors, mistakes, failures, and sometimes even our humiliations, were necessary steps in the learning process. However, they were meant to be a means to an end—and not an end in themselves. When they have served their purpose, they should be forgotten.

You decide your reality

Human being always acts and feels and performs in accordance with what he imagines to be true about himself and his environment. Your nervous system reacts appropriately to what you think or imagine to be true. Your nervous system cannot tell the difference between a real experience and one that is vividly imagined. You also have a built-in spiritual thermostat that enables you to maintain an emotional climate and atmosphere despite the emotional weather around you. You are in control.

Change who you are

The author was a plastic surgeon. He found that when you change a man’s face, you almost invariably change his future. Change his physical image and nearly always you change the man, his personality, his behaviour and sometimes even his basic talents and abilities. He believes the brain and nervous system constitute a marvellous and complex “goal-striving mechanism.” A sort of built-in automatic guidance system that works for you as a “success mechanism,” or against you as a “failure mechanism,” depending on how “YOU,” the operator, operate it and the goals you set for it. 

You are  engineered for success

Your brain and nervous system constitute a goal-striving mechanism that operates automatically to achieve a certain goal, very much as a self-aiming torpedo or missile seeks out its target and steers its way to. If you really mean business, have an intense desire, and begin to think intensely about all angles of the problem—your Creative Mechanism goes to work—and the “scanner” begins to scan back through stored information, or “grope” its way to an answer. Every human being has been literally “engineered for success” by his Creator. Every human being has access to a power greater than himself. Moreover, its nature is to operate spontaneously according to present need. Therefore, you have no guarantees in advance. It comes into operation as you act and as you place a demand on it by your actions. 

You are your experience

Our present state of self-confidence and poise is the result of what we have experienced rather than what we have learned intellectually. Both experimental and clinical psychology 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. 

You are your self-image

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. All your actions, feelings, behaviours, even your abilities, are always consistent with this self-image. In short, you will “act like” the sort of person you conceive yourself to be. The self-image can be changed. Numerous case histories have shown that one is never too young or too old to change his self-image and thereby start to live a new life. 

You are handicapping yourself

If you have accepted an idea—from yourself, your teachers, your parents, friends, advertisements, from 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 hypnotised subject. After thousands of experiments and many years of research researchers have concluded that poor grades in school are, in almost every case, due in some degree to the students’ “self-conception” and “self-definition.” At least 95% of people have their lives blighted by feelings of inferiority to some extent. To millions, this same feeling of inferiority is a serious handicap to success and happiness. 

Clean yourself up

Whenever you begin to feel remorse for an act which your reason tells you is not wicked, examine the causes of your feeling of remorse, and convince yourself in detail of their absurdity. One of the reasons that the power of rational thinking goes unrecognised is that it is so seldom used. “Is this belief based on an actual fact or on an assumption—or a false conclusion?” Then ask yourself the questions: 

  1. Is there any rational reason for such a belief? 
  2. Could it be that I am mistaken in this belief? 
  3. Would I come to the same conclusion about some other person in a similar situation? 
  4. Why should I continue to act and feel as if this were true if there is no good reason to believe it? 

Get emotional about them. Can you see that you have cheated yourself and sold yourself short—not because of a “fact”—but only because of some stupid belief?

Create a better you

You must find your self acceptable to “you.” You must have a self that you can trust and believe in. You must have a self that you are not ashamed to “be,” and one that you can feel free to express creatively, rather than hide or cover-up. If we picture ourselves performing in a certain manner, it is nearly the same as the actual performance. Mental practice helps to make perfect. Apply “skull practice.” Even though real life has no set lines to be recited like a stage play, rehearsal practice will help you to ad-lib and react spontaneously to whatever situation you find yourself in, because you have practised reacting spontaneously. 

Act as you want to be

See yourself acting, feeling, “being,” as you want to be. Do not say to yourself, “I am going to act this way tomorrow.” Just say to yourself: “I am going to imagine myself acting this way now—for thirty minutes today.” This exercise builds new “memories” or stored data into your mid-brain and central nervous system. It builds a new image of self. Replay and relive the positive memory, then go into the future and picture how you want to be with the same feeling you felt in the past. 

Tips from the book

Consciously practice the habit of “taking no anxious thought for tomorrow,” by giving all your attention to the present moment. Live today as best you can. By living today well, you do the most within your power to make tomorrow better. 

  • Practice becoming more consciously aware of your present environment. What sights, sounds, odours are present in your environment right now that you are not conscious 
  • Most of us feel hurried and harried because we form a false mental picture of our duties, obligations, and responsibilities. Even on the busiest day, the crowded hours come to us one moment at a time; no matter how many problems, tasks, or strains we face, they always come to us in single file, which is the only way they can come. 
  • You are letting outward events and other people dictate to you how you shall feel and how you shall react. 
  • Men are disturbed not by the things that happen, but by their opinion of the things that happen.
  • When we “feel hurt” or “feel offended,” the feeling is entirely a matter of our own response. In fact, the feeling is our response. 
  • You need to deliberately practice disinhibition. You need to practice being less careful, less concerned, less conscientious. 
  • The positive effects of counting to ten when you are tempted to be angry—the ten-second delay—can also be greatly enhanced by inhaling and exhaling deeply while paying attention to the breath. 
  • Relaxation of muscles brings about “mental relaxation,” or a peaceful “relaxed attitude.” Thus, relaxation is nature’s own tranquilliser, which erects a psychic screen or umbrella between you and the disturbing stimulus. 
  • It is impossible to experience or feel fear, anger, or anxiety while completely relaxed, quiet, and composed. Above all, keep in mind, and hammer it home to yourself, that the key to the matter of whether you are disturbed or tranquil, fearful or composed, is not the external stimulus, whatever it may be, but your own response and reaction. Your own response is what “makes” you feel fearful, anxious, insecure. If you do not respond at all, but “just let the telephone ring,” it is impossible for you to feel disturbed, regardless of what is happening around you. You become an “actor”—not a “reactor.” 
  • Shadowbox. In shadowboxing, you practice self-expression with no inhibiting factors present. You learn the correct moves. You form a “mental map” that is retained in memory. You create a broad, general, flexible map. Then, when you face a crisis where an actual menace or inhibiting factor is present, you have learned to act calmly and correctly. The memory of this successful self-image also enables you to perform better. 

About happiness

  • Happiness is native to the human mind and its physical machine. We think better, perform better, feel better, and are healthier when we are happy. Even our physical sense organs work better. 
  • Happiness is simply “a state of mind in which our thinking is pleasant a good share of the time.” 
  • “Happiness is not the reward of virtue,” said Spinoza in his book Ethics, “but virtue itself; nor do we delight in happiness because we restrain our lusts; but, on the contrary, because we delight in it, therefore are we able to restrain them.” 
  • Happiness comes from being and acting unselfishly—as a natural accompaniment to the being and acting, not as a “payoff” or prize. 
  • Happiness does not lie in the future but in the present 
  • Happiness is a mental habit that can be cultivated and developed 
  • Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. 
  • Happiness is purely internal
  • Much of this habitual unhappiness-reaction originated because of some event that we interpreted as a blow to our self-esteem. 
  • Learning the happiness habit, you become a master instead of a slave.
  • Happiness is a symptom of normal, natural functioning, and when man is functioning as a goal-striver, he tends to feel fairly happy, regardless of circumstances. 

Ask the universe and let go

Our trouble is that we ignore the automatic Creative Mechanism and try to do everything and solve all our problems by conscious thought, or “forebrain thinking.” The forebrain is comparable to the “operator” of a computer, or any other type of servo-mechanism. It is with the forebrain that we think “I,” and feel our sense of identity. But the forebrain cannot create. It cannot “do” the job to be done, any more than the operator of a computer can “do” the work. When once a decision is reached and execution is the order of the day, dismiss absolutely all responsibility and care about the outcome. Unclamp, in a word, your intellectual and practical machinery, and let it run free, and the service it will do you will be twice as good. 


Success finally comes when they gave up the struggle consciously and stopped trying to solve their problems by conscious thought. The way to success is by . . . surrender . . . passivity, not activity—relaxation, not intentness, should be now the rule. Give up the feeling of responsibility, let go your hold, resign the care of your destiny to higher powers, be genuinely indifferent as to what becomes of it all. 


sensemaking cover


Sense making; morality, humanity, leadership and slow flow. A book about the 14 books about the impact and implications of technology on business and humanity.

Ron Immink

I help companies by developing an inspiring and clear future perspective, which creates better business models, higher productivity, more profit and a higher valuation. Best-selling author, speaker, writer.

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