“It is no exaggeration to say that a strong, positive self-image is the best possible preparation for success in life.” Dr. Joyce Brothers
Your self-image controls what you think you can and cannot do. It helps determine how high or low you set your goals. A strong self-image can lead you to set high goals and achieve well. A weak self-image, however, can lead you to either set no goals or goals that are far beneath what you are able to accomplish. Achieving well is exciting and invigorating. Achieving little, when you have a lot of ability, is depressing and exhausting.
How did you develop the self-image you have? All too often, there is not a simple answer to that. Your self-image was started when you were very young. It began as a reflection of how your family treated you, talked to you, and made you feel. If you were fortunate your family gave you reasons to think well of yourself. If you were unfortunate your family could have made you think badly of yourself. Either way, they probably had no idea of the influence they were having.
Your self-image continued to develop in school. Other children and teachers could have had a good or bad influence of your self-image. Children can be mean and perhaps you suffered from that. Or, maybe a teacher made you feel good about yourself. Different factors could have helped or hurt your self-image. How did you compare to the other students academically, athletically, financially, or socially? As much as these should not cause us to think well or badly of ourselves, they often do.
Almost never can we go back and pinpoint the causes of our self-image. There’s no reason to try to place blame on someone for causing you to feel badly about yourself. What you should do is decide to improve your self-image. We can all do it. Some of us might have an easier time than others do, but we can all improve our self-image.
In Dr. Maxwell Maltz’s book Psycho-cybernetics he says, “Man alone can direct his success mechanism by the use of imagination, or imagining ability.” Then, he goes into detail explaining how a person can use imagination to gain success. It is a great book to have nearby so you can review it often.
In everyday life you seldom read or hear about self-image, so how important can it be? Most experts insist your self-image is a more accurate predictor of your success than your I.Q. That’s how important it is. Then why is it not talked about more? Very good question. That’s why we need to talk about it now.
How do you see yourself? I don’t mean the person you see in your mirror; I mean the person you see in your mind. Not sure? Stop and take some quiet time. Close your eyes and think about your physical self. Who is the person you see? Next, think about your family self. Who is the person you see? Then, think about your job self. Who is the person you see? Finally, think about your future financial self. Who is the person you see?
Combine all of those pictures together and that is your self-image. Is that person one of strength, mediocrity, or weakness? Do you see a person strong in some areas and weak in others? Usually, we all have strong and weak areas of our personality. Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the person you see – your self-image? It’s normal for most of us to want to improve at least one area, or part, of our self-image that is not yet strong. So, which area do you want to improve?
First, recall the image you had a minute ago in that area. Next, decide what you want that image to be. In your mind, imagine the person you want to be. Add in as many details as you can at this point. And now the most important part of your change.
Let me quote Maxwell Maltz again. “Begin to imagine what the desirable outcome would be like. Go over these mental pictures and delineate details and refinements. Play them over and over to yourself.”
The key point here is to “Play them over and over to yourself.” Repeated efforts present an image to your mind that it works at reproducing in real life. Once it has gotten the message of what your new image should be, your subconscious mind guides you to act in accordance with that image.
Read another Maltz quote: “A human being always acts and feels and performs in accordance with what he imagines to be true about himself and his environment.”
Isn’t it exciting! Change your self-image, really change it, and you will become that new person. You have to because your subconscious mind will make sure that you do. You won’t even have to think about it. Your subconscious does all of that for you.
That’s also why you have not yet been the best that you can be. Your self-image has not been great, probably not even good. So, it has been guiding you to be exactly like the self-image you’ve had. Again, experts agree that your outer world is a reflection of your inner world – your dominant thoughts.
You are where you are right now because your subconscious mind has directed you to act and feel and perform in a way that reflects the image you have had of yourself. If you’ve imagined yourself as a “fat slob,” guess what your subconscious did. It had you act in ways that reproduced that image. If you now change that image to a slim and strong person, guess what your subconscious will do. It will reproduce that image.
How quickly or slowly the change occurs will depend on two things. First, how intently you focus on that new image in detail. Second, how disciplined you are to follow the guidance given by your subconscious. If your inner voice says, “Do not eat that much pie.” You have to listen and act accordingly.
Want to change your life dramatically? Then change your thoughts dramatically. Want to be successful? Consistently think successful thoughts. Want to improve your body? Consistently think about a slimmer, stronger you. Just choose what you want, imagine it intently, think about it consistently and your subconscious will influence you to take the appropriate action to bring about what you want.
However you want to change, you have to mentally see that change. Imagine it over and over, in detail, and in time your subconscious will help bring it about. Of course there are exceptions. I’ve never heard of this type of thinking helping someone grow a foot taller or be able to fly like a bird.
Imagine what you could do if you had a strong self-image. You could have a strong, athletic body. You could be an exceptional father, mother, or child. You could be a top-notch employee. You could build an exceptional financial future for you and your family.
WHEREVER YOU ARE NOW, YOU CAN LEARN TO SUCCEED.
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