In 1960, a remarkable book was published by a world-renown plastic surgeon, Maxwell Maltz, MD. In it, he took years of his observations and that of many other doctors that he knew to publish a way to get more out of life. This method was called Psycho-Cybernetics, and it was the title of his best-selling book.
What is this method? It involves changing the self-image to suit one’s desires in life whether they are to succeed financially, gain better health, more confidence or even a younger-looking appearance. The theory he laid out in his book was that when a person changes his or her self-image, life itself begins to turn. This formed the Psycho part of the Cybernetics. The way one’s psychology works has a great deal with the outcome he or she will find over and over in life.
Cybernetics applies to the workings of machines. But, in the sense that Dr. Maltz uses them, these workings are all about the mind and the way one looks at things, frames events and interprets them. The scientific innovation from this book was that one could achieve happiness by making it a habit of thought and behavior more than a mood that comes about from obtaining some object of desire.
It covered methods for changing one’s attitude from failure to success. When failures were reframed, they become stepping stones for success. When one believes in being a success, the mind works to back up the belief. When someone believes they can start a morning ritual, it’s so much easier to do. The book covered many aspects of faith and how it can be changed from one of failure and disappointment to one of success and joy.
Once a person experiences an initial success, the mind will learn to build on the “winning feeling” that it brings. It will work to bring even more success. He developed this method to help plastic surgery patients become happier with their results. He encouraged them to visualize the outcome they wanted and to use cognitive therapy techniques to find the good in the surgery and their lives afterward.
The book has influenced such motivational gurus as Tony Robbins and Zig Ziglar. The principles of Psycho-Cybernetics are still used by many athletes. His techniques for overcoming and preventing emotional scarring much the way his patients were told to prevent physical scars are still as applicable and useful today as ever.