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Dangerous Self Help Metaphors


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A long time ago, Maxwell Maltz wrote a book called, "Psycho Cybernetics."

This was similar to Napoleon Hill's book, "Think and Grow Rich" in one very critical aspect.

Both were books that were based on actual research.

Hill studied plenty of ultra rich and ultra poor people.

He wanted to reverse engineer the qualities of rich and super successful people, so people could have an idea of the things to do.

He also wanted to figure out what poor people did, so we could avoid doing those things.

Maltz was even more tethered to reality.

He was a plastic surgeon.

And his book was based on his own experiences.

He wasn't a plastic surgeon to rich and pretty people who wanted to be prettier.

He was a plastic surgeon for normal people who had their faces torn up by accidents and other horrible events.

And he noticed something very interesting.

Some people had ZERO difference in self image, before and after surgery.

They'd come in with some horrific deformity, and have a decent self image.

He'd fix them up so they'd look normal, and they'd have, more or less, the same positive self image.

Other people were the opposite.

They would come in, horribly disfigured, and have a very low self image.

This is what Maltz expected.

But then he'd fix them up, they'd look normal, but then they had the SAME low self image.

This is what he DIDN'T expect.

This led him to the idea that self image is PURELY an inside game.

People that look like the elephant man can have very HIGH self image.

People that look super gorgeous can have very LOW self image.

He found, through his research (remember, this dude was a trained surgeon) that self image is UNRELATED to exterior appearance.

But both books have a bit of a problem.

As do most mainstream books, particularly self help books.

They are very heavy on the metaphors, and light on the day by day recommendations.

Take Hill's assertion that thoughts are things.

It's easy to imagine this means you can WISH yourself rich.

But the transition from a thought to a thing can take a LONG TIME.

Edison had an IDEA of a light bulb that would last a long time.

And it took a VERY long time to turn that thought into a thing.

Similarly, Maltz had the idea that we all have a built in success mechanism.

He described it like a guided missile going after a target.

It is ALWAYS correction.

But it's easy to imagine that this auto-correction system happens AUTOMATICALLY.

It can, sometimes.

Like when fumbling for a light switch in the dark.

You fumble around, getting close each time, without thinking.

But the MAGIC happens when you bring this process up to the CONSCIOUS level.

And evaluate where you are, on your course, every day.

This is much deeper.

Much longer lasting.

And much, much more powerful.

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