You may not have yet stumbled onto this word. However, understanding this fundamental concept can be pivotal in living the life you want. Last week’s post was titled IMAGINATION: A KEY TO OBTAINING MENTAL PEACE. Continuing with that idea, I want to recommend a great resource.
It was many years ago in middle school that I read a book that was so inspiring that I have read it multiple times, I have recommended it to hundreds of people. I kept loaning the book out. The problem being I would not get the book back. Last week I just repurchased and re-read the updated and expanded version, of Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz.
I had been teased since I entered school. Today they would call it bullying. The librarian knew that kids made fun of the type of books I would read. She came up with a plan. I would hand her a list and later she would hand me the books in a brown paper bag.
There have been 30 million copies sold. My many purchases are included in that number.
There is an official site for Psycho-Cybernetics. Much of this information can be found there. I recently contacted Matt Furey, president of the Psycho-Cybernetics Foundation to get permission to use some of this material.
A little background about the author – Dr. Maxwell Maltz was a reconstructive plastic surgeon. He realized that although “plastic Surgery” benefited 0.5% of the population the other 99.55 has unresolved emotional scars from the past and that these could be removed by changing your self-image. Once these internal scars were irradiated what followed was a life of success and happiness…
DR, Maltz could change the outward appearance but, the study of Psycho-Cybernetics “heals internal scars and gives you an emotional facelift. It can transform the agonizing pain of defeat, failure, frustration, and loneliness into courage, confidence love, gratitude, and peace of mind.” The book helps you remove the obstacles that you think are standing in your way.
In the 1950s, Maltz became increasingly fascinated by the number of patients who came to him requesting surgery, who had greatly exaggerated “mental pictures” of their physical deformities, and whose unhappiness and insecurities remained unchanged even after he gave them the new faces they desired. In 1960, after nearly a decade of counseling hundreds of such patients, extensive research, and testing his evolving theory of “success conditioning” on athletes, salespeople, and others, he published his findings then-radical ideas in the first edition of Psycho-Cybernetics, which went on to sell millions of copies and to be translated in dozens of languages.
My first copy was from the library but I purchased the book within weeks. That was in 1967. I proudly walked around with it to encourage questions! Through this process, I learned I loved to teach. The examples in the book are presented to spike interest and encourage a person to want to know more.
A hobby of mine is teaching Theatre Arts. Some students come to escape a study hall, or maybe because they need the credit, some are curious… but there is always a small group that says they have absolutely NO skills. They only want to sit on the sidelines. With productions with 300 or so students, I would help students find their nitch. I used – you got it – the information in the book Psycho-Cybernetics. I often site information from the book especially from chapters 1, 3, and 5. My favorite thing to teach is how to use your imagination. I would take any student even those on probation or those often truant. I used the skills I had learned. We would find them a role and have them do it well. Often these students had never experienced positive reinforcement. The truant did not want to miss school or he would not be my spotlight operator. The student on probation turned out to be quite an actor!
EXAMPLES OF THE POWER OF THE IMAGINATION IN THEATRE ARTS
I was teaching at a school district where I held my theatre club. I would satellite to up to 3 other locations. These locations could be other school districts, a boy scout troop, etc., and I would include my private students. An example would be when we did Men in Black. There were about 60 students in the number. 4 different groups of students performing at one time. Each group would be doing different choreography at times. I would only hold 1 dress rehearsal for all the groups to meet and perform together for the first time, and it always came together on the magic of the stage!
As each group would start rehearsals between 2-3 months prior, in each class we would visualize the other dancers where they would be and how they would be moving. Sometimes I would play the part of the other dance groups so they would be familiar as to what they would be doing that was different, as well as when they join the main group. They need to be aware as to not be distracted but also aware of how the movement would fit together like a puzzle. The first time I taught like this the parents were very doubtful. The students were more trusting. It was interdisciplinary training their mind and body – just like the book said I relied on the fact that “the nervous system cannot tell the difference between an imagined experience and a real experience. In either case, it reacts automatically to information that you give it to from your forebrain.”
The students were programmed to rehearse just like everyone was present.
One of my private classes was called HIS CHILDREN. They would perform liturgical dance and drama. We would be invited to perform during church services. Sometimes we may do 3 different churches in one morning., We would arrive at a designated time never haven seen the layout perform for 20 min leave and go to another church.
Much of our rehearsal was to imagine different church layouts. How many isles,(center aisle, side aisles?) how much room, on the floor, on the altar, did they have a railing or steps… I would often draw a simple diagram and they would play through in their mind how to do our program. We would discuss how to make the choreography fit the space but continue to do the same moves.
The students learned far more than how to dance! They became adaptive individuals who could eye up a situation and apply critical thinking skills. What they learned in the dance class they could translate into any aspect of life.
Our greatest rehearsal tool was our imagination!