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Monday, January 12, 2009

Discover your true potential and become the person you truly want to be

Discover your true potential and become the person you truly want to be

Imagine you woke up one day in a land populated almost entirely by giants. At first you would no doubt be terrified, and the deafening roar of loud noises and the uncomfortable sinking feeling when you fell would stick with you for a lifetime. After a time, you would realize that many of the giants seemed friendly, and that one giant in particular was taking a special interest in your safety and well-being.

Then imagine that one day, for no reason whatsoever, the giant you had learned to trust completely yelled at you, threatened you, even hit you. How could you ever feel safe again in a land of giants? There must be some laws of the land or rules that you could learn to help you survive.

One day, you meet some other little people. They appear to be like you, and in their company, you instantly feel more secure. Some of them claim to know the laws of the land, and share them with you. Combined with the insight you've gained from observing the giants and listening to them teach you in their booming, godlike voices, you begin to figure out what you need to do and not do to stay safe.

Do as you are told. It's easier to get along if you go along. Don't cry. Don't fight. Study hard. Get a job. Do as you are told. Get married. Have children to support you in your old age. Do as you are told.

The list grows longer as your once tiny body grows larger (nurtured no doubt by the special food produced in the land of the giants), and eventually you come to realize that there are no giants left.

And then one day you wake up, and there is a tinylittle creature staring up at you. She has awakened in a land of giants. And because you love her, you begin to teach her everything you've learned about how to survive in this land of giants.

And so the cycle continues. . . .


During the Korean civil war of the late 1950s, the Chinese Koreans successfully converted an unprecedented number of American POWs to the "religion" of communism. They didn't do it through threat of torture or even promise of reward—they did it by simply changing the soldier's self-image.

What the Chinese understood was that our behavior is a direct result of the person we believe we are—our self-image. Think of it like a loop—we are constantly confirming to ourselves that we are the person we think we are, but the system we use to interpret our behavior and feedback is our own self-image. It's a catch-22.

So the Chinese interrupted the loop. You might think it was a big task reprogramming men who had been highly trained only to give their name, rank, and serial number, but the Chinese did it bit by bit.

During an interrogation, prisoners were persuaded to make one or two mildly anti-American or pro-communist statements. (For example, "The United States is not perfect," or "In a communist country, there is less unemployment and crime.") Once these apparently minor statements had been extracted, the prisoner would then be asked to define exactly how the United States was not perfect. When he was worn down and weary, he would then be asked to sign his name to the list of reasons he had come up with.

Later, the prisoner would be made to read his list in a discussion group with other prisoners. The Chinese would then broadcast his name and list of reasons during an anti-American radio broadcast not only to his own camp but to all the other North Korean POW camps and the rest of the American forces in South Korea as well.

Suddenly, the prisoner found himself labeled a collaborator, someone who participated in the kind of behavior that helped the enemy. When fellow prisoners asked why he had done it, he couldn't claim he had been tortured. After all, he had said those things and signed his name to them.

Psychological research has shown that human beings can tolerate only a certain amount of discrepancy between their thoughts and their behavior. Like anyone unaware of the power of his own self-image, the prisoner felt he had to justify his actions in order to maintain consistency with his own internal sense of identity. He would say that what he had said was true. In that moment his self-image changed. He now believed that he was pro-communist, and his fellow prisoners reinforced his new identity by treating him differently. The loop was complete.

Before long, his desire to act consistently with his new self-image would drive him to collaborate with the Chinese even more, thereby further reinforcing his new self-image until he no longer even questioned it was true.


Your self-image is the way you see yourself in your imagination. The reason your self-image is so powerful is because your behavior will almost never deviate from this internal map. It acts as a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy, telling you how to behave or perform to act consistently with the kind of person you think you are. Yet many people don't even realize they have an image of themselves until they look.

We've all met people who are attractive but who think of themselves as ugly—too fat or too thin or too old or too young. If you truly believe you are unattractive, you will unconsciously sabotage any attempts to make yourself appear attractive. Because you won't represent yourself at your best, people will inevitably find you unattractive, and the prophecy is fulfilled.

Studies have shown that an extraordinary number of people who suddenly receive large sums of money through lottery wins or inheritance are likely to lose it again almost as quickly. Even people who earn their money are likely to lose it if what they are earning is more than they believe they are worth. They feel uncomfortable with the extra money, so they spend it, lend it, or find some other way to get rid of it.

Celebrities whose star rises too high too fast can also be brought back to earth by the gravitational pull of a limited self-image. In fact, so many celebrities suffer from self-destructive behavior brought on by feelings of unworthiness that psychologists have created a name for the pattern: the paradise syndrome.

How you think of yourself also affects how other people feel about you. Because more than 90 percent of what you communicate is unconscious, the people around you are continually responding to your body language, tone of voice, and the emotional signals you are transmitting. Even if the words you use sound positive, you may well find yourself conveying one message verbally and a completely different message with your body language.

Here's the point:

You are constantly letting other people know how to treat you by the way you treat yourself.

In the book The Mastery of Love, Don Miguel Ruiz shares the analogy of living in a restaurant where food was plentiful. If someone came to the door and offered you a pizza but you'd have to let them abuse you for the rest of your life, you'd laugh in his face. But if you were living in the street and hadn't eaten for days and that same person made you that same offer, you'd be likely to consider it. We settle for what we feel we are worth—that is, we will never allow anyone to abuse us more than we abuse ourselves.


Unfortunately, while each failure reinforces the self-fulfilling prophecy of your negative self-image, your outer successes rarely change it for the better. No matter how much you have on the outside—big house, big car, money—it will not ultimately satisfy you if you don't already feel good about yourself on the inside.

Over the years I have had the opportunity to meet and work with a large number of successful people. I am continually struck by how many of them create an outer veneer as a way of hiding personal feelings of inadequacy. For example, they project any number of things to compensate for a lack of inner self-worth, flouting their wealth, status, intellectual achievement, physical strength, social connections, or moral "superiority" in an attempt to prove that they are not as worthless as they feel inside.

Sometimes it starts out with a little lie or a small affectation, but over the years it develops into an entire outer persona that is the complete opposite of how they feel on the inside. They continually feel like a fraud, fearing that at any moment they are going to be "found out" and it will all be taken away from them. In fact, many people whom we consider in our culture to have everything are secret self-haters. I call this the "bling-bling factor"—the bigger the jewelry, the smaller the self-image.

However, the bling-bling factor is by no means exclusively a problem of the rich and famous. In fact, having worked with people from all walks of life, I have come to the conclusion that almost everybody is to some extent hiding or compensating for a part of themselves that they don't like.

For a long time I felt that if only I could be rich enough or famous enough, or date lots of beautiful women, then I would feel better about myself. I had been a nerdy kid, and my solution to that was to affix a veneer of success to myself so that no one (including myself) would notice how inadequate I really felt.

Over a relatively short period of time, I worked incredibly hard at achieving and did very well. I became famous, made money, and created all the trappings of a glamorous life. My TV shows were a huge hit; I had more money than ever before and a beautiful model girlfriend. Rock stars, movie stars, even royalty wanted me to work with them.

However, I kept thinking, "I have everything I have ever wanted—how come I still feel empty?"


While some of the earliest messages you got from your family were no doubt positive, many of them were not. Whether you were told you were a "stupid child," "ungrateful," or "clumsy," you soaked up all the negative suggestions along with whatever positive reinforcement came your way. A recent study revealed that the average American parent criticizes his or her children eight times for every one time they praise them.

When you start school, so many people are bigger than you and seem to know more than you do. A whole new world of problems comes your way. Teachers unwittingly de-genius you at school by their efforts to mold you. Your spontaneous childlike quality becomes dissipated in the race to shape you into an adult.

Just as you're getting the hang of it, puberty arrives. Hair grows, body parts change size, and just being alive is embarrassing. Then of course there are those people around you with low self-esteem who covertly undermine you to make themselves feel better.

Research has shown that by the age of fourteen, 98 percent of children have a negative self-image. And it only gets worse. Irish author J. H. Brennan describes it like this:

If there is one word which ably describes adolescence, that word is confusion. And the confusion is so strongly felt that it can easily impinge on your basic self-image. It's a sorry picture: small . . . helpless . . . powerless . . . dirty . . . socially unacceptable . . . inferior . . . confusedand in particularly bad cases, unloved and unwanted as well. And sorry though it is, the image was largely accurate when it was laid downnot by yourself, but by the actions and opinions of others. And at this stage, Nature played you the dirtiest trick imaginable. You grew up, but your self-image didn't.

No wonder there are so many people who aren't achieving what they would like in their lives!

As I related J. H. Brennan's words to my own life, I was able to recognize that my fundamental problem was a sense of powerlessness—deep down, I still saw myself as a nerdy, helpless child. Whatever sense of power I had in my life did not come from my authentic self but was drawn solely from the reflected status I felt from my successful career, beautiful girlfriend, and financial resources.

From meeting and working with many famous and successful people I already knew how much of what they had achieved was to compensate for their feelings of inadequacy. It had never before occurred to me that I was one of them.

Once I got really clear on the content of my negative self-image, I knew it was time to make some fundamental changes. I had already made the decision to take responsibility for my life, so it was only a small step from there to take responsibility for how I chose to see myself. I resolved then and there to begin pursuing a new dream. I wanted to develop an approach to understanding and creating human excellence with a heart—not just success, but happiness and fulfillment as well. I determined to find a way to heal the nerd within!


In the mid-1980s, John Opel, then chairman of IBM, gave a talk to an audience of Stanford MBAs. In response to a request for his advice about how newly minted MBAs should embark on their careers, he said he would share one of his secrets for true success. As the eager young minds in the audience leaned forward, Opel whispered:

"Don't fake it!"

He paused and read the body language in the room. He then said, with great passion:

"No, really, I mean it!"

The room erupted in laughter. He went on to say that we are all smart enough and smooth enough to fake it and get away with it for a while, but eventually our faith in ourselves will be undermined, and with it our self-trust, self-respect, and self-esteem.

Here is today's key lesson:

The reason you are not yet living the life of your dreams is that you are wasting so much of your time and energy hiding your negative self-image from the world.

When all your energy is going into maintaining the illusion of your projected self and hiding the image of your feared self from the world, the still, small voice of the authentic self—who you really are—can barely be heard.

But as you practice the exercises in today's lesson, you will begin to see yourself in a new light. You will learn to turn up the volume on that inner voice, to trust your gut, and to begin to follow the promptings of your own heart. And when you do that, your life will change forever!
© by Paul McKenna, All rights Res.

Excerpted from:

Change Your Life in 7 Days: The World's Leading Hypnotist Shows You How


Most people can think of a time when their lives changed in just a few moments. Over the next seven days, you will experience dozens of those moments, and the resulting changes in your life will positively affect your happiness, success, and well-being for years to come.

Paul McKenna has helped millions of people to quit smoking, lose weight, increase their self-confidence, and change their lives. He is well aware that even small changes can make a huge difference. For years, he has consistently astounded his audiences and clients with his ability to cure lifelong phobias in less than an hour and clear up deep-seated issues in just a few days. Now, Paul McKenna will show you how to use his time-tested, state-of-the-art techniques to help you break through your limitations, release your true potential, and become a happier, more confident, and powerful person.

Paul McKenna has studied many highly successful and effective people around the world and discovered that success and happiness are not accidents that happen to some people and not to others—they are created by deliberate ways of thinking and acting. In this highly practical and engaging book, he distills the core strategies and techniques of the super-achievers into an amazing life makeover that will help you to think and act more positively and confidently, and noticeably improve your life in as little as one week.

• Would you like to make more money and be more successful?

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Paul McKenna helps us to integrate powerful new“software” into our minds, using his unique combination of checklists, exercises, informative sidebars, and anecdotes from people who have used this program successfully. Filled with encouraging advice and carefully crafted exercises based on the amazing mind-control techniques he has developed over many years, Change Your Life in Seven Days is designed to help you make a small yet monumental shift that will, over time, lead you to a brighter and more successful future.

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