Showing posts with label Maxwell Maltz. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Maxwell Maltz. Show all posts

Monday, June 17, 2013

Mental Rehearsal: The Secret to Superior Performance

When you observe truly outstanding performers in any field, it’s like looking at the tip of an iceberg. You can see only a tiny fraction of what lies beneath the surface.

You aren't able to watch the commitment, preparation and repetitions that preceded the performance. And you don’t have access to another element that plays a critical role in their success: mental rehearsal.

The most decorated Olympian of all time, Michael Phelps, learned how to use visualization techniques from his coach Bob Bowman. After each swim practice, the coach gave Michael instructions to go home and “watch the videotape” before falling sleep and upon waking. But the videotape was not physical. It involved mentally visualizing the perfect race in exact detail, with each movement being executed flawlessly. This mental practice, combined with intense physical practice, led to repeated Gold medals and the setting of world records during the 2008 and 2012 Olympic games.

When he was at the peak of his career, world-renowned golfer Jack Nicklaus, revealed one of the secrets to his success: “I never hit a golf shot without having a sharp picture of it in my head. First I ‘see’ where I want the ball to finish. Then I ‘see’ it going there; its trajectory and landing. The next ‘scene’ shows me making the swing that will turn the previous images into reality.”

But this type of mental preparation is not limited to top athletes.

You can use visualization for every area of your life: getting the job you want, starting a business, finding your life partner, or being a strong parent.

In 1983 I was the top producer in a regional sales competition, and in the following year I was #2 nationally. In addition to putting forth the commitment and effort required, I invested time in picturing myself on stage, accepting the award, and feeling the excitement and pride in my accomplishment.

When I spoke to 900 entrepreneurs at a conference in 2011, I spent hours preparing my talk. But I also recognized how critical it was to play mental movies depicting my presentation and the positive response I wanted from the audience.

Maxwell Maltz refers to this technique as “Theatre of the Mind,” in his classic book, The New Psycho-Cybernetics. You learn to watch yourself completing each action perfectly, and you do this repeatedly.

Why is mental rehearsal so successful in improving performance?

When you vividly imagine, in rich detail, the steps to achieving a positive outcome, you strengthen your self-image and build confidence. At the same time, you block out the doubts, fears and insecurities that typically creep in when you’re attempting to do something new.

When you have an important goal you want to reach – or simply a bad habit you want to change – add mental rehearsal to the process and experience the benefits of this powerful strategy. As Maltz reminds us in his book:

“Human beings always act and feel and perform in accordance with what they imagine to be true about themselves and their environment.”

Friday, January 1, 2010

Make 2010 Your Best Year by Expanding Your Self-Image

One of the most important actions I took in 2009 was re-discovering the work of Maxwell Maltz. His original book, Psycho-Cybernetics (1960), became the foundation of much that's been written since about self-image and self-improvement.

An updated version, The New Psycho-Cybernetics, was published in 2001, with new examples, material and editing by one of my marketing mentors, Dan Kennedy. I've underlined and marked up both copies more than any other books I own. There's remarkable life-changing wisdom on every page if you're eager to become all you're capable of.

As we all begin a new year, I'd like to share a few of my favorite quotes from the updated book that may inspire you to action and make 2010 the best year of your life. Remember, you can only achieve that which you truly believe you are worthy of achieving. So expanding your belief in what's possible is critical to your success in every area of your life.

About past mistakes...
"Continually criticizing yourself for past mistakes and errors...tends to perpetuate the very behavior you would change...The minute that we change our minds and stop giving power to the past, the past with its mistakes loses its power over us...When you thoroughly accept that you are not your mistakes, you are freed to acknowledge them, learn from them, set them aside, and move on from them without being mired in them."

About changing your self-image...
"Creating a better self-image does not create new abilities, talents, powers; it releases and utilizes them...Accept yourself as you are and start from there. Learn to emotionally tolerate imperfection in yourself. It is necessary to intellectually recognize our shortcomings, but disastrous to hate ourselves because of them."

About self-reliance...
"Assume responsibility for your own life and emotional needs...Give yourself your own gold stars...You must be able to admire your own good work and recognize your own acheivements...The refusal to blame ourselves or others or to accept a problem as beyond our influence gives us resiliency in the face of adversity."

About Psycho-Cybernetics...
"The essence of Psycho-Cybernetics is the accurate, calm, and ultimately automatic separation of fact from fiction, fact from opinion, actual circumstance from magnified obstacle, so that our actions and reactions are solidly based on truth, not our own or others' opinions."

If you've read either or both of these books, how has the information impacted your thinking and your life?