The Magic Power of Self Image Psychology – Book Summary

The Magic Power of Self Image Psychology
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This one book explains the concept of self-image and establishes the importance of holding a high image. Maxwell Maltz was a cosmetic surgeon and later studied psychology. He witnessed that when cosmetic surgery was carried out it directly impacted the self-image of a person.

In this he establishes even without undergoing expensive surgery and accepting can help us create a very high self-image. Self-image plays an important role in success in the life of individuals. 

Self Image Gives you Starting Role on the Stage of Life

Maxwell describes self-image as your own conception of the sort of person you are. It is a product of past experiences, successes and failures, humiliations, and triumphs, and the way other people react to you.

The mind is the theatre of our lives. You can be an actor, producer, director, writer and hero, and the villain. The main character of your life story. You can change the story as you want.

If you see your weakness you can change it to be strong, if you see yourself as a failure you can see yourself as an achiever. It all depends upon the type of self-image that you hold about yourself.

Maxwell mentions that we should examine the fact we have considered ourselves. Become dissatisfied with the beliefs and proof of negative self-image and change it positively to change our lives. We firmly believe the self-image about ourselves and do not question it.

Most of the time sabotage ourselves by using negative visualization or having the negative self talk about ourselves resulting in failure most of the time. To change this we need to change the mental picture of our self-image.

Self-image is the foundation stone of our personality. Our experience verifies it and strengthens the self-image we hold about ourselves. The good thing about the self-image is that it can be changed because it is an objective truth. One is not too old or to young to change their self-image

Self-image is so powerful that once a boy failed the test and the result showed that he had no aptitude for the English language. The boy was asked to do some self-image exercise and after some years he won the literacy prize. 

Similarly, Maxwell also observed the same effect when conducting cosmetic surgery on his patients; their self-image improved so drastically that it seemed like a changed positive person. At times some of his patients did not have any aesthetic deformities but just were overthinking results holding a lower self-image for themselves.

Maxwell suggests that it is better to work on the self-image directly than doing surgery and then improving the self-image because it directly tackles the root problem rather than working on surficial problems. At times we sell ourselves too short.

The first step in creating a positive self-image is accepting yourself and looking at the inner emotions and beliefs which are not visible in the mirror.

Key to our personality 

You should ask yourself what is the truth, how do you look at yourself as a hero or as a victim, a friend, or an enemy.

Maxwell once had a client as an 18-year-old student who thought he had a deformed chin and needed cosmetic surgery. As Maxwell examined he saw that the student was just obsessed with the thought in his mind.

 Further introspecting Maxwell found that the student in his childhood overheard his parents talking about his chin deformity and since then he had carried this thought throughout his life.

People’s action always depends on what they think is true about themselves and the environment. You carrying the false belief about yourself can turn you to be your own enemy.

We feel inferior because we start comparing ourselves with others and convince yourself that we should be like others. We all forget that we are unique in our own ways. At time stack evidence against ourselves that too in wrong premises.

But to have a successful life we must forget our past failures and think of success no matter how few we had. We should learn to use imagination in a positive manner. Worry is just a state of mind – before the event happens.

Worrying stops creative energy. Consider the example of asking for a raise in salary from the company, the moment you doubt it you see yourselves in failure and you will probably fail. The behavior stems from our images and beliefs gives us a new, potent weapon in changing personality. 

Self-image aims to find the best we have in us realistically and bring them out in the open. Our subconscious mind is a goal-striving mechanism and if fed with success goals then it functions as a success mechanism. 

It works on the data we feed. It is important that we build in strong reality-oriented self-image 

Exercise to build a new positive self-image

  • Sit down or lie down and close your eyes
  • In mind start imagining your goals as you have achieved it, keep visualizing the scene in details
  • Imagine the feeling if you were to become the kind of person you like to be in terms of your real potentialities

Create a self image of winner

Set goals that are reasonable, but at the same time don’t underrate your potential. You can succeed if you change your self-image. see yourself as the kind of person you want to be and resolve to make yourself that kind of person.

choose your goals but make sure they are your goals. Too many people sell themselves short, and they do not make a profit out of life the life they are meant to live.when you plant the seeds of failure, how can you hope to get success? You must replant your mind, inserting seeds of success

While achieving never let temporary failure throw you off the path. Be determined and have faith in yourself. Maxwell mentions that life should be a process of continuing growth until death.

Many of us don’t believe in ourselves and watch cricket matches on TV instead of playing one on grounds. We have come to be watchers instead of doers and lost faith in our creative power. To be one of life’s winners, you must recapture your belief in yourself.

“ If you don’t like yourself Who will”? 

Be a winner exercise

  • Encourage your success mechanism by discarding your negative
  • Set definite, realistic goals for yourself
  • Tell yourself that you are a deserving person. Think of people you regard as successes and tell yourself that you have the same rights 
  • Believe in yourself

Master your habits and control your destiny 

If your habits are wholesome, you must be a happy person. You can change — it’s just more difficult. The Importance of habit is that it governs your life.we accept our habits as a definite part of us which was always there when in reality they were acquired as we grew up.

Abrahmsen Quote
Abrahmsen Quote

Maxwell cites the study that “In more than nine out of ten cases, excess weight is caused by nothing more than eating too much. Only rarely is it the result of some organic disease. If you eat too much and are overweight, your overeating habit is a result of an emotional grievance, conscious or buried.

You are trying to soothe all your frustrations with food and it can’t be done. Similarly with smoking cigarettes. Many people need to smoke; smoking cigarettes relieve their tensions.smoking is a reflex action. The easiest way to break a habit is to substitute another one for it.

A full person has good work habits. But some people habitually overwork themselves. They work long hours in their offices and, when the working day is done, they carry home. Why do people overwork? 

First, because they are slaves to the idea of great material success. Second, because through continual work, they can escape the problems they have with themselves and other people.

If success to you means material success and vocational attainment, more power to you! See yourself as a success and go out and achieve your goals. But to overwork and overdrive yourself to ruin your health and exceed your limitations — this is folly!

In overworking themselves, they satisfy a need to prove that they are worthwhile human beings. In doing so, they can ruin their health. If you are habitually slovenly, you should ask yourself why you think you are so worthless.

Steps to change Habits 

  • Believe that you can change your habit. Have faith in your ability to control yourself
  • Understand the physical consequences of these bad habits 
  • Find something satisfying which will comfort you during the temporary period of pain that you will go through while you are depriving 
  • Discover the basic problems that drove you to such excesses. What is your frustration? Do you undervalue yourself?
  • Come to grips with these problems. accept your failures and rediscover your triumph
  • Direct yourself toward positive habit patterns that will make your life rewarding. Set new goals for yourself.

Be Strong by accepting your Weakness 

“ Stronger by Weakness Wiser Men become “ Edmund Waller
Quote by Edmund Waller

The trouble starts when you hate yourself for your weakness. It is this self-hate that destroys you from the inside. The more you accept yourself as you are, with your weakness, the better you will be able to function.

But To feel secure, you must raise the ceiling so that you can rise to the heights —but keep a floor below you so you don’t fall too far. The author mentions that he knew some of his friends who had joined the army just to show courage but not a duty.

Their desire to prove to themselves and the world that they were”tough” was so strong that no other considerations ever existed. In this age, millions are in this boat. Some think this pursuit is worthwhile but leads to blood-pressure and shattering of self-image.

Generally, as we grow up, we are taught to consider certain personality traits as either masculine or feminine. For instance, a man is supposed to be hard and unemotional; and a woman should be tender and sympathetic.

Does it make you less of a man if you cry when a terrible tragedy hits you? Of course not, accept your weakness as well as your strengths. Accepting Your Weakness Will Fortify Your Self-Image.

Learn your limitations.
Honor your limitations.
Always be true to yourself.
Do not resign yourself to weakness. 

Perform Successfully under stress 

Pressure tolerance – How much pressure you can tolerate? What is your breaking point? There is no basic answer based on the individual. The belief in themselves, the strength of their self-image is impenetrable armor which protects them against shattering events.

The Secret of Winning This is their big secret: the ability to remain calm when others feel harassed and confused. You must also be able to adapt yourself to changing conditions.

Set Your Goals To function successfully under trying conditions, you must concentrate on realizable goals for which you have enthusiasm. These serve as propellants to keep you going when things get tough.

It is only the intensity with which they seek their goal, a touchdown, that gives them a chance to realize it. You’ll help yourself if you’ll bring back into your mind your better moments, picturing the details of situations that we’re happy and successful.

You are going to visualize just on the stage of your mind — again and again — until you are able to bring your most successful picture into reality. 

To perform better in stress or nervousness. Picture a different situation each day, feel the over-reactive panic, then the relief when reality discloses the negative workings of your imagination.

The more you work on this exercise, the more you will understand that the real crises are in your mind. This will help you put the present in better focus, calming you, and increasing your ability to function effectively. 

Have Self -image of younger you and Live Fully at Any Age 

“Retiring” is, for many, a negative concept; After retirement, many men deteriorate rapidly. Their self-image is negative; that of useless, unimportant nonentities.The man who retires from his job at about 65 should plan to fill the emptiness in his days so that they are still productive.

Growing up in areas which he never explored. Maxwell at the time of writing this book was well over 60 yrs and decided to start exploring the writing field once he retires from medical practices and a new life for himself. 

We should have a goal so that every day we have something to look forward to. You’re as Young as You Feel. Take part in life and feel young, no matter what your age. Give to life and it will give no matter what your age.

When you retire from life, you walk away from reality and self-respect, write off your self-image and voluntarily isolate yourself in an inner concentration camp. Your main tool is your own self-image and your determination to keep it bright and shining. If you’re older, you’ve had many successes and many failures. It must be this way no life is perfect. Don’t dwell on the failures; picture your proud moments.


Only you can help yourself to improve. We should approve of ourselves and that is more than enough. Hold a high self-image about yourself and success, money and health will be ours for taking.

Habits can be changed irrespective of age, change your self-image to a positive one. You are the master of your fate. You are the main character of your life and you can direct your life as you desire.

One-line Takeaway

  • Your life moves in according to the self-image you hold about yourself
  • Hold a positive high image for yourself there is nothing to lose but everything to gain.
  • You can restart a better life at any age and explore the adventures of life in new horizons

About the Author 

Maxwell Maltz was an American cosmetic surgeon and author of Psycho-Cybernetics which was a system of ideas that he claimed could improve one’s self-image leading to a more successful and fulfilling life. He wrote several books, among which Psycho-Cybernetics was a long-time bestseller — influencing many subsequent self-help teachers. His orientation towards a system of ideas that would provide self-help is considered the forerunner of the now popular self-help books

I would recommend this 

 A person who is struggling with self-confidence and looking for ways to improve. Individuals who miss achieving success by inches and want to cross the finishing line.



Roopesh Bhosle is an author at Hackedwits and writes on summary for books from Business and Finance. A Project Manager at day and content writer at night. Love to learn new things, to connect dots in life. Connect with me on LinkedIn for collaboration on project or Guest Post

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