Is it all in the Mind? –  From Psycho-Cybernetics to Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself

Is it all in the Mind? –  From Psycho-Cybernetics to Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself

In the landscape of personal development and transformation, two seminal works, “Psycho-Cybernetics” by Dr. Maxwell Maltz and “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself” by Dr. Joe Dispenza, offer profound insights into the power of belief, self-image, and the mind’s ability to influence reality. These books, though published over 50 years apart, share a common thread in their exploration of how our internal states shape our external lives. Let’s delve into a comparison of their perspectives and how thoughts on the subject have evolved over time.

Insights from “Psycho-Cybernetics”

Dr. Maxwell Maltz’s “Psycho-Cybernetics,” first published in 1960, introduced the concept of self-image as the foundation of personal growth and fulfilment. Maltz, a plastic surgeon, observed that changes in physical appearance often didn’t correspond with an individual’s self-perception and overall happiness. This observation led him to explore the psychological aspects of self-image and its profound impact on one’s life.

Key Takeaways:

Your Self-Image Matters: How you see yourself in your mind plays a huge role in what you can achieve. If you think you’re capable and confident, you’re more likely to act that way.

Visualisation is Powerful: Imagining yourself succeeding at something can actually help make it happen. Your brain often doesn’t know the difference between real and vividly imagined experiences, think of a hypnotist encouraging a willing participant to eat a juicy apple when they are really eating an onion.

Mistakes Are Feedback: When things don’t go as planned, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, see mistakes as valuable feedback that can help you improve.

Change Your Thoughts to Change Your Life: Negative thoughts can hold you back. Changing how you think about yourself and your abilities can lead to better outcomes.

Relaxation and Calmness Are Key: Stress and anxiety can interfere with your ability to perform well. Learning to relax can improve your effectiveness.

Goals Give Direction: Knowing what you want to achieve gives you a target to aim for and helps guide your actions and decisions.

Habits Shape Your Life: Much of what you do is based on habits. Changing your habits can lead to significant improvements in your life.

Positive Thinking Leads to Positive Outcomes: Focusing on positive outcomes and maintaining a positive attitude can make you more likely to achieve your goals.

For a detailed exploration of these concepts, consider reading “Psycho-Cybernetics” directly or exploring summaries and analyses available online for more in-depth information.

Insights from “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself”

Dr. Joe Dispenza’s work takes the conversation further by integrating modern neuroscience and quantum physics to explain how our thoughts and emotions not only influence our reality but can also lead to significant changes in our brain and body. Published in 2012, Dispenza’s book offers a more detailed scientific framework for personal transformation.

Key Takeaways:

Your Thoughts Shape Your Reality: The way you think can influence your life’s outcomes. Positive and focused thinking can lead to positive changes.

Understand the Power of the Mind: Learning how the brain works shows you that you can rewire your thoughts and emotions to change your life.

Meditation is a Transformational Tool: Regular meditation allows you to dive deep into your subconscious, helping you identify and change limiting beliefs.

Embrace Neuroplasticity: Your brain is adaptable and can be rewired through intentional thought and practice, allowing for personal transformation.

Change Comes from Within: True change starts internally. By altering your inner thoughts and beliefs, you can change your external circumstances.

Break Free from Past Habits: Overcoming ingrained habits and thought patterns is key to creating a new self and a new life.

Visualisation Enhances Change: Vividly imagining your desired future can help bring it into reality, as the brain treats vivid imagination similarly to actual experiences.

Emotional States Are Crucial: Cultivating positive emotions is essential for personal growth and achieving your desired reality.

Consistency is Key: Regular practice and consistency in applying new thoughts and behaviours are necessary for lasting change.

Environment Affects Your Growth: Being mindful of your surroundings and seeking environments that support your growth can reinforce the changes you’re making.

These takeaways highlight Dr. Dispenza’s approach to understanding and harnessing the power of the mind to effect personal change. For a comprehensive understanding and detailed guidance, reading “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself” is highly recommended.

Evolution of Thought: From Maltz to Dispenza


Both Maltz and Dispenza recognise the central role of internal beliefs and self-image in shaping one’s life. However, Dispenza provides a deeper dive into the science behind these effects, especially through the lens of quantum physics and neuroscience.

While Maltz focused on the psychological aspects of self-image and its modification through visualisation and feedback, Dispenza offers practical meditation techniques for altering one’s beliefs and, consequently, one’s brain chemistry and reality.

Differences in Thinking:

Maltz’s approach is rooted in the psychological understanding of the mid-20th century, emphasising the mind’s power through positive thinking and visualisation. Dispenza, on the other hand, merges these ideas with contemporary scientific research, offering a holistic view that includes the energetic and quantum dimensions of transformation.

The concept of neuroplasticity and the detailed exploration of meditation as a means to enact change mark a significant evolution in thought from Maltz’s initial insights.

Embracing Change: Integrating Insights for Personal Growth

To harness the transformative potential outlined by Maltz and Dispenza, consider the following steps:

Refine Your Self-Image: Reflect on and consciously shape your self-image to align with your aspirations, drawing on Maltz’s principles of visualisation and positive feedback.

Define Your Vision: Establish specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals that reflect your desired changes and outcomes.

Engage in Mindful Meditation: Utilise Dispenza’s meditation techniques to access and reprogram limiting beliefs, leveraging the power of neuroplasticity for personal transformation.

Cultivate Gratitude: Start or end your day by listing things you’re grateful for. This practice can shift your focus from what you lack to what you have, fostering a positive mindset.

Adopt a Holistic View: Combine the psychological insights from Maltz with the scientific framework provided by Dispenza, embracing a comprehensive approach to personal development.

Build Resilience: Embrace challenges as opportunities for growth. Develop coping strategies for dealing with setbacks, and view failure as feedback, not defeat.

Develop Emotional Awareness: Work on recognising and understanding your emotions and those of others. This can improve your relationships and your response to various situations.

Surround Yourself with Positivity: Engage with people who support your growth and share your values. A supportive community can provide encouragement and feedback.

Be Kind to Yourself: Treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding you would offer a friend. Self-compassion is key to overcoming self-doubt and criticism.

Prioritise Wellness: Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and sufficient sleep are foundational to both mental and physical health, enhancing your capacity for personal growth.

Positive Affirmations: Regularly recite positive affirmations that align with your goals and desired self-image. This can reinforce your self-belief and focus.

Maintain a Journal: Regular reflection through journaling can provide insights into your thought patterns and behaviours, facilitating a deeper understanding of your progress and areas for improvement.

Embrace Lifelong Learning: Stay curious and open to new experiences. Read, take courses, and attend workshops to expand your knowledge and skills. The day you think you’ve ‘arrived’ you are already travelling backwards!


While “Psycho-Cybernetics” laid the groundwork for understanding the impact of self-image and belief on personal reality, “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself” expands this foundation, integrating cutting-edge science for a deeper comprehension and application of these concepts. Together, these works offer a roadmap for anyone looking to harness the power of their mind to shape their health, personal growth, and success. By integrating the timeless wisdom of Maltz with the transformative science of Dispenza, we can navigate the journey of self-improvement with greater clarity and purpose.

Phil Hook


Phil Hook, founder of Train4Results, brings over 25 years of experience in sales, management, and training to his role. Known for his innovative approach that challenges traditional norms, Phil specializes in creating engaging, high-impact learning experiences. His unique blend of motivational coaching and hands-on activities has made him a sought-after consultant in the UK and globally, committed to empowering individuals to reach their full potential.

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