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Self-Image and Willpower
Prerequisites: Be able to visualize or at least try to visualize
Hint: if you can’t do it right now, I’ve summarized some hints of how to improve your visualization skills below
In contrast to the other articles, this is only an emotional related topic yet.
Before you try anything bigger to do, then we just did before with the ClixSense-experiment,
you need to know about Self-Image.
In my opinion, this is one of the most important things in personal development, if not the most.
Some related articles online state those things as contradictory.
Some others state them as interchangeable.
In my opinion, this is neither nor the case.
I will make clear here:
In this very article:
Self-Image is first. It’s the most important thing.
What is a Self-Image?
Here Bob Procter tells in a really basic five-minute documentary what it is and why it is so important:
Why change your Self-Image?
So you know you now, that if you don’t change your self-image first, you will have a lot of burden carrying around, pulling you back consistently.
Change the parts of your self-image in a way that is empowering and no more detrimental.
The Self Image is Your Key to a Better Life.
If you see yourself as someone who does not deserve to be loved, you can try everything and it might even seem to work for a while.
And you need a lot of willpower to accomplish this.
If you loose track of willpower only once for a consideringly short amount of time you’re doomed to experience the “Personality Snap Back Effect” like it’s been named by Dr. Maxwell Maltz.
The basic gist of it is: your Self-Image will pull you back where you have been like a taut rubber band.
The Self-Image actually describes the image you have of yourself.
Let’s say the Self-Image is basically your plan.
What it enables you to do and what not.
It’s your blueprint. So to speak.
here an excerpt of Wikipedia’s description:
Self-image is the mental picture, generally of a kind that is quite resistant to change, that depicts not only details that are potentially available to objective investigation by others (height, weight, hair color, gender, I.Q. score, etc.), but also items that have been learned by that person about themself, either from personal experiences or by internalizing the judgments of others. A simple definition of a person’s self-image is their answer to the question “What do you believe people think about you?”.
Self-image may consist of three types:
- Self-image resulting from how the individual sees themself.
- Self-image resulting from how others see the individual.
- Self-image resulting from how the individual perceives others see them.
These three types may or may not be an accurate representation of the person. All, some or none of them may be true.
I learned from experience that you might experience the unwanted yo-yo effect like in dieting.
Let’s get rid of some prejudices in self-development, too here:
- every little change takes years
- you can’t change yourself
- after some years you will be the same person again
Make your success measurable
When you motivate people by drilling them or giving them a highly inspirational speech, yes, they might go off like a rocket.
This is only a short-term fix compared to the real self-image.
You know that. You have been fascinated by something new you wanted to do, you were motivated like crazy and suddenly – you lost perspective. And got lazy.
Maybe you don’t even remember why you wanted to do it in the first place. And then you lost momentum.
Later the topic even might come up again and you’re asking yourself:
Why did I loose my motivation?
First, you have to form a habit. And then the habit forms you.
You need to set goals.
This is where the metrics come in
- You need to set goals. To measure your success.
- You need to go on.
- You need to figure out a lot of stuff.
- You have to focus and internalize always one task, not several
- Active Listening
- Making Mistakes
- Keep Going
- Staying Motivated
and on and on and on. There’s a lot of stuff to learn.
It’s an ongoing process.
How to empower your Self-Image
So why I am talking about all this?
Each one of us carries a picture of ourselves within.
That picture is our “self-image”, our concept of the “sort of person I am.”
It is formed and strengthened from our own Beliefs about ourselves. Many of these Beliefs have been unconsciously formed from past experiences, failures and successes and the way others have reacted to us, especially in childhood. From this, we mentally construct a Self (picture of self).
Once the idea or belief of ourselves goes into the picture, it becomes, as far as we are personally concerned, “the truth”.
We do not question its validity, instead, we proceed and act upon it, “just as if it was true.”
The Self-image controls
- what you can and cannot accomplish in life,
- what is difficult or easy for you,
- and how others respond to you.
- Your behavior,
- potential success
- are always consistent with your Self-image.
The Self-Image is a foundation upon which your personality, behavior, and even circumstances are built.
A Result of Past Experiences
As a result, our experiences validate and strengthen our current Self-Image, which then sets up a vicious or beneficial cycle.
You cannot escape your Self-Image for long.
Willpower and conscious effort alone, are unlikely to provide lasting and sustainable change.
To sum up, you will “act like” the person you conceive yourself to be.
For instance: If you have a “fat” Self-Image, and find that when you consciously try to lose weight and keep it off using willpower, that you may well be working in direct opposition to your current Self-image and therefore become unsuccessful in your endeavors.
Whatever is difficult for you, whatever frustrations in your life, they are likely
reinforcing something ingrained
in your Self-Image.
Because of this objective “proof”, it seldom occurs that the crux of the trouble is hidden in the self-image and our evaluation of ourselves.
The good news is the Self-Image can be changed.
So I advise you to REALLY and TRULY photoshop your Self-Image over time.
Where does willpower now come into play?
To change your Self-Image.
Maxwell Maltz advises in his book to achieve this by mental rehearsal and mental (movie) theater.
I’ll explain that closer to you. Because this contains the power of your deep identity level change.
This is about imagining you sitting in your own mental movie theater. You’ve created it, engineered it, thought of it by the pure power of your free thoughts. There are no limits.
Imagine everything. As much as possible.
The smells, the odor, what it looks like until the last screw and the color or pattern on the vases there.
And what it feels like to be there. And how it feels like to touch something. The cloth of the seat. The floor. And hear the noises and the sound. You might even taste some popcorn, coke, ice, chocolate or fruits.
You make yourself comfortable in your also thoroughly imagined chair and the movie is about to start.
Starring: YOU. Yes. YOU are the main character of the movie in your life.
This movie is exactly showing what you try to learn, what you want to achieve. It’s showing you.
At your best form. You already see how you are successful in what you want to achieve.
Turn up the volume, the colors stronger, the screen larger. And experience the 3D effect.
Why do we have to do this? Because our whole system in our body can not really differentiate,
what is true and what is just imagined in terms of influencing your self-image.
After a while, you suddenly start to drift from your seat in the movie.
Now YOU ARE the character in YOUR MOVIE.
Don’t you get a clear pic? in your mind? So you think you can’t do it?
Can’t you visualize? Then don’t stop here. Go on reading and especially the last section, where I mention what
to do about improving your visualization skills.
This is like when you’re practicing for real. But instead, you imagine it.
If you’d like to learn how to play drums, you see yourself doing it.
When you want to learn how to play the piano or the guitar you see yourself practicing.
To make the differences a little bit clearer:
In the Mental Theater, you would be on stage playing your guitar.
In the Mental Rehearsal, you might be at home or on a mountain or wherever you are, imagining
how you’re trying to play compose or whatever you’d like to learn or be.
In the Mental Theater, you would the Hollywood star as a famous seducer or be a hero in an action movie.
In the Mental Rehearsal, you might be in town or on a ship or wherever you are, imagining how to learn these things.
Only your imagination is the limit.
This I’d say is really some form of
You will notice that this actually DOES improve your skills.
But it’s not an excuse to keep you from taking ACTION.
You need to do both.
This is especially for all of you that think they can’t visualize at all or want to improve their visualization skills.
Why am I writing TRY to visualize before? Because I noticed sometimes, that even just trying is enough.
I can’t explain why exactly.
I assume your subconscious and all parts of your mind and how they’re linked together try to sharpen your focus for what’s coming.
So those part can’t really know how it will be for real, but they can focus and link their whole attention.
I also experience difficulties in terms of visualization.
People would say: I am an auditive person.
I still practice and it gets better.
So I just noticed for myself, no matter if I am able to produce a clear pic appearing on my virtual eye or not, it’s still working.
Just to don’t even try to do this because you think you can’t visualize is nonsense in my humble opinion.
It already unfolds it’s power by trying. ALSO IF YOU CAN’T VISUALIZE ANY PICTURE AT ALL.
Just a thought comes up to my mind: Isn’t there something like sonification?
That would be my made up expression of imagining sounds.
Hmmmmm…. I think this is definitely important as well.
So I might sum up a bunch of visualization articles in another post.