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Project CertoPower -- Page 7

Page 1


Page 2

Homo Concedo & Homo Diligentia

Page 3

The "Civilized Human Condition"

Page 4

Qualified Primitivism

Page 5

Development Techniques

Page 6

Why-Can-Do Booster

Page 7

Psychological Reversal

Page 8

Smash Your Illusions

Page 9

Escape the Matrix

Page 10

Suggested Strategies

Part 1:
Recognize and Overcome Your "Internal Saboteur"
-- Overcome "Interference!"
-- Develop Your "Inner Game!"

Fairbairn's Theory of Ego Development and the "Internal Saboteur"

Beginning in the early 1940s, W. R. D. Fairbairn developed a unique psychoanalytic theory. Fairbairn rejected Sigmund Freud's structural theory (and the drive model it embodied). According to Freud, the psyche consists of an "ego," an "id," and a "superego." Human behavior can be explained by two basic "instinctual drives" -- sex and aggression, also called Eros and Thanatos, or life and death.

According to Fairbairn the structure of the psyche develops as a result of the individual's relations with other people. Following is a gross oversimplification of Fairbairn's theory.

Originally, the self can be regarded as a "unitary dynamic ego." (By "ego," Fairbairn refers to the entire self or psyche.)

The original ego then splits into a "withdrawn vulnerable self" (which can be compared to "viligance orientation" or "pain avoidance"), and a "coping/everyday self" (which can be compared to "eagerness orientation" or "pleasure seeking" -- see Page 6).

The coping/everyday self can be associated with the "reward circuit" of the brain. The withdrawn vulnerable self can be associated with the "punishment circuit" of the brain.

Later, a further splitting of the ego occurs, with the emergence of the "internal saboteur."

The internal saboteur can be associated with the "behavioral inhibition system" (BIS) of the brain.

Following is a more complete version of Farbairn's ego structure, as it later develops.

Here we're concerned with the internal saboteur and the fact that it's largely or completely unconscious.

It's most important to realize that the internal saboteur is a physical part of the brain, called the behavioral inhibition system (BIS) -- see Page 6.

It's also noteworthy that Fairbairn places the coping/everyday self in the conscious and the withdrawn vulnerable self in the unconscious. This could imply that the eagerness orientation tends to be conscious, while the vigilance orientation tends to be unconscious.

Fairbairn's "Inner Saboteur" can be compared to Gallwey's "Invented or Alien Self 1."

Your Saboteur and Self-Sabotage

Martha Baldwin's book Self-Sabotage: How To Stop It & Soar To Success may be a useful guide for overcoming your Internal Saboteur." Review on

"I almost didn't buy this book. I saw buzzwords like "inner child" and "saboteur" and references to "transactional analysis" (which I knew nothing about, but somehow had an aversion to) ... but I bought the book anyway. I've been "reorganized" out of my job of 20 years, and wanted to see if some suspicions about my sabotaging myself held up. Well, they did ... and Ms. Baldwin explained why, and explained how to stop... I also wish I had had this book as I was trying to be the best parent I could be. There's a lot of wisdom here."

Chapter titles Include:

John Denton's
"FLUX Model"

Inspired by Gallwey's "Performace equals Potential minus Interference" and Ohm's Law in electricity ("Flux equals Driving Force divided by Resistance"), John Denton developed his FLUX Model. He contends that you require a flow of energy to improve your performance. The rate of change in performance can be described as:


You can improve your performance by increasing the driving force and/or by reducing the resistance to change. If you can do both, then the result is a multiple of the two factors. For example, if you double the driving force and halve the resistance, then you achieve a fourfold improvement in performance.

Accordingly -- and with a better acronym/mnemonic --Denton formulated the FLUX Model for Performance Improvement, aimed at letting an individual's energy:

Applying the FLUX Model

of Model
Impact Method Used
/ Tool
Flow Reducing the Resistance to Change
  • Challenging Limiting Beliefs
  • Building Self Esteem
Liberate Reducing the Resistance to Change
  • Acknowledging Change
  • Recognizing Choice
Unleash Increasing the Driving Force for Change
  • Goal Setting
  • Action Implementation
eXcellence Increasing the Driving Force for Change
  • Establishing New Habits
  • Reinforcement

A visual diagram of the model:

Click here to enlarge. Then use your browser's "Back" button to return here.

The FLUX model can be expanded to include the entire Get-Real Success System. An important extension is how you find the "Leverage Points" -- the factors, which if improved, will yield the quickest and biggest Improvement gains.

Summary of Inner Game of Tennis
-- Timothy Gallwey

"It seems clear that the breakthroughs of the next age must come in the form of advances in our individual and collective abilities to tap existing human capabilities and to overcome the negative internal forces that interfere with their expression."
-- W. Timothy Gallwey
(The Inner Game of Golf)

W. Timothy Gallwey has come up with the formula: Performance

He realized that people have a high Potential to Perform whatever they want to do. However, part of the brain tends to Interfere with Performance. The Interference tends to sabotage Performance. Hence the formula: Performance equals Potential minus Interference.

The Interference tends to occur in the form of "Mind Chatter" -- "baloney" or "garbage" generated by the left hemisphere of the brain. This is the "Conscious Self" which Gallwey calls "Self 1."

The "Gallwey Theory" -- and the Methods to Overcome Interference are presented in Gallwey's books:

Gallwey devotes Chapter 7 of The Inner Game of Work to his "STOP Tool," which he calls "The Tool of All Tools!" (Read an Overview -- The Inner Game of Work here.)

Consider the "WTF Tool" as an alternative to Gallwey's STOP Tool.


  1. WTF have I been thinking and doing?
  2. What results have I produced?
  3. What decisions did I make to construct my racket?
  4. How has my racket been working for me?
  5. What "payoff(s)" have I been receiving for playing my racket?
  6. What other rackets can I perform?

For descriptions of "racket" and "payoff," see Identify Your Failure Formula(s).

Timothy Gallwey's
"Inner Game"

In his "Inner Game" books, W. Timothy Gallwey makes a distinction between "Self 1" and "Self 2." According to Gallwey, Self 1 is an "invented or alien self." Your Self 1 definitely can have "negative aspects." A Self 1 dominated by "I Can't..." and/or similar negative programs certainly seems "invented or alien."

It may also be appropriate to think in terms of upgrading Self 1 by removing negatives and adding positives -- as suggested by the FLUX Model.

According to Gallwey, Self 2 is your "natural self," which could be regarded as your unconscious mind. It seems reasonable to me that in sports like tennis and golf, Self 2 can be programmed through learning fundamentals and practice to perform automatically at very high levels of proficiency. In golf, Self 1 could decide what shot to play, the ideal shot can then be visualized by the unconscious mind, and then control can be passed over to Self 2 to execute the shot automatically.

Gallwey's distinction between Self 1 and Self 2 seems similar to Gurdjieff's distinction between "personality" and "essence."

"Death must come before rebirth. But what must die? False confidence in one's own knowledge, self-love and egoism. Our egoism must be broken. We must realize that we are very complicated machines, and so this process of breaking is bound to be a long and difficult task. Before real growth becomes possible, our personality must die." -- G. I. Gurdjieff (Views from the Real World)

Specifically, Gurdjieff's "personality that must die" can be regarded as the "personality that must control everything." (Dan F. Umanoff, M.D. founder of Hypoism, after leaving Alcoholics Anonymous, determined that most of the AA program doesn't work, but one key step does work: "Recovery only happens when one surrenders his/her decision-making to one's sponsor, when one uses someone else's brain to help make decisions. It is the unconscious and self-sufficient decision-making that gets hypoics into trouble with addictions and it's the surrender that results in recovery.")

There are of course potential pitfalls in "surrendering" to people who want to take advantage of you. Sometimes vigilance is appropriate!

On occasion, you may have noticed some automatic "conversation" or "chattering" going on in your head. For example, while having a conversation with someone, all kinds of judgmental thoughts go through your mind about what the other person is saying. While listening, you may also be rehearsing what you're going to say next. This is your Self 1 in action.

In tennis there is a typical "Self 1 downward spiral." You hit a poor backhand into the net. Your Self 1 comments in your head, "That was a terrible shot!" After a few more weak backhands, your Self 1 says, "My backhand is terrible!" Not too long after that, the comment becomes, "I'll never be able to play good tennis!" -- or some similar putdown. The "Self 1 downward spiral" may not stop there. It might be followed by, "I'm too clumsy to be good at any sport." And even, "I'm a worthless person."

Your Self 1 may also constantly tell you what to do and what not to do. Your Self 1 may have a tendency to INTERFERE with the powerful abilities of your natural Self 2.

This realization led to Gallwey's formula: Performance equals Potential minus Interference.

By reducing interference from your Self 1, you may be able to improve your performance in many areas of your life.

You can think of your Self 2 is your Powerful Real Self or essence. To wake up and access your Self 2, you may have to "kill" aspects of your Self 1. By "kill" we mean become aware of and UNLEARN a host of more or less unconscious thinking habits designed to keep your Self 1 in control and suppress your Self 2.

Your Self 2 has powerful, natural learning abilities. Your Self 1 may interfere with your natural learning. Much of "formal education" is styled after Self 1 interference and may be more of a hindrance than an aid to natural learning. Many people may have largely lost their natural learning abilities -- a big disadvantage! By reducing Self 1 interference, you may be able to recover at least some of your natural learning abilities. See Accelerate Your Learning!.

If you're trying to make money on the Internet, you may experience interference from your Self 1 in the form of negative comments circulating in your mind. Your Self 1 may sabotage you in other ways -- like steering you into making bad decisions. You can learn skills and acquire tools involved with online moneymaking. You can program your Self 2 (by identifying and repeating successful actions) to automatically help perform many of the actions involved.

In all kinds of activities ranging from sports to ordinary communication and to making money on the Internet, there is an Inner Game and an Outer Game. The Outer Game has to do with hitting the ball. The Inner Game has to do with what goes on in your mind.

By becoming better at the Inner Game, you can greatly improve your Outer Game. If you're not as successful as you would like to be with your Outer Game of making money on the Internet (or anything else), you may want to work on improving both your Inner and Outer Games. If you get stuck and don't get better, then you may want to focus on improving your Inner Game. (If necessary, use EFT and/or Idenics to get unstuck.)

Whether or not you're interested in tennis or golf, ALL THREE of the following Gallwey books are "must reading!" Each contains some important and profound information not included in the others. (It's OK to skip some of the material on technical aspects of tennis and golf.)

The Inner Game of Tennis
The Inner Game of Work
The Inner Game of Golf

Your Self 1 interference may put you at a disadvantage in several areas of your life. Self 1 interference could even cause you huge disadvantages. Gallwey's books include several examples of people dramatically increasing their advantages by becoming aware of and "killing" aspects of their Self 1. Most likely, you'll be able to do the same -- learning to better use your powerful Real Self!

Greg Norman's
1996 Masters Collapse

In the 1996 golf Masters tournament, Greg Norman started the final round with a six-stroke lead (after rounds of 63, 69, and 71). He shot 78 in the final round and finished five strokes behind winner Nick Faldo.

Such a collapse is called "choking." I speculate that Norman allowed his Self 1 or Inner Saboteur to take control of his game and crowd out his natural Self 2 -- with disastrous consequences.

(Norman's worst previous collapse was in the 1986 PGA Championship when he led by four going to Sunday, shot 76, and finished two strokes behind Bob Tway.)

More on Overcoming Self-Interference

Part 2:
Confront and Overcome
Psychological Reversal and Self-Sabotage

Psychological Reversal

Jean Liedloff - Touch the Future

Dr. Roger Callahan: Founder of TFT
-- The source of EFT and Tapping Therapy

Psychological Reversal
- Part 1 of 4

Psychological Reversal
- Part 2 of 4

Click to Watch Video!

Psychological Reversal
- Part 3 of 4

Click to Watch Video!

Psychological Reversal
- Part 4 of 4

Click to Watch Video!

Dr. Roger J. Callahan discovered "Psychological Reversal" when he tried to find the source of why some of his clients were not making any progress.

"A psychological reversal exists when a person claims he desires to achieve a specific goal but his actions and major motivation, and especially his results, are contrary to his stated goal. Superficially or outwardly he appears to be striving to achieve (in the area of his behavior where he is reversed), but he will inevitably, grossly or subtly, sabotage his own every effort. [emphasis added]" ...From a motivational standpoint, psychological reversal is a perversion of how one's system ought to work. [emphasis added] Psychologically, reversal appears to originate when aspirations are constantly thwarted, or when an individual develops a strong subconscious tendency to denigrate himself and expect failure. My observations suggest that physical stress may also generate psychological reversal in an individual with a proclivity in that direction. However, whatever the origin of the condition, its effects are definite -- and devastating." -- Dr. Roger J. Callahan

On checking out articles on an earlier version of the Callahan website, I discovered that psychological reversal may be much more important than I had previously thought. Apparently, various parts of the human body manifests "electromagnetic polarity" that can be measured with a sensitive voltmeter. Sometimes polarity is reversed in parts of the body. There seems to be a high correlation between reversed polarity and cancer. (Both Dr. Callahan and his wife Joanne are cancer survivors.)

Remedies for Psychological Reversal

On an earlier Callahan website, I had also found some remedies for psychological reversal, including:

  1. Tapping the side of the hand;

  2. Affirmation: "I accept myself even though I have this (the problem about to be treated) problem." [Frederick Mann: It's possible that by stating this as an "Afformation": "How do I accept myself even though I have this (the problem about to be treated) problem?," it could be even more effective. (Note that I have no empirical evidence that my "afformation version" will be more effective.)

Also on an earlier Callahan website:

"We have objective evidence that merely correcting a psychological reversal (a TFT treatment that takes but seconds!) can sometimes have a profound effect on Heart Rate Variability (HRV). HRV has proven to be the best predictor of mortality in a variety of cases ranging not only in heart problems but including Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and diabetes. I have not seen research on HRV and cancer but it would be an interesting research project to pursue. It seems reasonable to assume an improvement in HRV may even help survival in cancer."

Psychological reversal manifests as people using their minds more to hinder or harm themselves than to help themselves, i.e., they self-sabotage. Sometimes self-saboteurs seem to have "turned their understanding of Cause and Effect upside-down" -- they often take actions that produce results opposite to what would benefit them. (I often see an insulting email or post in a discussion forum from someone not paid on time. Then I think to myself, "If the author had tried to deliberately design a message that very likely could result in him never getting paid, he couldn't have done it better!")

Denial is almost certainly an important aspect of Psychological Reversal. For some people, Psychological Reversal may be an important element of their Helplessness.

Addicted to Unhappiness

The book Addicted to Unhappiness: Free yourself from moods and behaviors that undermine relationships, work, and the life you want by Martha Heineman Pieper, PhD and William J. Pieper, MD provides some important clues for understanding self-defeating behavior. You may want to check out the reviews of Addicted to Unhappiness on

The Piepers discovered that infants regard their parents as "perfect parents." Infants also have an inborn desire to seek pleasure, satisfaction, and happiness. (I call this "THE POSITIVE.") On occasion, the actions or non-actions of parents result in infants experiencing pain (physical or emotional), discomfort, or unhappiness. (I call this "THE NEGATIVE."). Infants "assume" that THE NEGATIVE is what their "perfect parents" want for them. They confuse THE NEGATIVE and THE POSITIVE. Their inborn desire to seek THE POSITIVE gets inverted or turned upside down and they begin to seek THE NEGATIVE in certain situations. Some become addicted to THE NEGATIVE. hence the title "Addicted to Unhappiness."

The Liedloff video may help us understand why some infants could become addicted to unhappiness. (In the most extreme cases this could lead to later suicide.)

Infants and children who didn't have their needs for THE POSITIVE properly met, tend to become addicted to THE NEGATIVE, which includes low-level moods as per the Mood-Level Table. In later life, for no rational reasons, they unknowingly and unnecessarily cause themselves to experience THE NEGATIVE, including low-level moods and self-destructive behavior.

"Unhappiness addiction" could be preverbal, i.e., it started before a baby's verbal development. This would mean that "verbal therapies" may not be very effective in overcoming the addiction to unhappiness. The remedies for psychological reversal suggested above, and/or "EFT tapping" may do the trick.

If you're psychologiclly reversed, it may be important to realize that the condition may have started when you were a baby in a preverbal stage of your development.

The "Negative Love Syndrome"

The important phenomenon of "Addiction to Unhappiness" seems closely related to Hoffman's "Negative Love Syndrome." For an essay on the "Negative Love Syndrome," see Essential Essay by Bob Hoffman.

THE HOFFMAN PROCESS is described in the book The Hoffman Process: The World-Famous Technique That Empowers You to Forgive Your Past, Heal Your Present, and Transform Your Future by Tim Lawrence. review by M. R. Estante (January 15, 2005), titled: "Hoffman Process extracts the psychic scream/root of pain:

"Have you ever noticed that no matter how much you know ... it doesn't make a difference? Have you struggled with very long-standing childhood-based hurts that no amount of seminars, workshops, support groups, or counselling has been able to help resolve 100%?

If you find yourself on a seemingly endless search for healing without permanent measureable relief then the Hoffman Process may be for you. The Hoffman Process has been described as the world's best kept secret. Presented in an 8-day residential retreat around the world, the process has been endorsed and advocated by many medical doctors, psychologists, and others in the healing profession. Known for its breakthrough results and ability to gently "crack the hardest nut (no pun intended)," the Hoffman Process helps participants achieve a connection with self by releasing decades of hurt, anger, resentment, vindictiveness, and other destructive negative emotions and behaviors. People from all walks of life have benefited from this remarkable loving program.

I am a graduate of the Hoffman Process and truly believe this is the only method that fully releases people of the roots of pain, anger, and the torture of negativity. The beauty of the process is that it connects the head and the heart while removing destructive self-sabotage patterns that one has believed ingrained in themselves. Hoffman produces a powerful relief. It is not a cure-all, and one has to do the work to get the benefit, but nothing else I have tried has brought to me such a sweet place of serene tranquility and joy. For those of you who have tried all sorts of healing methods and still are plagued with inner struggle... I highly urge you to consider the Hoffman Process. The Institute in the US offers scholarships and there are financing options in both Canada and the US. There is a fresh air of sincerity, open-hearted, and authentic realism in the Hoffman Institute staff and its teachers.

Unlike some programs of positive thinking or human potential peak performance, there is no hard sales tactics, no manipulation to take more courses, no fostering co-dependancy, no coercion in getting your friends to do courses, or any other uncomfortable tactics.

Hoffman is a a gentle, loving, cleansing, mind-body-soul techniques endorsed by some of the most prominant names in medicine and psychology today. There is a freedom of choice and a freedom to be, that in itself is a journey of gold!

This is a must read for those committed to self-growth and/or are Hoffman graduates.

Isn't it time to be free of unhealthy core issues rather than just successfully coping and palliating them?"

The Hoffman Process addresses a wide range of personal constraints. Bob Hoffman's identification of the "Negative Love Syndrome" may be particularly important for some people. See Hoffman Institute.

Underachievement and Self-Sabotage

In his book Your Own Worst Enemy: Breaking the Habit of Adult Underachievement, Kenneth W. Christian, PH.D. writes that "underachievement [is] an epidemic problem." My own experience and observations seem to indicate that over 95% (possibly as high as 98%) of people trying to make money online suffer from underachievement -- they sabotage their own success -- they suffer from psychological reversal.

Dr. Christian also writes: "I came to an inescapable conclusion: the basic elements of the style I saw in all these people were nearly universally present in the general population." [emphasis added]

Furthermore: "Pulling back from your potential, at the most fundamental level, is a kind of abdication, an abandonment of your own best interests. Achieving self-development, on the other hand, is not only life's central mission -- it can also be the most thrilling odyssey there is." [emphasis added]

Dr. Christian's website: MAXIMUM POTENTIAL PROJECT. (Under "Free Articles" you can download a PDF article: An Opinionated Look at Public Educational Policy and its Relationship to Underachievement -- A summary of major mistakes in direction in public educational policy that have actively supported the development of underachievement in children." See also Dumbed Down by "Education!")

Secrets You Keep from Yourself

Dan Neuharth, PhD is the author of Secrets You Keep from Yourself: How to Stop Sabotaging Your Happiness. Dr. Neuharth's website contains a wealth of resources to overcome self-sabotage, including the "Top 20 Self-Sabotaging Behaviors" -- "In the survey of 203 Americans aged 18-66, participants chose from a list of more than 50 potentially counterproductive behaviors. The top 20 behaviors, with the percentage of participants who said they had done that behavior more than once in the preceding 30 days": #1 Procrastinated -- 86%.

Procrastination may be the most prevalent self-defeating behavior. You may be able to apply Dr. Neuharth's 5 "Fear-Busters" to overcome procrastination. See also Overcome Procrastination.

Self-Sabotage versus Success Criteria by Dr. Daniel Amen*

Attitudes of Self-Sabotage Success
  1. blames others
  2. no plans
  3. expects to fail
  4. counts on luck
  5. repeats mistakes
  6. rigid/inflexible
  • personal responsibility
  • focused goals
  • expects to succeed
  • prepared for luck
  • learns from mistakes
  • creative
Work Habits of Self-Sabotage Success
  1. unobservant
  2. uninformed
  3. unprepared/
  4. trouble making decisions
  5. inability to delegate
  6. impulsive
  7. overly cautious
  • observant
  • informed
  • prepared/
  • able to make decisions
  • delegates
  • disciplined
  • takes reasonable risks
Interactional Self-Sabotage Success
  1. inability to communicate
  2. surrounded by negative people
  3. unable to learn from others
  4. shies away from competition
  5. insensitive to others
  6. dependence on others
  • good communication skills
  • surrounded by positive people
  • teachable
  • sees competition as win-win
  • empathic toward others
  • independent
Individual Self-Sabotage Success
  1. stinking thinking**
  2. fear of success
  3. emotional disorders (depression, anxiety, drug/alcohol abuse)
  4. lack of energy
  5. lack of integrity
  6. lack of self-confidence
  7. gives up easily
  • accurate perception
  • motivated for success
  • mental health
  • energetic
  • integrity
  • self-esteem
  • persistence

* Dr. Daniel Amen is author of Don't Shoot Yourself in the Foot: A Program to End Self-Defeating Behavior Forever.

** To correct "stinking thinking," see Apply Simpleology 101 and/or ThinkRightNow! for Success.

"Not-Copy Fear & Pain"

My friend "Rikki" seems to have identified something fundamental to human nature. He claims that our tribal ancestors, even before the development of language, survived by living in groups and acting together. Because individually our ancestors were helpless when attacked by large animals, they had to "clump" together to survive. They had to act together to defend themselves. If they didn't act together as a group, they didn't survive.

This can be called the "herd instinct" or "tribal mind." Hunting together also made it possible for members of human tribes to kill large animals that individuals by themselves couldn't kill. When attacked, members of human tribes had the best chance of surviving and winning if they fought together.

"When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other." -- Eric Hoffer

Individuals who got separated from their tribes, or were cast out, had practically no chance of survival. The drive to clump together, bond together, hunt together, and fight together is most likely genetic, or "in our genes." As a result, the herd instinct is still strong in most humans. So strong, Rikki claims, that if we experience someone not acting together with us (not copying us) we experience fear and pain. Rikki says this is our biggest fear and pain. He calls it "not-copy fear and pain."

The fear of rejection associated with public speaking can be regarded as an aspect of not-copy fear. When someone gets lonely (not part of a group acting together), he or she experiences not-copy pain and may commit suicide.

"According to most studies, people's number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you're better off in the casket than doing the eulogy." -- Jerry Seinfeld

Singing together, as in church, tends to make people feel good. Some people try to escape from not-copy fear and pain through entertainment, risky behavior, and taking alcohol and drugs. Facebook could be so popular because it enables people to "act together," copy each other, and get a sense of belonging.

It also seems likely that, if not-copy fear and pain is so fundamental to human nature, some of us experienced this fear and pain in infancy before we aquired language and consciousness. Presumably this could be addressed through Af-x Therapy.

Philosopher René Girard is famous for declaring that "desire is mimetic," meaning that many human desires are copied from others. Many people don't have their own desires; they copy the desires of others. This is why celebrity advertising works so well.

Mark Earls is the author of Herd: How to Change Mass Behaviour by Harnessing our True Nature. He writes: "...[W]e are not discrete, self-determingindividuals whose decision-making is located between individual pairs of ears; we do what we do largely because of our interaction with -- and under the influence of others. And mostly without realising it."

So, in addition to our desires, we also tend to copy the thoughts and behavior of others. The pressure to conform can be regarded as part of the herd instinct. Not conforming may trigger not-copy fear and pain. Psychologist Solomon Asch was famous for his conformity experiments. The following video indicates how powerful the pressure to conform can be:

Asch Conformity Experiment

Click to Watch Video!

For many years, it was not clear to me why "Dinging and Dedinging" (see below) were so important. Now that I know about not-copy fear and pain, it makes perfect sense! When you get "dinged" (by a putdown or disappointment), it may trigger or activate your not-copy pain or fear and "drag you down." When couples argue and fight, "pushing each other's buttons," their not-copy fears and pains are usually activated. This can degenerate into domestic violence and worse...

It now seems to me that not-copy fear and pain is humanity's "great unrecognized weakness." Most attempts at self-improvement, including most therapeutic methods, never address not-copy fear and pain -- so clients "always have to come back for more."

Dinging and Dedinging -- Subtle Suppression -- Self-Sabotage

Unsolicited Testimonial

"Thank you for your material on dinging! It made me believe that there is indeed a guiding force that leads you to understanding when you sincerely seek understanding. I would like to tell you of a recent experience that revealed to me the severe damaging effects of dinging in our personal lives. I was my own dinger and the result was a battle that in the past undermined my whole life.

I am extremely talented in many areas but in my own eyes it has in the past never been good enough. My energy level has usually been low. I used to feel somewhat depressed daily.

Recently my nephew and niece from Europe visited the US and I was invited to join them at the beach. One of them is 19 and I had not seen him in years. My niece is 16. I spent a great day with them. The next day, I sprang out of bed at 6am and started working with unusual energy to the music of the Beatles. At one point I was dancing in front of a mirror. I accomplished so many things that day and my life was hopeful.

After reading in your website I realized what had happened to me. That day at the beach, my nephew gave me an incredible amount of attention. He wanted to know about my life and he insisted that I tell him about the screenplays I was writing. I asked him, "Are you really interested?" He said it was great and he wanted to know the end of the story. My niece gave me big smiles and she was interested in my explanation of the world through the eyes of quantum mechanics, which is my interest.

All of a sudden, I found myself interesting, funny, entertaining. I felt accepted, admired and respected. No dinging whatsoever, on the contrary, only gratitude. It was as if my nephew and niece were grateful that they had an uncle like me. My sudden life explosion was directly caused by that day. I am grateful that the light led me to your website -- #TL12A: Dinging and Dedinging -- Subtle Suppression -- Self-Sabotage -- because I feel excited and full of hope all of a sudden. I have realized that I, myself, have been a big time dinger in the past and now I will set about the task of stopping that.

Thank you again!!!" -- J.V. (8/23/07)

Dinging is like a Slap in the Face! -- Sometimes by an invisible hand!

Dinging and Dedinging

Several years ago I heard of businessman Kingsley Wimbush who operated a company in California. He and his personnel apparently became phenomenally successful, partly because of his recognition of "dinging." Many of us, most days, experience all kinds of little disappointments, verbal putdowns, and negative self-talk. These negative incidents constitute dinging. I suspect that some people allow themselves to be gradually "dragged down" by dinging in a cumulative manner.

The cumulative allowing yourself to be "dragged down" can manifest as "burnout." It tends to be particularly noticeable among those salespeople who by the nature of their occupations have to deal with many more rejections than successful sales. (The book NewSell by Dr. Michael Hewitt-Gleeson also contains some important information on this topic.)

"Dedinging" is a procedure whereby, every day, we recover from all that day's dinging incidents. I haven't yet come across the details of the dedinging procedure. I suspect it's one of the greatest "increasers of personal power." We need to track it down or redevelop it.

Fortunately, someone who asked to be known as "Big Richard" responded to the above. I've edited and expanded his report.

Subtle Suppression by "Big Richard"

I came across your site some years ago, and noticed the reference to Kingsley Wimbush and the handling of Subtle Suppression [dedinging] he developed. I thought I might write up my understanding of it. I was in San Jose, California in the early 1980s attending a class at a software company that I worked for at the time. I had heard some incredible stories about something going on at the Wimbush company, also in San Jose.

I had been a successful member of the United States Marine Corps (USMC) as an Aerial Navigator, and had been a member of the United States Air Force in Supply. I have also done two stints in the United States Army reserve National guard. I have four honorable discharges for my service career. So I had some large groups to compare them to, and had experienced a great deal of fun and also seen how not to run groups.

Since then I've also been part of several successful startup software companies and the knowledge I gained from my San Jose trip has been very useful. I visited the Wimbush company and noticed several things. First, there was a very large number of people. Second, the "tone level" of the place (the emotional level people were operating at) was very high. Third, there was a lot of happy motion and production going on. It looked much like a more successful version of my time on USMC air crew, which had consisted of tightly knit groups of flyers working together happily and effectively.

I was astounded by the productivity I observed at the Wimbush company. So it seemed the stories were true. At the time they were grossing close to 190,000 to 200,000 of product sales per week, and were delivering at a high level of service to support those sales. Production at the company at one time had been at a very flat, consistent 10,000 per week sales level and delivery for several years.

I was so impressed that I enrolled in a productivity course at the Wimbush company. I was given a "twin" (a "buddy" to study with) and shown a video tape of Kingsley discussing an evaluation he had done and what had led up to the incredible increase in productivity. The video tape included some exercises.

Kingsley was a highly trained executive and had been involved in business training for several years. He had recruited a good staff, trained them well, and they were on a commission system. Things went OK, but he never could get the production above the level of about 10,000 sales per week, with the same level of delivery. Then he took a management course on how to analyze situations of stagnating productivity.

What the management course taught him is that you first observe and identify the "current situation." Then you define or describe the "ideal situation" -- what would the "perfect situation" be? Then you identify the largest shortcoming in the current situation -- the major difference between the current situation and the ideal situation. Then you look for an explanation of "WHY" the current situation lags so far behind the ideal situation.

A section of the management course was called "Name, Want and Get Your Product." The product was what you were supposed to produce, such as a new sale, or a course supervised, or a bill sent out. The idea is that first you define exactly what you are supposed to produce and name it ("Name"). Then you need to really desire to create this product and the subproducts necessary to produce it, including learning better how to do it, etc. ("Want"). And then you would work hard at making, doing, or producing the subproducts and end-product ("Get"). This process should result in increased production.

The management course said something interesting: Sometimes people don't really want their product when they are in the presence of suppression. The course used the term "Subtle Suppression." It distinguished between overt suppression and covert suppression.

Kingsley then carefully observed people doing their jobs in his company to see if he could find instances of subtle or covert suppression. He noticed things like:

Kingsley realized that this was "failure to properly acknowledge something good" and noticed that it acted like suppression. The person it was done to wasn't happier, more productive, rearing to go. They kind of caved in a bit, often without even realizing it. And it wasn't easy to see, it was subtle. He decided to use the word "dinging" to describe this subtle suppression.

[Editor: A key aspect of some forms of dinging or subtle suppression is that they're subtle -- not easily seen. Example, a store clerk asks, "How are you?" You respond, "Very well, how about you?" She ignores your response. You suspect she has no interest in you and merely spoke like a robot. Suddenly, you don't feel quite as well as before she ignored your response. You may not even notice feeling slightly worse. The second key aspect of dinging is to realize the parts of it you do to yourself. You "interpreted" the behavior of the clerk in some way and made yourself feel worse as a result. The incident may even have triggered an "automatic voice" in your head, "She doesn't really care," or some such -- see #TL12: How to Achieve Emotional Control. A third key aspect of dinging is that the effects are usually cumulative -- after each dinging incident you tend to feel progressively worse. A fourth and most important aspect of dinging is that the failure to properly acknowledge or thank people "acts" like a form of dinging.]

Kingsley continued looking and noticed other similar things. So he said to himself, "Maybe this is the "WHY" -- subtle suppression is taking place and is keeping people from wanting their products, so they produce less.

One key point about the right WHY is that when you identify the exact right WHY -- the big bug that explains everything else -- practically everyone you explain this to, will say, "That's it, it's the right reason," and magically people will help get it fixed. If it's not the right WHY people will disagree, and you get resistance to getting it corrected. Having observed the subtle suppression, Kingsley needed to see if it really was the right WHY.

[Mark Lindsay: "I wonder how accurate this statement is. Could not one person see something others don't?" Editor: I think it's wishful thinking to expect that when you identify the right WHY, people will automatically agree with you and start making changes and improvements. In fact, they may even persecute you for pointing out the right WHY, as happened with Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis -- see "Semmelweis-Reflex."]

So Kingsley talked this over with his number two man. He explained what he had been doing, and what he had observed, and they talked about it. His number two agreed that it was the right WHY, and they started talking back and forth, telling each other about things like what they had done, or had done to them or seen others do. Before he knew it, two hours had passed and his number two had to go to another meeting.

Kingsley noticed something very interesting. As he and his number two were talking, and saying, "Yeah, I remember seeing this person do..." the other person would interrupt and say, "I have a better one...," and there was just this explosion of examples that came up. Afterward they both felt a lot better. Kingsley looked at this, and said that's very odd, there was this explosion of examples, and we both felt better. Maybe this is the right WHY.

Now, when you have found the right WHY, you need to come up with a bright idea on how to handle it. Okay, so there is subtle suppression going on. How do we fix this? Kingsley looked at what had happened with his number two and said maybe the fix is, we go over the evaluation, and then we have people find examples with a "twin" or "buddy," and see if things go better. So he did this at a staff meeting. People did the "process," stating examples of how they had done this subtle suppression, or had it done to them, or seen it done to others. The time flew by and people looked better. During the next week, production increased above the 10,000 per week sales level. So he continued doing this, and the production went up and up and up -- 10,000 up to 180,000 - 200,000 or more per week!

There were several specific things he found to discuss, and he went over them in his video tape. The way my "twin" and I did the tape, was we would watch part of the tape, come up to an exercise, and stop the tape, and do it. We found the same phenomena, we would interrupt each other with, "Oh, I've got a better one..." and just get blown out with all of the things like that we had seen, and then we would do the next section of the tape. It was probably one of the most beneficial things I have ever done in my life.

[Editor: I would appreciate receiving details of the exercises from anyone who has done this training. Please send to Frederick Mann.]

After I had completed my course, I attended a graduation ceremony at the Wimbush company. Every Friday night, people who had finished a course during the week would be brought up to be acknowledged, and validated. There were about 300 people at this graduation, sitting on folding metal chairs. The first person was announced. There followed several minutes of the loudest most incredible, clapping, stomping, chair pounding, yelling validation of a person I had ever seen. And of course you should have seen the person who had finished the course, he looked like he had won the Academy Award or some other very high honor. And the next person was announced, and the incredible acknowledgement went on.

After two weeks there, I went home on a Saturday. My voice hurt from the yelling, my hands were sore from the clapping, my feet were sore from the stomping. On the Monday after I got back home, I went to a local meeting in my town. I had the opportunity to relate my experiences in San Jose. This brought about the most startling changes in the people at the meeting, who suddenly started doing much better in life. When I was talking about the graduation, some people at the meeting started crying when they realized how they had been stopped and suppressed by people "on their side." The realization changed their lives.

[Editor: It's important to realize that much of the time people really stop and suppress themselves with more or less unconscious and automatic reactions to what is said or done to them. See "Kellerman Anger Theory" (KAT).]

I heard that many (30 or more) of those people jumped into immediate action after being stuck for months or years. It was the best I had ever felt in my life. I started attacking life, and embarked on the most incredible and productive phase I have ever had, attaining one thing after another, by naming, wanting and getting my products -- not being subtly suppressive to others and not allowing myself to be subtly suppressed. I've often told other people that I felt like someone had lit a Saturn V moon rocket under me and the flame never went out again.

Kingsley feels it's a progressive thing, that you can benefit from doing it [dedinging] over and over and over. And in time, people stop doing it to you, as you no longer do it to others.

"Big Richard's" Areas of Subtle Suppression (Dinging):

[Editor's Areas of Subtle (and not so Subtle) Suppression (Dinging): It's interesting that when I started adding to the above list, I came up with an "explosion" of items:

The proof for me of the value of Kingsley's work is that every group it has been introduced to, became much more productive. Not in a small way, but in a very big way. So I'd like acknowledge Kingsley Wimbush for coming up with this, It really changed my life for the better.

The Dedinging Process

From "Big Richard's" report it's clear that in any cooperative group or family it's extremely important for members to be highly supportive of one another. Individually, it's important to regularly spend some time dedinging yourself. You can identify any instances of dinging you've been subjected to and you can articulate them by writing them down or telling someone else about them. You can notice how you interpreted them, reacted to them, and how you felt afterward. You can come to realize that you created your reaction and how you felt. Fundamentally, your negative reactions to being dinged are a form of subtle self-sabotage. You can become more aware of how, in the past, you typically reacted to some forms of dinging. You can also become more aware of how you've been deliberately or unconsciously dinging others and how they reacted. You can stop dinging others. Whenever you feel "a little down," you can deding yourself. In particular, you can acknowledge and thank yourself for your achievements. It may also be worthwhile to arrange for regular dedinging sessions with a "buddy" or "twin."

A key understanding is that you have the ability to control yourself and how you respond to situations. You have the choice to allow yourself to feel worse after being dinged. You also have the choice to not be affected negatively by dinging -- though you may have to do some work to improve the ability to make this choice.

Mark Lindsay: "I personally overcame my automatic reaction of feeling bad or worse in such scenarios as a result of studying Gurdjieff and some aspects of cognitive psychology. The key for me was to learn how to not take such responses from others personally. (E.g., the other person may just be having a bad day and his/her response actually has nothing to do with you.) You adopt a more objective or impersonal perspective. (Note: "impersonal" here does not mean you become a "cold fish" in the way you behave; rather, it refers to your viewpoint or perspective.) I also observed how my own responses to others could vary based on my current emotional and physiological states. I reasoned that others do this as well and that I need not take their responses too personally."

Here are some exercises that may be worthwhile:
(a) Learning to Acknowledge, Thank, and Praise. Two people take turns acknowledging, thanking, and praising each other. One person says or does anything. The other acknowledges, thanks, and praises by saying, "Thank you!", clapping, whistling, shouting, stomping feet, etc. The more emphatic the acknowledgment, thanks, and praise, the better. A variation of the exercise would be to have a group take turns acknowledging, thanking, and praising what one of the members says or does. [Mark Lindsay: I Don't Have to Make Everything All Better by Gary & Joy Lundberg contains very important information on validation and dedinging. Chapter Six contains a list of effective validating phrases and questions.]
(b) Deliberate Dinging. Two people take turns deliberately dinging each other. The dinger starts with relatively innocuous dings and gradually "turns up the heat." The dingee simply acknowledges each ding with "thank you!", "great!", "good!", etc. It's OK also to smile happily in response to a ding. It's very important that the dinger starts of gently, and that "turning up the heat" is done very gradually. You don't want the dingee to be overwhelmed by vicious dings. It will also help if the dinger knows enough about the dingee to push the right buttons in order to get under the dingee's skin. The purpose of the exercise is for dingees to improve their ability to consciously choose positive responses to whatever dings they receive. If a dingee responds negatively -- e.g., gets sad, depressed, angry, etc. -- then the dinger continues with the same ding until the dinger responds positively. It may also be necessary to "turn down the heat" and retreat to less offensive dings and then later return to the onethe dingee is having difficulty with. A variation of the exercise would be to have multiple dingers all dinging the same dingee. [See also How to Keep People from Pushing Your Buttons by Albert Ellis & Arthur Lange.]
(c) Don't Get Dinged. The purpose of this exercise is to improve the ability to "reach out" to people in ways that reduce the risk that you'll be dinged. One (first) person "reaches out" to another by saying or doing something. The other (second) person responds in one of two ways: (i) An appropriate ding; (ii) Suggestions for improving the method of "reaching out." The only objective of the second person is to assist the first person to improve his or her ability to "reach out." A variation of the exercise would be to have one first person and multiple "second persons."
(d) Verbal Self-Defense. Suzette Haden Elgin has written many books on linguistics, including The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense. Study this book and do its exercises. Learn to respond to verbal attacks without dinging your attacker.
(e) Mark Lindsay: Identify and Stop Self-Dinging. For example, you say to yourself or to another person: "I never win at tennis." Richard Wetherill's Dictionary of Typical Command Phrases is an encyclopedia of things people say to and about themselves that constitute self-dinging. Some self-dinging can come in the form of "automatic thoughts." See #TL12: How to Achieve Emotional Control and Aaron T. Beck's Cognitive Theory and the Emotional Disorders. Editor: Make a special effort to observe what you think and say to yourself. Make a list of anything that might constitute self-dinging. You could even keep a journal.
(f) Reprogram Yourself with Self-Talk. Get the books What to Say When You Talk to Your Self, The Self-Talk Solution, and Choices by Shad Helmstetter. Study and apply them.
(g) If you have suggestions to improve the above exercises or for additional exercises, please send them to me.

Set Yourself Up
to Not be Dinged

Whenever you attempt to "reach out" to another person, you take the risk of being rejected or dinged. If you send someone an email, you risk being dinged by the response. Whenever you post anything to an Internet mailing list or forum, you take the risk of getting dinged. If you ask a woman in a bar if you can buy her a drink, you risk being dinged. If you spend any time in the presence of a compulsive dinger, you greatly increase the chances that you'll be dinged. If you drive a car, you risk being dinged by inconsiderate, careless, or rude drivers. If you try to sell anything or market on the Internet, the chances are overwhelming that you'll be dinged. If you get some "bright idea" and tell your family and friends about it, chances are good that you'll be dinged. If you play any competitive game such as football, soccer, basketball, baseball, golf, hockey, tennis, cricket, chess, bridge, etc., you will certainly get dinged -- even if you're a Michael Jordan or a Tiger Woods. If you publish your writing, you take the risk of being dinged.

Whenever you ding anyone else, that person may respond with a "stronger" ding, i.e., return your ding with interest. By dinging others, you set yourself up to be dinged. Obviously, an important way to set yourself up to not be dinged is to stop dinging others. In general, it works much better to thank, acknowledge, praise, and validate others.

There may be situations where if you get dinged, the best strategy is to respond with a more powerful ding in order to "defeat" your opponent. You may even get a reputation that it's dangerous to ding you, because you always have a more powerful response. However, the general strategy of trying to "outding" others is dangerous, because it may lead to an escalating series of dings. It may even result in physical violence against yourself or your property. You can usually walk away from a ding.

If you allow dings to upset you -- more precisely, you upset yourself as a reaction to dings -- you set yourself up to being dinged. So, developing and improving your ability to choose positive responses to dings, reduces the chances of getting dinged. (Mark Lindsay: There is important information in #TL12: How to Achieve Emotional Control on this.") In general, it's a waste of time and effort to attempt to ding someone who always responds positively.

In general, you get dinged after "placing a piece of information" in the presence of another. You can choose both the "piece of information" and the person(s) in whose presence you "place" it. You can also observe the consequences of "placing pieces of information" and learn from them. So you can improve the quality of the "pieces of information." You can also learn to better select the person(s) in whose presence you "place" them. If you send a "stupid email" or post a "stupid message," you set yourself up to be dinged. If you use a clumsy or inappropriate way of approaching a stranger, you set yourself up to be dinged.

[Mark Lindsay: In his book Choice Theory: A New Psychology of Personal Freedom, William Glasser suggests thinking of your relations with other people in terms of exchanging information.

In fact, there may be useful information in Choice Theory regarding dinging and dedinging, particularly Glasser's "internal control psychology" (Choice Theory) vs. "external control psychology." (Editor: According to Glasser, the world is essentially ruled by three beliefs, the third of which includes: "It is right, it is even my moral obligation, to ridicule, threaten, or punish those who don't do what I tell them to do..." Abandoning external control psychology and adopting Choice Theory will go a long way toward eliminating dinging.)

Glasser's book The Language of Choice Theory has many examples of how to rephrase what you say to others so you don't ding them. See also How to Keep People from Pushing Your Buttons by Albert Ellis & Arthur Lange.]

Dinging Examples

The purpose of including the videos below is not to make any political points, nor to blame anyone for anything, nor to suggest that anyone should engage in verbal bullying and/or dinging others.

The purpose is to make the point that the most important success factors include:

1. How you deal with situations when your wishes are thwarted.

2. How you respond when you're dinged.

3. How well you can use dinging to defeat opponents during debates.

Donald Trump attacks Rosie O'Donnell

Click to Watch Video!

Bill O'Reilly gets his ass kicked by Phil Donahue!

Click to Watch Video!

Text with another version of the video:

"Phil Donahue is the MAN. I have a whole new respect for Donahue. Bill yelled... to get his point through but in the end made himself sound like an idiot... Check out Phil's look at Bill when the interview was over...

...Yes I do believe that Donahue was a bit extreme when he was saying " fight and die." That is disrespectful. I don't praise Phil Donahue nor any other political personality in the media.

Just because Bill O'Reilly was yelling at Donahue doesn't make him right. Like Phil said "loud doesn't mean right." He always does that on his show to make him feel like he's winning the argument..."

Colbert v. O'Reilly on The O'Reilly Factor

Click to Watch Video!


Typically, about 98% of people trying to make money online enjoy little or no success. Often, people join a moneymaking program where they need to recruit others to make money. Then most of them do little or nothing to make money. Some make some half-hearted attempts, but quickly give up. Could the main reason be that most of these people are psychologically reversed and as a result, sabotage their own success?

On looking over the right column of Page 3, you could conclude that destructive political behavior pervades the world. Could this be because most people are psychologically reversed, so they create, support, and/or at least tolerate "psychologically-reversed institutions" that to a greater or lesser extent "sabotage the success of society?"

Psychological reversal can be recognized when people use their minds more to hinder or harm themselves than to help themselves. Negativity can be an indication of psychological reversal. Self-destructive behavior -- self-sabotage -- indicates psychological reversal.

In 2009, Tiger Woods was the world's best golfer. When it comes to golf, it's difficult to imagine anyone more psychologically aligned than Woods... before his sex scandal broke. At the same time, his sex life had been extremely destructive to his family and marriage -- indicating psychological reversal and self-sabotage. (It remains to be seen whether Woods will recover his winning ways.)

This demonstrates that the same person can be psychologically healthy in one area of his/her life, while being psychologically reversed and destructive in another area of life.

The "Stockholm Syndrome" -- when kidnap victims or hostages come to "admire and love" their captors -- involves psychological reversal.

The "2009 Christmas suicide bomber" -- Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab -- represents an extreme case of psychological reversal. A "well-educated" young man from a wealthy family gets indoctrinated and brainwashed to the point that he attempts to blow up a plane, killing himself and all the other passengers for no logical reason. Fortunately, his explosives fail to detonate. (See also Mossad, CIA Behind Christmas Plane Bombing Attempt. There are several other Flight 253 articles on the Rense website)

Dr. Darryl Cross
- Self Sabotage

Dr. Shad Helmstetter
- "The Story of Self-Talk"


Discover How to Remove Limiting Beliefs

From Psychological Reversal to Psychological Alignment

For some time I've been thinking about "winners" and "losers." Why do some people seem to be winners and some losers? Why do some people seem to be winners in some areas of life, while they seem to be losers in other areas? Why would someone with the many winning advantages of an "O.J. Simpson" turn into a big loser? What's the difference between a winner and a loser?

Well, I'm glad to announce that I've found at least part of the answer in the book Five Minute Phobia Cure: Dr. Callahan's Treatment for Fears, Phobias and Self-Sabotage by Roger J. Callahan, Ph.D. Dr. Callahan has developed methods to cure most people from their fears and phobias in a few minutes. As phenomenal as this breakthrough is, his book contains a much more important breakthrough: the seminal concept of "psychological reversal."

The concept of psychological reversal stems from the observation by many mental health practitioners that some clients never seem to make any progress, irrespective of the general efficacy of the methods or techniques used - or how well the methods or techniques work for most people. Dr. Callahan describes the phenomenon:

"A psychological reversal exists when a person claims he desires to achieve a specific goal but his actions and major motivation, and especially his results, are contrary to his stated goal. Superficially or outwardly he appears to be striving to achieve (in the area of his behavior where he is reversed), but he will inevitably, grossly or subtly, sabotage his own every effort." [emphasis added]

Understanding Psychological Reversal

Dr. Callahan writes: "From a motivational standpoint, psychological reversal is a perversion of how one's system ought to work. [emphasis added] Psychologically, reversal appears to originate when aspirations are constantly thwarted, or when an individual develops a strong sub-conscious tendency to denigrate himself and expect failure. My observations suggest that physical stress may also generate psychological reversal in an individual with a proclivity in that direction. However, whatever the origin of the condition, its effects are definite - and devastating."

Generally, the way we recognize psychological reversal is when someone says he wants to achieve a certain result, but acts in ways not likely to achieve that result - or even acts in ways that seem designed to achieve the opposite result. The most reliable indicator of psychological reversal is the actual result. If an overweight person says he wants to lose 20 pounds, and he doesn't, it's an almost certain case of psychological reversal.

You can think of psychological reversal as a subconscious "contrary program" in the mind. On the surface the person says, "I want to lose 20 pounds." But the subconscious contrary program says, "I must put on more weight to survive." The psychological reversal program is more powerful than the surface wish.

Psychological reversal can be domain-specific - in some areas of life you may suffer from psychological reversal, but in others you don't. If you produce good or spectacular results in some areas, but you fail in others - then you know where you need to look for psychological reversal.

Psychological reversal can be mild or extreme - the results you produce in a particular area may be so-so or disastrous.

Psychological reversal can be threshold-specific - below a certain level your results are good, but above that level they are bad or disastrous. For example, you can increase your wealth to $100,000, but as soon as you hit that level you start making costly mistakes until you're broke. Then you start over again, build your wealth to $100,000, and repeat the pattern. Some people live their lives in such roller-coaster fashion.

Psychological reversal can be time-specific or intermittent - at certain times or during certain periods we are more prone to psychological reversal. Suicide rates tend to increase around Christmas time.

Dr. Callahan writes: "Susceptibility to psychological reversal varies greatly among individuals, and may vary widely within one individual over a period of time. I have noted that as a patient progresses in psychotherapy - as his self-awareness grows, as his self-acceptance is enhanced and (most importantly) as he improves his way of living - his tendency to reverse is greatly lessened. Psychological reversal can sometimes be induced by having a patient denigrate himself for his failure. It can sometimes be eliminated by having [the] same patient repeat a statement of self-acceptance.

... Attention needs to be given to eliminating or reducing the degree of reversal of every individual before any therapy, education, treatment, personal instruction, work relationship, love-affair, or interpersonal relationship of any kind is established. When this is done, the possibility of success is maximized, no matter what the endeavor." [emphasis added]

Please go back and read the previous paragraph a few more times. It's absolutely critical that anyone endeavoring to become a millionaire (or a success at anything for that matter) understand the importance of eliminating psychological reversal from their consciousness as much as possible. For, as Dr. Callahan points out, no matter what your endeavor, the possibility of success is maximized when you take steps to eliminate psychological reversal from your psyche.

In general, people can read all the success books they can find, attend all the seminars and workshops presented by the latest "gurus," and spend thousands on the latest therapies - but if they don't handle psychological reversal, they experience at best a temporary emotional "high."

This is one reason why there are so many success books, and why "self-improvement" is such abig business - the poor suckers who don't handle psychological reversal, always have to come back for more!

To better understand psychological reversal you may want to observe how it manifests itself in others. When you're in contact with others try mentioning some lofty goal or plan and watch the response you get. If they scoff or criticize you, they may be a victim of psychological reversal. Or just observe any couple arguing angrily and spitefully over trivialities.

Most people fear public speaking - in fact, many surveys show that it is most people's biggest fear. My psychological well-being tends to be reduced, restricted, limited, and pushed down toward greater negativity and psychological reversal by the fears, phobias, unwarranted discomforts, "learned helplessness," negative programs in my brain, and any incompetence I suffer from, as well as by my ignorance and certain events or external forces.

Dr. Callahan writes: "I believe that a tendency toward psychological reversal, like so many other things, may be influenced by genetics, nutritional problems, and metabolic imbalances. Psychosomatic, sociological, and situational relationships, job problems, stress - all may make an individual particularly susceptible to reversal. But even someone who has no "built-in" tendency toward reversal can become reversed by the stresses of his life, by a relationship that is unsatisfactory, by his work - and/or by the people with whom he associates. A person who exists close to the line that separates psychological reversal from normal allineated, can slip easily into reversal if he speaks to someone who is massively reversed, or even who is reversed only toward the subject on which they converse."

Personal Power and Psychological Reversal

Developing and increasing your personal power can be a vital element in expanding and raising your psychological well-being -- provided it's "power in a positive direction." Hitler had great personal power, but it was negative and destructive power. Hitler was about as psychologically reversed as possible.

"To feel that we are worthwhile individuals, to know that we exist, we have to express our power - feel that we are in control. This imperative to express our power and experience control is central to human behavior. Every human does something to express his or her power in the world. This power can be expressed creatively or destructively.

Humans first attempt to express their power creatively. If such attempts fail repeatedly, they experience themselves as powerless. They may feel helpless and hopeless, and become depressed. What they experience is that they cannot make a positive difference in their own lives or in the world. A cognitive breakdown occurs between their actions and the results they produce. Mentally and intellectually they cease to understand the connections between their behavior and the consequences of their behavior. Then they express their power destructively.

This phenomenon is at the root of practically all individual and societal problems.

Understanding this phenomenon and its implications leads to the solution of practically all individual and societal problems."

The above passage expresses the transition from psychological alignment to psychological reversal.

Power can be expressed destructively against others and the outside world, or against the self. Negative programs in the brain go hand-in-hand with the use of destructive power against the self. This destructive power may originate from outside the self, when wielded by external agencies - or from within the self, when the self uses its own power against itself. In any case, all negative programs require the complicity of the self to be instilled and maintained.

Every negative program in the brain involves the self applying destructive power against the self. This realization is empowering to the self - what the self can do it can undo!

As the self shifts toward greater psychological alignment, it increases its ability to remove or override its negative programs.

As you expand and raise your psychological well-being, you'll control your life to a greater extent. This sense of control - particularly when it's reality-based - goes along with many benefits. Generally, people with greater control over their lives are healthier, wealthier, happier, more enthusiastic and optimistic, have more fun, enjoy greater fulfillment, satisfaction, personal power and freedom, and live long lives.

As people move away from psychological alignment toward psychological reversal, they experience less control over their lives. They tend to be less healthy, poorer, more pessimistic and depressed, have less fun, suffer boredom and frustration, feel helpless, hopeless, impotent, and trapped, and die young or commit suicide. Many people, instead of taking constructive steps to expand and raise their comfort zones, seek fake external substitutes, hoping that these will increase their diminishing sense of control; mindless entertainment that serves only to distract, nicotine and alcohol, other drugs, and institutions they hope will save them.

Prisons We Live In

You can think of psychological reversal as a prison you live in - a partially self-created prison. It consists of the collection of "musts" and "must nots" and "can'ts" and unreal beliefs and all the other negative programs you've accumulated during your lifetime. The analogy of the "broken-in" horse may further clarify some of the effects of psychological reversal.

Once a horse has been broken it timidly accepts being saddled and bridled. The saddle is placed on the horse's back and held in place by a strong strap around the horse's body. Attached to the saddle are stirrups for the rider's feet. The rider's boots may have spurs used to inflict pain on the horse in order to make it run faster. The rider may also use a horsewhip. Around the head of the horse a bridle is strapped. Part of the bridle is a metal bit that passes horizontally through the horse's mouth. The reins are attached to the ends of the bit and are used to steer the horse and make it slow down and stop. Pain can be inflicted on the horse by yanking the reins or pulling on them with a seesaw motion. The above paraphernalia are used to make it easy for a rider to control his or her horse - difficult for the horse to disobey its rider.

Now consider another analogy. The leg of a baby elephant is tied with a rope to a wooden post planted in the ground. The rope confines the baby elephant to an area determined by the length of the rope -- a "prison.". Initially the baby elephant tries to break the rope, but the rope is too strong. The baby elephant "learns" that it can't break the rope - it has to stay in its "prison." When the elephant grows up into a ten-ton colossus, it could easily break the same rope. But because it "learned" that it couldn't break the rope when it was a baby, it believes that it still can't break the rope, so it doesn't even try. So the largest elephant can be confined by the puniest little rope. In a sense, the elephant's mind was broken by the rope when it was a baby, limiting it to a "small Prison."

Obedience and Psychological Reversal

Obedience is one of the greatest obstacles to expanding and raising your psychological well-being - obedience to others, obedience to your own beliefs about your limitations.

However, disobedience may be punished. The horse that fights tooth and hoof to prevent you from putting on bridle and saddle, may be sold as horse meat. The child who disobeys his or her parents may be spanked. The student who disobeys his or her teachers may be expelled. Citizens who disobey government bureaucrats may be fined, jailed, executed, etc.

Disobedience has to be creative. Disobedience essentially means thinking for yourself and deciding for yourself what to do and what not to do. When you follow the how-to instructions of a car-repair manual, you do so out of personal choice and conscious judgment, rather than blind obedience.

The elephant was conditioned or brainwashed to believe that it couldn't break a puny little rope. Humans are brainwashed to believe they must obey destructive politicians, lawyers, and bureaucrats. Some humans are brainwashed and become like sheep who need a herder to look after them, teach them, tell them what to do, and even feed them.

If you make a habit of testing the outer walls of your "psychological prison" - William Blake called them "mind forged manacles" - you may discover that they're pretty flimsy...

A skill that would serve you well is to question limiting concepts - which when formed in one context of life may not hold true in another context, such as the puny rope and the grown elephant. To prevent yourself from being unnecessarily limited by your concepts, it's important that you question them.

If you habitually test the outer limits of your "psychological prison," you'll continue to grow out of it.

Psychological Alignment and Health

In their book Remarkable Recovery: What Extraordinary Healings Tell Us about Getting Well and Staying Well, Caryle Hirschberg and Marc Ian Barasch use the term "congruence" to describe people who had experienced "miracle recoveries" from illnesses diagnosed as "terminal." They write: "... [T]hese people, in the midst of crisis, had discovered a way to be deeply true to themselves, manifesting a set of behaviors growing from the roots of their being."

Let me suggest that "congruence" is a synonym for psychological alignment and may play a major role in what is usually called "spontaneous remission."

Hirschberg and Barasch start Chapter One of their book with, "There are no medical journals devoted to the study of remarkable recovery." The question comes to mind: "To what extent are some orthodox physicians psychologically reversed in the area of health?"

In his book Spontaneous Healing: How to Discover and Enhance Your Body's Natural Ability to Maintain and Heal Itself, Andrew Weil, M.D. writes, "Acceptance of illness is often part of a larger acceptance of self that represents a significant mental shift, a shift that can initiate transformation of personality and with it the healing of disease." [emphasis added]

Note that Sarno's Mindbody (TMS) Theory suggests that a kind of "biological equivalent of psychological reversal" may be built into your brain and body.

The Origins of Psychological Reversal

Dr. Callahan writes: "Any form of psychological reversal appears to be rooted in a deep rejection of self on the part of the individual. Reversed people do not believe they deserve to succeed. They consider themselves unworthy of good things and deserving of failure and unhappiness. Dr. Albert Ellis dubbed this syndrome the "worthless piece of shit" approach to life. A person suffering from this condition considers himself so valueless that he deserves no happiness or success in life.

I have found that this condition can exist in many degrees. One person may feel very positive and deserving in many areas of his life and worthless in only one specific field. Another individual may be suffering from a negative image of himself in every area of his life. The more extensive the psychological reversal, the more difficult it is to treat and, generally, the more often it needs to be dealt with."

See also Addicted to Unhappiness and Negative Love Syndrome.

I [Frederick Mann] use the term "psychological reversal" to include all the negative programs in the brain and body. Anything that impacts you negatively can cause a degree of psychological reversal. Your own responses to events or external influences can cause psychological reversal. See also The 4-Step Anger Cure and Sarno's Mindbody (TMS) Theory.


In his book Mind Traps: Change Your Mind Change Your Life, Tom Rusk identifies self-doubt as the root of all evil:

"The effects of self-doubt go far deeper than an inability to accept one's talents and attributes. Self-doubt is a mental abscess which can penetrate to the very essence of your being. Like a slow-growing but highly adaptable fungus, self-doubt is a creeping rot which eats away at your sense of worth. It can be so insidious you may be unaware of its damaging effect on your life. And self-doubt is extremely durable; it is resistant to all but the most sophisticated and determined efforts at eradicating it.

Introduced by painful experiences in childhood, self-doubt weaves itself into the fabric of your identity. There, disguised as the truth, utilizing the self-defeating attitudes (Mind Traps) it generates, self-doubt asserts its poisonous influence over every aspect of life, from work to relationships. Self-doubts and Mind Traps are hardy enough to withstand overwhelming conflicting evidence. They are even resistant to good common sense - no matter how much some people may love and respect you, you may still doubt yourself. And you may find yourself sabotaging your own welfare."

Recall Dr. Callahan's observation that psychological reversal appears to be rooted in a deep rejection of the self. Self-doubt is a particularly vitriolic aspect of self-rejection. You may need to tackle the problem of self-doubt when eliminating psychological reversal in yourself.

Psychological Reversal and Immortality

[Note: Mark Lindsay collaborated on writing the rest of this section.]

Venturist Monthly News (published by The Society for Venturism, 7895 E. Acoma Drive #110, Scottsdale, AZ 85260), issue #56, August 1993 contains a letter from Jim Ogle:

"On page 44 [of Introduction to Venturism] I found, to my own shock and dismay, your own recognition of the fundamental problem: "The problem is, they aren't that interested in extending their lives. It is perhaps the greatest challenge we face, in the whole immortalist movement. Somehow we have to convince people that... they are worthwhile, in a fundamental way...

"What you are saying is that people don't like themselves. They even hate themselves. With shock and dismay I admit it to myself. I dare to presume that it is generally, almost universally true. People hate themselves. They couldn't stand to live without the hope of death."

I've often wondered why most people, when presented with the idea of biological or physical immortality, the idea of living forever, reject it out of hand. Jim Ogle may have put his finger on it: self-hatred. Most people hate themselves, so the prospect of living forever is unbearable. Could self-hatred be the most fundamental human problem?

Freud said that humans seem to suffer from a death-wish he called "thanatos." Maybe self-hatred and death-wish are really the same thing.

Jung classified part of the human personality as the "shadow" -- that part of your self, which is bad or evil. Because you can't confront it you deny or suppress it and project it onto others. Jung would say that the person who goes around complaining about how unreliable everybody is, is himself unreliable -- but denies or suppresses his own unreliability and projects it onto others. Maybe all our selves contain "shadows" of self-hatred.

Of course, self-hatred is just another term for psychological reversal.

Psychological Alignment involves identifying all the major factors contributing to self-hatred or psychological reversal, and correcting and improving yourself, your thinking, and your behavior in these areas. Another way to put it is that you identify all the major areas of human and personal failure programs and that you replace your failure programs with success programs.

Major Factors of Psychological Reversal

There are some human failure programs which are so pervasive that just about every human being suffers from them to some degree. These failure programs could be referred to as "basic human problems."

You can begin to shift yourself toward greater psychological alignment by becoming aware of these pervasive problems and identifying the extent to which your behavior and mental functioning reflect these problems.

- Negativity. To what extent do you allow yourself to become submerged in a negative state of mind? How clearly do you think when you are in a negative mental state? How are your decisions influenced by your negativity? Overall, how productive and effective are the actions which you produce when you indulge in negativity?

Most of what we call "evil" is the result of negativity, stupidity, and ignorance.

By contrast, take note of how well things seem to go when you refuse to allow yourself to slip into a negative state of mind. This involves more than just simple positive thinking. It involves observing yourself and digging in your heels when you see yourself sliding down into a negative state.

Here is an actual technique you could use to help combat negativity in yourself. Make a sincere effort to observe yourself for a while. Begin writing down descriptions of your own negativities: Do you automatically become infuriated whenever another driver cuts you off on the road? Do you habitually feel sorry for yourself whenever things do not turn out the way you wanted them to? Do you catch yourself constantly saying negative things about other people? Do you believe the world is a bad place? Do you feel helpless whenever you hear the latest news about government oppression? Next, take a look at what you've written. You may find that your negativities, which when you were indulging in them seemed quite rational and justified, now appear to be exaggerated and out of proportion.

- Pessimism or lack of optimism. This ties in with the problem of negativity. A pessimistic outlook tends to keep us permanently submerged in negativity. We tend to feel helpless; we feel like victims of circumstance.

On the other hand, when we allow ourselves to maintain a state of optimism, we soon notice that things automatically seem to go our way. The results we produce are much more productive, we feel more powerful and we are much healthier.

Fortunately, individuals can learn how to be more optimistic. I recommend reading and applying the techniques contained in Martin Seligman's important book, Learned Optimism.

- Assuming victim status. One of the worst things you could do is label yourself as a victim. Victims see themselves as helpless, at the effect or mercy of circumstances; they have little personal power; they view the world with fear; they expect bad things to happen to them, and consequently may even unconsciously set things up so that bad things will happen to them; etc.

This attitude of passivity and the notion of being a victim of circumstance has recently become quite pervasive and has even manifested itself on bumper stickers of cars and T-shirts through the phrase: SHIT HAPPENS. What this phrase implies is that not only do most things happen to me (in which case I am at the mercy of external factors and circumstances), but also that much of what I encounter is shit.

In The Path of Least Resistance, Robert Fritz distinguishes between what he calls the "reactive-responsive orientation" and the "creative orientation." People who operate from the "reactive-responsive orientation" behave as if they are at the mercy of circumstances; in other words, they do not have the power, the circumstances do. But those in the "creative orientation" operate independently of the circumstances. To learn how to shift from the "reactive-responsive orientation" to the "creative orientation," I highly recommend studying Fritz's book. See also Organize Your Life to Create Structural Tension so the Path of Least Resistance Leads You Where You Want to Go.

- Lack of or low level of personal power. This is clearly one of the most pervasive basic human problems. As a whole the human race is currently operating at a very low level of personal power. This was also apparently the case two-thousand-five-hundred years ago when Lao Tzu wrote the Tao Te Ching. One of Lao Tzu's translators, R.L. Wing, writes in The Tao of Power:

"Lao Tzu believed that when people do not have a sense of power they become resentful and uncooperative. Individuals who do not feel personal power feel fear. They fear the unknown because they do not identify with the world outside of themselves; thus their psychic integration is severely damaged and they are a danger to their society. Tyrants do not feel power, they feel frustration and impotency. They wield force, but it is a form of aggression, not authority. On closer inspection, it becomes apparent that individuals who dominate others are, in fact enslaved by insecurity and are slowly and mysteriously hurt by their own actions. Lao Tzu attributed most of the world's ills to the fact that people do not feel powerful and independent."

There are literally hundreds of things you can do to increase your personal power. For example, you can learn public speaking, improve your memory, improve your thinking skills, learn to drive a truck, increase your reading speed, rid yourself of phobias and addictions, exercise regularly, eat healthier food, and on and on. It is also important to realize how much personal power you already have. Increasing your personal power is a lifelong project. The most general approach to increasing personal power is to continuously evaluate your level of personal power and identify ways of increasing it. You can apply the One-Small-Step Booster to your own self-development and for increasing personal power.

- Tendency to become swamped in pettiness and trivialities. One of the quickest ways to descend into a state of negativity is to get caught up in pettiness and trivialities. Many of us waste so much of our time on this pettiness and negativity.

- Self-Rejection. Consider the possibility that self-rejection or self-hatred may be the most fundamental of all human problems. A simple litmus test or measure of self-hatred is to observe your reaction to the prospect of extending your life indefinitely; ask yourself how you feel about the idea of living forever. If you find yourself rejecting the idea out of hand, could it be that at some level you suffer from self-hatred?

Self-affirmation, the opposite of self-rejection, is connected to a basic attitude of self-acceptance. Nathaniel Branden, the father of self-esteem psychology, says in The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem:

"An attitude of basic self-acceptance is what an effective psychotherapist strives to awaken in a person of even the lowest self-esteem. This attitude can inspire an individual to face whatever he or she most needs to encounter within without collapsing into self-hatred, repudiating the value of his or her person, or relinquishing the will to live. It entails the declaration: 'I choose to value myself, to treat myself with respect, to stand up for my right to exist.' This primary act of self-affirmation is the base on which self-esteem develops.

"It can lie sleeping and then suddenly awake. It can fight for our life, even when we are filled with despair. When we are on the brink of suicide, it can make us pick up the telephone and call for help. From the depths of anxiety or depression, it can lead us to the office of a psychotherapist. After we have endured years of abuse and humiliation, it can fling us into shouting 'No!' When all we want to do is lie down and die, it can impel us to keep moving. It is the voice of the life force. It is 'selfishness,' in the noblest sense of that word." [emphasis added]

- Defeatism. An important yet little recognized fundamental human problem is defeatism. At some point in their maturation process, most individuals come to accept a kind of defeatism within themselves. This defeatism is not present in most children; somewhere along the road from childhood to adulthood, individuals become "defeated" -- life loses its freshness and potentiality and becomes an uphill battle, a long drawn out defeat, with very little chance of "winning." A kind of dullness seems to begin to envelop most of us when we become adults, and continues toenclose us like a spider's silk encloses a fly caught in its web.

- Immaturities. I chose to label this section as "immaturities" rather than "immaturity" in order to emphasize the point that any given individual may be mature in some areas of development and immature in others. A good example is the filmmaker Woody Allen. He is a highly talented artist and filmmaker. He is also funny and perceptive and his films reflect these qualities. Yet in another area of his life Woody Allen has demonstrated that he is severely immature (I am referring to his affair with his stepdaughter). One only need read any book on famous scandals to see how many highly "successful" people have demonstrated their immaturities. Tiger Woods and Charlie Sheen seem like great examples!

You may wish to ask some people who know you for help in identifying any immaturities you may have.

- Low Self-Esteem. Nathaniel Branden, father of self-esteem psychology and author of numerous books on the subject would acknowledge that low self-esteem is a fundamental human problem. The greatest fundamental human problem may be death. But even in the absence of the ominous occurrence of biological cessation, self-esteem is vitally important to the function of a "living being." Self-esteem is a kind of foundation which supports all other self-improvement efforts. And someone who suffers from low self-esteem probably also suffers from self-hatred to some degree or other.

Here is an interesting way to think about the problem of low self-esteem and self-development. Suppose a team of scientists creates a device which enables people to extend their lives indefinitely. The problem of poor self-esteem would still remain the predominant issue in determining the quality of life and is vital for continued physical and intellectual development whether a person lives for fifty years or fifty million years. If poor programming remains in place it will only become more deeply entrenched with the progression of time. For example, imagine that an out-of-shape, unproductive, narrow-minded, couch potato who spends his days eating corn chips and watching game shows is given immortality. Without changing this destructive self-defiling programming, fifty years may be more than an ample lifetime for this individual.

Yes, biological death must be conquered. But that is not enough. Death in all forms must be eliminated, including what Gerry Spence calls "the breathing dead" (How to Argue and Win Every Time). It is absolutely essential that an indefinitely extended life be one of indefinite self-development.

- Poor Self-Image. The self-image is a pivotal concept in the psychological alignment model. A healthy individual is one who continues to move forward with his or her life; this is a person who sees him- or herself as someone whose personal freedom and power continue to grow.

The problem of self-hatred is relevant here. How healthy is your self-image if at some level you hate yourself? Elsewhere in this report I've proposed a simple litmus test for self-hatred: observe your reaction to the prospect of extending your life indefinitely; ask yourself how you feel about the idea of living forever. If you find yourself rejecting the idea out of hand, it could be that at some level you suffer from self-hatred.

The self-image is essentially a tool for self-actualization (and hence psychological alignment). What do you see yourself emerging into? What would you transform yourself into? It is up to you to consciously create your own self-image; I suggest using the psychological alignment model as a basic framework.

- Addiction. Addiction is incompatible with psychological alignment. Many addictions involve doing things which are detrimental to physical health. In addition, when you allow yourself to become addicted, you give up some of your power and control. When you are addicted, the addiction has control over you.

Dr. Callahan believes that the cause of almost all cases of addiction, regardless of the object of addition, is anxiety. Addicts claim that they indulge in their addiction in order to rid themselves of their anxiety, but that is not what actually happens. The object of addiction, or tranquilizer, simply masks the anxiety, it does not get rid of it. In order to eliminate the anxiety, you need to address the problem at the most fundamental level which is a perturbation in what Dr. Callahan calls the "thought field." Many psychological problems can be eliminated very rapidly (for example, most phobias can be cured in a matter of minutes and the result is permanent) by using techniques which clear the perturbation in the thought field, the most basic fundamental cause of these problems.

- Bad Diet and Lack of Exercise. In Ecce Homo, Nietzsche explains that the main premise of his Zarathustra character and its message of total affirmation is great physical health. In other words, in order to move towards self-actualization, to further our self-development, it is essential that we maintain a high level of physical health.

One of the most powerful health-boosting steps you can take may be to avoid eating cooked foods as much as possible and begin eating raw food instead. You at least may want to increase the ratio of raw food to cooked food you eat. (Nevertheless, there are a few foods -- like tomatoes, mushrooms, and broccoli -- that may be healthier cooked than raw.) Many books have been written about the superior benefits of eating raw food rather than cooked food. I suggest starting with the following books:

You may also want to do a Google search for:
foods better cooked than raw.

When people switch from cooked to raw food, they typically give up processed foods, including sugar and salt. Processed foods tend to contain unhealthy additives. It's possible that when people switch to raw food, the greatest benefits come from dropping substances like refined sugar from their diets. Cooked food may be less unhealthy than sugar, salt, and other additives.

- Toxins. The problem of toxins is critical to the issue of psychological reversal. Dr. Callahan has demonstrated that coming into contact with toxins can literally shift someone in and out of psychological reversal. Toxins can come in all shapes and sizes. The following have been found to be toxic to various individuals: laundry detergent with heavy fragrance, clothing softeners, wheat, nuts, dairy products, pink tinted eyeglasses, herbs, cotton (in some cases), underarm deodorant, shampoo, pollution, dyes and preservative chemicals on new clothing, hair spray, cleaning solvents, etc.

The presence of toxins can make it difficult to get someone out of psychological reversal. And provided someone is reversed in a certain area, they will not be able to improve in that area. For example, if you have a bad cold and are reversed when it comes to being healthy, the cold won't go away. You need to correct the reversal in order for the body to mend itself.

A major source of toxins is cooked food. You can significantly (and sometimes profoundly) reduce your toxic load by switching, as far as possible, from eating cooked food to raw food.

In addition to reducing the percentage of of cooked food you eat, you may also want to look for less toxic alternatives to various household items and personal toiletries. You may also want to pay attention to air quality and start using air filtering systems.

You can begin to see how important the issue of toxins is to psychological alignment. If you are reversed in any given area (such as your career, your relationships, or making money), you will not be able to make any significant improvements. And what if the only thing holding you back is the presence of some toxin which is keeping you reversed in that area?

- Gullibility. Consider what would have happened if, from the start of his political career, nobody believed a word Hitler said; everyone simply laughed and turned their backs whenever Hitler said anything political. What power would he have had? How many victims would have died because of his words?

Practically all humans are gullible to an extreme degree in certain areas. Why? As children, if we didn't believe our parents, they punished us emotionally and even physically. As students, if we didn't believe our "teachers," they punished us in all kinds of ways. As a churchgoer, if we don't believe the preacher, we risk "going to Hell." As a worker, if we don't believe the boss, we may well get fired.

Pretty well everyone in society is subjected to enormous peer pressure to conform. If you don't share the beliefs of those around you, you're considered crazy. There are some areas of life where practically everything the average person believes is false. The solution is to question everything.

- The Triune Brain. Although we often refer to our brains as a single, solid unit, it is clear that this is not an accurate description. Rather, our brains consist of a conglomerate of various sub-brains and sections, all interconnected. Dr. Paul D. MacLean, a prominent brain researcher, has developed a model of brain structure which he calls the "triune brain." In other words, humans have not one brain but three. (Actually, even this is an oversimplification; but this model has the advantage of displaying our evolutionary heritage.) MacLean states that the human brain "amounts to three interconnected biological computers," with each biocomputer having "its own special intelligence, its own subjectivity, its own sense of time and space, its own memory, motor, and other functions." Each of the three brains corresponds to a major evolutionary development and are categorized as follows: the reptilian brain, the old mammalian brain, and the new mammalian brain. MacLean illustrates this point facetiously by pointing out that when a psychiatrist asks his patient to lie down on the couch, he is asking him to stretch alongside a horse and a crocodile.

According to the triune model of the brain, evolution has simply added new sub-brains to preexisting ones like a man who keeps building additional structures onto an old house. But, to continue with the analogy, with each new addition to the house the physical structure of the older components were altered or modified to some extent. In other words, the reptile brain in humans is not exactly the same as the brain of a lizard. That is not to say we haven't retained any reptilian functions in our brains; we most certainly have. MacLean has shown that our reptile brains play a major role in our aggressive behavior, territoriality, and our ritual and social hierarchies.

The reason the triune model of the brain is relevant to the discussion of psychological alignment is this: personal growth and evolution is largely a matter of exerting more control over our built-in reflexes. Moving more toward greater psychological alignment involves taking steps to gain more control over the "programs" of our lower and more primitive brains. These programs were installed in our brains by evolution and enabled our ancestors to survive. However, many of these old programs have become "failure programs" in modern humans. Take fear for example. This was an evolutionary-sound program at one time. Although it is still very useful today, it can also be a "failure program," as when you allow yourself to be held back from expanding in new directions because of fear.

Deep within the psyche of practically every human there resides a pernicious wimp. Your wimp is like gravity. It is invisible. It is powerful. It pervades your life. It pulls you down. It affects your every thought, your every action... It usurps your power. The wimp within you makes it possible for people to manipulate you...

For instructions on how to overcome your wimp, see Hyperaccelerate Yourself!

If you believe in total obedience to something outside yourself (an external "authority"), your wimp may have total control over your life. Your wimp may make you a true believer, a somewhat helpless apathetic, or a compulsive rebel. These three types compare to three of the life-orientations identified by Dr. Eric Byrne in Transactional Analysis: "I'm not OK - you're OK" (true believer); "I'm not OK - you're not OK" (helpless apathetic); and "I'm OK - you're not OK" (compulsive rebel). As you become more conscious and psychologically aligned, you move toward "I'm OK - you're OK."

- Poor Thinking Skills. Thought leads to action, which produces results. Thought is most fundamental. It follows that if we want to improve the results we produce in life, we have to improve our thinking.

One of the most basic human problems is poor thinking. If you review any list of human problems, you find that practically all of them involve thinking. Social, political, and economic systems are consequences of the quality of thinking. If there is to be improvement in these areas it has to start with improving the individual quality of thinking. You have to start with yourself.

Where to Start

The sad fact is that most of us, including myself, still have a long way to go to reach our ideal or achieve our potential. Looking at all the human problems I've outlined, it may seem an overwhelming or impossible task to elevate yourself above all these failure programs. A way to overcome overwhelm is to apply the One-Small-Step Booster.

Do an search for books by Richard W. Wetherill. Also do a Google search for the same name.

Wetherill's Right-Action Ethic: Right thinking causes right action which gets right results: always think, say and do what is right; refuse to think, say or do what is wrong.

Wetherill, Richard W.: Dictionary of Typical Command Phrases (Alpha Publishing, Royersford, PA; (800) 992-9124; 1992). "People think their way into trouble; therefore, they can think their way out." An indispensable manual for improving your thinking skills. A comprehensive dictionary of "command phrases" that trap people in wrong thinking that produces wrong results.

Free PDF downloads of above and other Wetherill books are available from The Alpha Publishing House.

Wetherill and his personnel made a concerted effort to apply the Right-Action Ethic throughout their company. As a result, over a period of two decades, annual sales increased from around $1 million to over $70 million!

There may be one thing that holds you back more than anything else. This could be something, that if you focus on it and overcome it, will yield you the best return on your investment of time and effort. If there is such a thing in your life, it could be a Leverage Point and a good place to start.

Idenics clients start off by making a list of "unwanted conditions" in their lives. For some people, this could be the best way to identify the best thing to start with.

[This section has been reproduced from Daniel M. Wegner's website. Emphases added. The links in this section can be used to download PDF files with details of the research.]

Mental Control and Ironic Processes

by Daniel M. Wegner
Professor, Department of Psychology, Harvard University

How do people control their own minds? The simple strategy of directing attention can often be helpful, as people can stop thoughts, concentrate, improve their moods, relax, fall asleep, and otherwise control their mental states just by trying to direct their thoughts. These strategies of mental control can sometimes backfire, however, producing not only the failure of control but the very mental states we are trying to avoid. The theory of ironic processes of mental control (Wegner, 1994) holds that any intentional control of the mind introduces an operating process that directs conscious attention--focusing our minds on positive thoughts, for example, if we are hoping to improve our mood. This process is accompanied, however, by an ironic monitoring process that looks for the failure of our intention. Such monitoring can, when we are stressed or under mental load, actually promote the unwanted mental state--for example, making us sad when we want to be happy. Ironic processes were first discovered in the study of thought suppression, where unwanted thoughts can return merely because we try not to think about them. But ironic processes seem to underly a variety of unwanted mental states, from obsession and depression to anxiety and insomnia, and can produce unwanted actions in sports and performance settings as well.

The Seed of Our Undoing

by Daniel M. Wegner
Professor, Department of Psychology, Harvard University

According to Aristotle, the classic Greek tragedies tell stories of good people whose nature contains the seed of their own undoing. The research that my colleagues, students, and I have been conducting on mental control reveals the outline of just such a seed in the psychological processes that operate when people try to control their own minds. This seed is not quite tragic, as it does not always lead to wholesale undoing. However, it is certainly ironic -- and we have been using the term "ironic process" to describe it.

The Irony of Not Thinking

The possibility that there might be an ironic process in mental control is easy to grasp in the case of thought suppression. A person who is asked to stop thinking about a white bear, for example, will typically think about it repeatedly as a result. In the first studies of this phenomenon (conducted with David Schneider, Sam Carter, and Teri White), we used stream-of-consciousness reports during suppression to measure this recurrence, but this suppression-induced preoccupation has now been found with less conspicuous methods. People who are trying not to think of an emotional thought such as sex, for example, show an increase in electrodermal response-as much as they do when they are specifically trying to focus on that thought. Under some conditions, suppression yields even more intense levels of preoccupation with a thought than does concentration.

People trying not to think about a target thought show such hyperaccessibility -- the tendency for the thought to come to mind more readily even than a thought that is the focus of intentional concentration--when they are put under an additional mental load or stress. In several studies using the Stroop color-word paradigm (conducted with Ralph Erber and Sophia Zanakos), for example, we have found that trying not to think about a target word under conditions of mental load makes people unusually slow at identifying the color in which the word is presented. The word jumps into mind before the color and interferes with naming it. By this measure, unwanted thoughts are found to be more accessible than other comparison thoughts. And the ironic effect announces itself with a reversal of this finding under load for concentration: On average, any thought at all is more accessible than the concentration target.

Both of these observations can be explained by an ironic automatic process in the mind. The attempt to suppress a thought seems to conjure up an ironic psychological process that then works against the very intention that set it in motion. The suppressed thought is brought to mind in sporadic intrusions because of this sensitivity. The attempt to concentrate on a thought, in turn, seems to introduce an ironic psychological process that works against the intention to concentrate, and that therefore enhances the accessibility of everything other than the concentration target.

Why might such ironic processes occur? One way of accounting for these findings is to suggest that ironic processes are part of the machinery of mental control. It may be that in any attempt to control our minds, two processes are instituted -- an operating process that works quite consciously and effortfully to carry out our desire, and an ironic process that works unconsciously and less effortfully to check on whether the operating process is failing and needs renewal.

In the case of thought suppression, for instance, the operating process involves the conscious and labored search for distracters -- as we try to fasten our minds on anything other than the unwanted thought-whereas the ironic process is an automatic search for the unwanted thought itself. The ironic process is a monitor of sorts, a checker that determines whether the operating process is needed, but that also has a tendency to influence the accessibility of conscious mental contents. It ironically enhances the sensitivity of the mind to the very thought that is being suppressed.

Varieties of Irony

An ironic process theory can explain far more than the paradox of thought suppression -- indeed, something like this might vex most everything we try to do with our minds. If the ironic process is inherent in the control system whereby we secure whatever mental control we do enjoy, then it ought to be evident across many domains in which we do have some success in controlling our minds. However, because the operating process requires conscious effort and mental resources, it can be undermined by distraction and evidence of ironic processes will then arise. When people undertake to control their minds while they are burdened by mental loads -- such as distracters, stress, or time pressure -- the result should often be the opposite of what they intend.

Studies in our laboratory have uncovered evidence of ironic effects in several domains. Ironic mood effects occur, for example, when people attempt to control their moods while they are under mental load. Individuals following instructions to try to make themselves happy become sad, whereas those trying to make themselves sad actually experience buoyed mood. Ironic effects also surface in the self-control of anxiety. People trying to relax under load show psychophysiological indications of anxiousness, whereas those not trying to relax show fewer such indications. And ironic effects also occur in the control of sleep. People who are encouraged to "fall asleep as quickly as you can" as they listen to raucous, distracting music stay awake longer than those who are not given such encouragement. Ironic effects also accrue in the control of movement, arising when people try to keep a handheld pendulum from moving in a certain direction, or when they try to keep from overshooting a golf putt. In both cases, an imposition of mental load makes individuals more likely to commit exactly the unwanted action.

Research in other laboratories has revealed further ironic effects. Studies by Neil Macrae, Galen Bodenhausen, Alan Milne, and their colleagues, for instance, have established several remarkable ironic effects in the mental control of stereotyping and prejudice. People who are trying not to stereotype a skinhead as they form an impression of him, for example, show greater stereotyping under mental load. Individuals in this circumstance have been found to avoid even sitting near the skinhead as well. And people under mental load who are specifically trying to forget the stereotypical characteristics of a person (in a directed forgetting study) have been found more likely to recall those characteristics than are people without such load.

Ironic effects observed in yet other laboratories lend further credence to the basic idea. In work by Jeff Greenberg, Tom Pyszczynski, Sheldon Solomon, Jamie Arndt and their colleagues, for example, distraction tasks imposed after people have been asked to reflect for a while on their own death have revealed high levels of accessibility of death-related thoughts. This series of experiments suggests that people who are prompted to think about death turn shortly thereafter to the strategy of suppressing such thoughts even without instruction to do so-and thus suffer ironic returns of the thought. Related findings reported by Leonard Newman, Kimberly Duff, and Roy Baumeister indicate that people under mental load who are forming impressions of a person will project a personality trait onto the target when they are suppressing thoughts of the trait-whether in response to suppression instructions, or spontaneously because they dislike the trait in themselves.

Cultivating the Seed

These studies illustrate how it is that we can, on occasion, cultivate the seed of our own undoing. To begin with, we apparently need good intentions. Like Aristotle's tragic hero, the individual attempting mental control often does so for good cause -- in hopes of achieving high performance, moral ends, or at least mental peace. People often begin on the path toward ironic effects when they try to exercise good intentions -- to behave effectively, to avoid prejudice, to be happy, to relax, to avoid negative thoughts or thoughts of personal shortcomings, or even just to sleep. The simple adoption of a goal is no sin, but this turns out to be the first step toward ironic effects.

The next step in cultivating the seed, as illustrated in this research, is the pursuit of such noble goals in the face of a shortage of mental resources. When there is insufficient time and thought available to achieve the chosen intention, people do not merely fail to produce the mental control they desire. Rather, the ironic process goes beyond "no change" to produce an actual reversal. The opposite happens. These studies indicate, in sum, that ironic effects are precipitated when we try to do more than we can with our minds. Why would we do such a thing? At the extreme, we do this when we are desperate: We will try to achieve a particular sort of mental control even though we are mentally exhausted.

These straits are, of course, highly reminiscent of the circumstances of many people suffering from various forms of psychological disorder. It makes sense that people who are anxious, depressed, traumatized, obsessed, or those with disorders of sleep, eating, movement, or the like, might frequently try to overcome their symptoms-and might also be inclined to attempt such control even under adverse conditions of stress or distraction. Evidence from correlational studies conducted in my laboratory and elsewhere suggests a possible role for ironic processes in several such forms of psychopathology. We know from such correlations that attempts to avoid unwanted symptoms are often highly associated with those symptoms. The most obvious explanation of these associations is that people who experience unwanted mental states attempt to control them. But the more subtle and important possibility, as yet untested in large-scale studies, is that the attempt to control unwanted mental states plays a role in perpetuating them. The experiments showing that mental control attempts can yield laboratory analogs of unwanted mental states provide one basis for this conclusion.

Another line of evidence suggesting a role for ironic processes in the etiology of some disorders comes from studies of what happens when mental control is rescinded. The best examples of such work are the series of experiments by James Pennebaker and colleagues. When people in these studies are encouraged to express their deepest thoughts and feelings in writing, they experience subsequent improvements in psychological and physical health. Expressing oneself in this way involves relinquishing the pursuit of mental control, and so eliminates a key requirement for the production of ironic effects. After all, as suggested in other studies conducted in my lab with Julie Lane and Laura Smart, the motive to keep one's thoughts and personal characteristics secret is strongly linked with mental control. Disclosing these things to others, or even in writing to oneself, is the first step toward abandoning what may be an overweening and futile quest to control one's own thoughts and emotions.

When we relax the desire for the control of our minds, the seeds of our undoing may remain uncultivated, perhaps then to dry up and blow away.

From Psychological Science Agenda, January/February, 1999, 10-11.

There's a "Special Technique to Give up the Need to Control" that's most Effective! Check out Own Your Life and Be the Solution! -- the Power Pause.

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