JUICE: “Mind Power” – Zilbergeld, Lazarus

3 05 2009

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      At my local town recycling dump, there’s a little shack full of used books which I frequented about two years ago. Always interested in philosophy and psychology, I found this book and figured I would take it home.

      With a lot of reading on my list I practically let this book harvest spiderwebs. The title “Mind Power” seemed a bit weak, frankly. 

      However, I am on a quest to be able to read at 1000 words per minute by 2010, and I needed some ‘eyeball fodder’ to practice my comprehension on. As it turns out, I was intrigued by this book, and slowed things down a bit to drink it in.

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JUICE:

      1) Ultimate / Short-Term Goals with a Mission – The first salient point that hit me in this book was the breakdown it uses with goals. It wasn’t the most in-depth goal-setting program I’d ever seen, but it made some important distinctions. The book detailed the importance of 3 things: Ultimate Goals, a Mission, and Short-Term Goals.

      Ultimate goals are what we want to achieve in the long haul, but its also something deeply important to us. The book goes into detail on how we aught to take time (15 minutes or so) to reflect on what certain goals will imply in our lives, and if we are prepared to make the changes now. This is important, because we obviously must consider how taking on a goal will impact our lives, otherwise taking it on is no more than a wish – we must see how we will adapt our lives to its achievement and align ourselves with it. The authors also recommend that we sleep on our goal ideas, and refine them in the morning, and posibly repeate this process until we feel thatthey are most accurate and appealing.

      The book then goes into “Mission” – the purpose for which you achieve your goals. They explained the importance of having a compelling reason (a compelling “why”) to achieve their highest objectives. This has to do with our values and deepest drives. Only then does the author go into Short-Term Goals – which are the necessary steps to achieving the Ultimate Goal.

      2) Results/Process Imagery – Another poignant detail in this book involves imagery. The important detail here is the difference between Results Imagery and Process Imagery. What stuck out to me was their point that imagining what you will do is worthless unless you know exactly what your aims are. They refer to a famous golfer who always visualizes his perfect shot (how the ball will travel through the air, where / how it will land, how it will behave with the grass upon contact) before imagining himself swinging the club and actually making that shot happen.

      The authors talk about Results Imagery as imagining how you’d feel after your accomplishment. That accomplishment might be a change in your world (IE: making more money) or a change in your character/responses (IE: being more confident speaking in public). The idea of identity is repeatedly brought up here. If we regularly image ourselves in the place we want to be, it will be easier and easier for us to bring about those behaviors in our lives. The fact is, we are always conditioning ourselves. While before we may have conditioned ourselves to fear public speaking, we are now sending a different, more adaptive message. If we change the way we think about ourselves, we are able to enact change much more easily.

      Process Imagery, then, involve visualization of how we will get to our objective. Again this might involve something physical (the individual steps we take to get a project completed at work), or within our character (which involves imagining how we would manifest the qualities we want to cultivate). Once we understand our desired results (and have compelling reasons why we want to get there), Process Imagery will align our minds with how to get there ourselves, and will acclimate us to the behaviors necessary.

      3) Remembering Success – When we imagine a task or activity, we are often simultaneously guaging our own efficacy in regards to that task. If we experience feelings out doubt and fear in the face of certain important objectives, then we will have access to the resources of “doubt” and “fear” when we attempt to move forward with that objective. 

      Remembering pas success involves gaining an empowering perspective on our own efficacy, and bringing joy and power to an activity, instead of doubt and fear. The process involves bringing to mind other challenges (possibly ones that are similar to our current challenges) that we have overcome, or times when we felt powerful and achieved what we desired.

      The book made the important point that when we are involved in process / results imaging, we should infuse a remembrance of past success so that our goals are channelled to the strength of our most efficacious, capable mental states. This gives us reasons to believe that we will achieve our objectives – not in a state of anxiety – but in one of enthusiasm.

      4) Recordings and Visualization – There is a heavy focus in this book on visualization and voice / written recordings. The book goes into quite a lot of detail in terms of what these recordings should be like, what they should include, and how they will affect us (the authors use examples of past clients). Some cool ideas involve:

 

  • How long the recordings should be
  • What content to omit and what content to include in the recordings
  • How long we need to listen to recordings until we can carry out the exercises solo

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OPINION:

      I enjoyed a lot of the content in this book, and I was pleased with how easy it was to read (no jargon or complicated run-on sentences filled with head-spinning science talk… although there’s nothing wrong with that per say).

      I genuinely liked to see the applications of visualization explained in detail, there were many simple distinctions I hadn’t heard before.

      However, though the book aimed to be geared towards the intelligent person trying to better themselves, it seemed to be a bit more geared towards people with near-crippling neurosis – though I’m sure the ideas could still be applied to the person who ISN’T, lets say, deathly afraid of the opposite sex or who ISN’T, lets say, prone fits of anger that involve throwing things and striking their children.

      I also don’t happen to agree with some of the self-talk that is encouraged in this book. The people in the examples justify their actions in terms of “being the best ***** in the office” or “proving ****** that I can ******.” Basically I saw a lot of comparitive, egotistically-referenced goals, and a lot of what I thought to be unhealthy motives.

      In addition, though the book was easy to read and well laid out, the writing was not particularly engaging (which, I will add, doesn’t take TOO much away from the content).

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REVIEW:

Content – 6

Readability – 7

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