A creative self-image is the key to developing that critical attitude for success known as the Winner’s Edge. Individuals behave, not in accordance with reality, but with their perception of reality. How the individual feels about himself or herself is everything, for all that he or she ever does or aspires to do will be predicated on that all important concept that is the self-image.

Most of the beliefs about ourselves have unconsciously been formed from our past experiences, our successes and failures, our humiliations, our triumphs, and the way other people have reacted to us, especially in early childhood. From all these we mentally construct a “self,” or a “videotape of a self.” Once an idea or belief about ourselves goes into this picture, it becomes true as far as we, personally, are concerned. We do not question its validity, but proceed to act upon it just as if it were true.

Each of us, from childhood on, weaves our own intricate web of self-images out of notions, out of comments from our parents, and environmental training from our teachers and friends. First as off handed notions, like flimsy cobwebs, then with practice, they become cables to strengthen or shackle our lives.


Another clue in the search for the illusive self-image is that not all cars or disfigurements bring shame and humiliation. Consider the fact that Moshe Dayan, the dynamic hero of Israel, wears a patch over his eye to cover up the war disfigurement as proudly as one of us might wear the Medal of Honor.

Persons with normal or very acceptable looks should be free from all psychological handicaps. They should be cheerful, happy, self-confident, and free from anxiety and worry. We know only too well this is not true.As we become an even more cosmetically-based society, in search of narcissistic pleasure and indulgence, there is an increasing rush of people who visit the office of a plastic surgeon and demand a facelift to cure a purely imaginary ugliness.


But we make a mistake when we seek it in conformity to external standards, in the approval of other people, or in material things. You area unique gift of creation. And what you do with yourself is almost entirely based upon your imagination of your possibilities.

While self-esteem is a general deep-down, inside-the-skin feeling of worthiness, the self-image is very specific. Each of us, male and female, has developed a self-image concerning every talent, every characteristic, and every performance. Each of us is controlled by the mental pictures we have formed of ourselves. We cannot outgrow these limits we place on ourselves; we can only set new limits within which we must live.


Every living organism has a built-in guidance system to help it achieve its goal, which is, in very general terms, to live. In the more primary forms, the goal to live simply means physical survival for both the individual and the species. The built-in mechanism or instinct in animals is limited to finding food and shelter, avoiding or overcoming enemies, and procreation to ensure the survival of the species. In the human being, the goal to live means much more than mere survival. Humans have certain emotional and spiritual needs, which animals do not have.

We often overlook the fact that human beings have a success instinct much more marvelous and much more complex than that of any animal. Animals cannot select their goals; their goals are preset. Their success mechanism is limited to those inborn, goal images which are called instincts. The success instinct in the human being, however, has something that animals will never possess and this is creative imagination. Thus, the human being of all creatures is more than a creature. He or she is also a creator. The human being is the only creature on the earth that can direct his or her success mechanism by the use of the creative imagination, or imaging ability. Napoleon said, “Imagination rules the world.” Einstein put it more simply: “Imagination is the world.” The way you picture your world, the way you perceive it,is the world in which you live.

The imagination we hold of our self, or our self-image, determines the kind and scope of person we are. It is our “life-controlling mechanism.” Our self-image dwells at the subconscious level of thinking. Although the term “subconscious mind” is used loosely by laymen, it is probably more accurate to think of it not as a mind but rather as a mechanism or an ability of the mind.

Our self-image can be compared to a guidance computer or automatic pilot. Guidance computers are devices which can be programmed to seekan image or target. They are installed in projectiles like the homingtorpedo and the ballistic missile, which are then guided by these highly sophisticated electronic systems that seek the target unerringly, through the use of electronic-data feedback. The human brain operates similarly, but is far more marvelous and complex than any system man could ever invent.

Programmed incompletely, non-specifically, or aimed at a target toofar out of range, the homing torpedo will wander erratically until its propulsion system fails or it self-destructs. So it is with each individual human system in life. “Set a goal or an image and this self-motivated system, constantly monitoring self-talk and environmental feedback about the goal and adjusting the self-image settings in its subconscious creative achievement mechanism, makes every decision necessary to reach the goal.”


During every moment of our lives, we program our self-image to work for us or against us. Since it is only a mechanism, having no judging function, it strives to meet the objectives and goals we set for it regardless of whether they are positive or negative, true or false, right or wrong, safe or dangerous. Its sole function is to follow instructions, implicitly, based upon previous inputs, like a computer reading its tape and responding automatically.

Scientists agree that the human nervous system cannot tell the difference between an actual experience and an experience imagined vividly, emotionally and in detail. This is why attitude determines success. Because attitude is an imagined inclination toward the achievement of a certain event. Therefore, attitude is everything since the human system cannot tell the difference between an actual performer experience and an imagined synthetic experience. Many of your everyday decisions are based upon information about yourself that has been stored as truth, but is just a figment of your own imagination, shaded by your environment.

The Winner’s Edge—as it applies to the self-image—is understanding the tenacity of the time-grown self-image and realizing that it takes days and weeks of constant “Imagineering” and simulation to modify or put new inputs on top of the old programs.

The Winner’s Edge is telling yourself over and over again with words, pictures, concepts, and emotions that you are winning each important personal victory NOW. Winners practice on and off their playing field in life, including in and out of the office and in and out of the home. They create in their imagination or simulate each experience they want.  Most winners in every walk of life, male or female, use the technique of mental simulation every day to modify their own self-image.

Any permanent change in your personality or behavior should first involve a change in your self-image, reinforced by a change in lifestyle. Then your long-range behavior performance will automatically follow. Your behavior, personality, or achievement level is usually consistent with your self-image.#


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