Photoshop Your Self-Image

Published on February 25th, 2011

The "self-image" is the key to human personality and human behavior. Change the self image and you change the personality and the behavior.
— Maxwell Maltz

So you want to achieve that amazing new goal (lose 50 pounds, quit smoking, start that new hobby)? Great! But for many this is where the voices in the head creep in saying things like:

  • I'm not good enough
  • I'm not smart enough
  • I'm too old
  • I'm too young
  • I can't do it (my personal favorite... how would I already know that until I tried?)

These are all symptoms of a 'bad' or 'negative' self-image, which is essentially a collection of how we perceive ourselves. It's essentially how we operate when we are on auto-pilot versus consciously using our will power to brute force our way forward. But as the research indicates, our unconscious beliefs, resources, and self-images are many orders of magnitude more powerful than our conscious mind. So any resolutions to quit smoking will undoubtedly fail or feel like an uphill battle until there is alignment the self-image.

This need not be a arduous process. It can start with creating a very clear image of what the end result would look like and feel like.

Photoshop your way there

Even though I'm a child of the digital age, I'm still absolutely amazed at how easy it is to create digital worlds and fake realities. This next video still blows my mind even though I know and have used many of the techniques demonstrated.

And the very standards by which woman compare themselves to (magazine cover models) are equally manipulatable

But rather than condemn this practice of image manipulation, let's use it as a template for self-image improvement. Sometimes envisioning the end goal all in one step can be daunting (e.g. losing 100+ pounds). However, if we break it down into small chunks (or as in the above video, individual manipulations) it doesn't seem so difficult and is still in the realm of believability. Photoshop your self-image down 10 pounds, using 10 less cigarettes a week, or taking the first incremental step in starting that new hobby. Even making a small step forward will be enough to shift your self-image just enough to open the door of possibilities for the entire change to occur.

And unlike using photoshop on the computer, photoshop in your mind requires very little training. It's just a matter of doing it! 

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About Rick Manelius

Quick Stats: CXO of Atomic Form. Graduated from MIT in '03 (BS) and '09 (PhD). Life hacker and peak performance enthusiast. This blog is my experiment in creative writing, self-expression, and sharing what I've learned along my journey. For more information, read my full bio here or contact me.