The Best Way to Succeed

Prentice-Hall published a book in 1960, entitled PSYCHO-CYBERNETICS, by Maxwell Maltz, M.D. It was later condensed and appeared in the book section of Reader’s Digest April 1961 issue.

The author, Doctor Maltz, who is a plastic surgeon, points out in this excellent book that people have a built-in success mechanism, a mechanism that will automatically carry us to our goals and the success we seek… if we have enough sense to let it, to keep from standing in our way.

Let me just quote a few sentences by Doctor Maltz:

“Stress has recently become a popular word in our language. We speak of this as the age of stress. Worry, insomnia, stomach ulcers have been accepted as a necessary part of the modern world. Yet I’m convinced that it doesn’t have to be that way. We could relieve ourselves of a vast load of anxiety if we could but recognize the simple truth that our Creator made ample provision for us to live successfully in this or any other age by providing us with a built-in success mechanism.

Our trouble is that we ignore this automatic mechanism and try to solve all our problems by conscious thought or forebrain thinking.”

The Doctor goes on to write: “The forebrain is comparable to the operator of an electronic computer. It is with the forebrain that we think “I”… and feel our sense of identity. It is with the forebrain that we exercise imagination or set goals. We use the forebrain to gather information, make observations, evaluate incoming sense-data, form judgments.

“But the forebrain cannot create. It cannot do the job to be done, any more than the operator of an electronic brain can do its work himself.

“It is the job of the forebrain to pose problems and to identify them – but by its very nature it was never engineered to solve them all. Yet that is precisely what modern man tries to do… solve all his problems by conscious thought.”

Well, you get the idea. The Doctor does a fine job of proving how people needlessly worry themselves vainly trying to solve problems with a part of their mind that wasn’t built to handle the job.

If you have a problem, and who hasn’t, don’t even try to solve it consciously; solve it subconsciously with your built-in success mechanism the way the experts do. As Sir Walter Scott is reported to have said whenever his ideas wouldn’t crystallize, “Never mind, I shall have it at seven o’clock tomorrow morning.”

In short, define your problem consciously.

Think hard about it; turn it upside down and backward in your forebrain, your conscious mind, and then turn it over to your subconscious for solving. Give it to that part of your mind that was specifically designed to solve your problems for you, and it will be solved. It might be at seven o’clock tomorrow morning, a week or a month from now, but you will solve it.

As Bertrand Russell said, “The best plan is to think about it with very great intensity… the greatest intensity of which I am capable of… for a few hours or days, and at the end of that time give orders, so to speak, that the work is to proceed underground. After a while — days, weeks, or months, I return consciously to the topic and find that the work has been done.”

But a word of warning, don’t try to solve more than one problem at a time. If you follow this program, you can quit worrying!


If you try to put more than one problem at a time into a machine, your only result is jamming and confusion. It’s the same with your mind! Take your most important problem, solve it, and then move on to the next. It works like a charm.