Learn Thai with Psycho-Cybernetics


This article was originally posted on WomenLearnThai.com.

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Ah, to have the insecurities of a kid again…

When I was fourteen, I moved from the glorious New Zealand to the enormous U.S.

The U.S. was too strange, too big, too shiny new. Worse, I did not assimilate.

My experiences were not the same as my classmates, leaving me the outsider. Dense and awkward became the name of the game. And this, after previously being an avid participant in school activities, keeping fairly decent grades.

Enter a dog-eared copy of Psycho Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz.

It literally changed my life.


Following Maxwell’s advice, I restructured my mindset away from feeling like a not so clever outcast, to being up to the challenges of a new life.

While it did not happen overnight, I did go from feeling that I couldn’t do anything, to believing that perhaps I could, then on to actually doing whatever fit my new mold.

After leaving school, the advice garnered from Psycho Cybernetics gave me the hootspa to work as: a mudlogger, draftsman, geotech, professional photographer, designer, and creative director. All sans official training.

But I never applied what I learned from Psycho-Cybernetics to foreign languages. And I don’t know why. A pity. Because when I started on the long road of learning Thai, it dredged up the negative baggage from before:

  • I’m not good at remembering vocabulary.
  • Perhaps I suffer from short-term memory loss?
  • My long term-memory isn’t too grand either.
  • I’m too shy to speak Thai in public.
  • I mean, what if I can’t find the right words?
  • And I’m having a difficult time staying motivated.
  • So much so, that I’d like to ditch my Thai class. Again.
  • In addition, the Thais speak too fast for me to keep up.
  • Awk! The tones! The tones! Awk! Awk!
  • And (a biggie), I’m not young anymore.
  • Darn. So maybe learning Thai is just TOO HARD!
  • Sigh. I must be a language learning dummy… 🙁

Does this sound familiar to any of you?

Because it sure did to me. Only this time, I knew what to do.


And being older (cough) (cough), this time, I included audio in my search.

Matt Furey and the Psycho-Cybernetics Foundation…

The Internet is awash with Psycho-Cybernetics tips, but several resources stood out: Matt Furey’s Psycho-Cybernetics Foundation, and the Psycho-Cybernetics Audio Book by Maxwell Maltz. There is even a New Psycho-Cybernetics on the market.

One important lesson I learned from Psycho-Cybernetics is that I’m not shy. Ok, I am shy. Painfully shy even. But Psycho-Cybernetics taught me to stop my shyness from getting in the way of getting what I wanted/needed (same, same).

And as I wanted/needed to ask Matt Furey for advice, shy or not, I did.

Matt Furey: The most important psychological discovery of this century is the discovery of the “self image.” Whether we realize it or not, each of us carries about with us a mental blueprint or picture of ourselves. It may be vague and ill-defined to our conscious gaze. In fact, it may not be consciously recognizable at all. But it is there, complete down to the last detail.

This self image becomes a golden key to living a better life because of two important discoveries:

  1. All your actions, feelings, behaviors, even your abilities – are always consistent with this self image. The picture you have of yourself in your own mind determines your lot in life.
  2. The self image can be changed. Numerous case histories have shown that one is never too young nor too old to change his self-image and thereby start to live a new life.

If we feed information and data into our Creative Mechanism to the effect that we ourselves are unworthy, inferior, undeserving, incapable (negative self-image) this data is processed and acted upon as any other data in giving us the “answer” in the form of objective experience.

Visualizing, creative mental picturing, is no more difficult than what you do when you remember some scene out of the past, or worry about the future.

Acting out new action patterns is no more difficult than “deciding,” then following through on tying your shoes in a new and different manner each morning, instead of continuing to tie them in your old “habitual way,” without thought or decision.

Matt Furey
The Psycho-Cybernetics Foundation

Using Psycho-Cybernetics to get over the Thai learning blues…

So basically, Psycho-Cybernetics is a simple concept. You just write over negative thoughts with positive memories, replacing a negative self image with a positive one. Easy.

And while it might sound odd, your unconscious really can’t tell the difference between generated experiences and the actual ones.

So this is what you do…

First: Decide what you want to accomplish…

  • I want to feel confident enough to speak Thai.
  • I want to be able to concentrate on my studies for longer.
  • I want to retain x amount of new vocabulary each week.
  • I want to feel excitement for learning Thai.

Second: Tell yourself that it will happen, that you can do this…

  • I am a positive Thai speaker.
  • I can concentrate on my studies.
  • I do have the ability to learn x number of new words each week.
  • I love the feel-good factor of learning Thai

Third: Create detailed movies to play in your head…

  • You working hard at your Thai studies.
  • You being chuffed at how many new Thai words you acquired this week.
  • You grinning from ear to ear in anticipation of your next Thai class.
  • You speaking fluent Thai, surrounded by adoring Thai guys or gals or the other.

I can already hear the doubters out there. But come on, what have you got to lose? And if you are not too sure if it’ll work for you, then give it one just month. Pick a short month if you have to. Ok? And I will too.

Psycho-Cybernetics resources…

Psycho-Cybernetics Foundation
Psycho-Cybernetics Audio Book
New Psycho-Cybernetics

YouTube: Interview with Dr. Maxwell Maltz (Psycho-Cybernetics) 1/4
YouTube: Interview with Dr. Maxwell Maltz (Psycho-Cybernetics) 2/4
YouTube: Interview with Dr. Maxwell Maltz (Psycho-Cybernetics) 3/4
YouTube: Interview with Dr. Maxwell Maltz (Psycho-Cybernetics) 4/4
YouTube: Maxwell Maltz Clip

10 thoughts on “Learn Thai with Psycho-Cybernetics”

  1. A beer and a whisky are indeed good rewards. But as it is only 9.30am out here, I will pass!

    My Thai class was canceled for today so I’m headed off to record affirmations… wish me luck.

  2. More proof? I just spent more than an hour reading stuff on your pages, occasionally veering off to Hugh Leong’s and Rikker’s sites. The item on casual and formal words was an eye-opener. I learned a lot from that. Yep, good Thai work today. Think I’ll reward myself with a beer and whisky.

  3. Rick, visualising really does work so I’m willing to give it a shot too. I just need to get my desk cleared away before buckling down to the recordings. I have the background sounds, I have most of the affirmations, I just need to make the time.

    Good going on the regular schedule! And yes, a coming visit to BKK will start the nudging naturally 🙂

    There is a decent Thai program you can sign up for, to receive a sentence a day – thaiflashcards.com – the plus is that it will remind you to take some time for Thai.

  4. Tail-end Rick here,

    This reminds me of what happened to me years ago when I was sucking badly at a major job. Short version: I was miserable, I knew my short-comings, I fixed them. I got much better. I became quite successful. I do remember visualizing how much better workplace and hence, life, would be if I could improve my skills. No more fears before entering the office every day, no more needing a drink to get myself out of apartment, etc. etc. The PV was born of a desperation. Mind you, I’d always been a visualizer. I’ll stop right there 😉

    Anyway, Cat, I’ll check out anything you have to offer. I admit I haven’t been here too often lately because your wise tuition reminds me of how lax I’ve been on my Thai lessons. Proof? Since last week I’ve put the headphones on every day and listened to Becker’s Thai Phrases. (I like this particular volume.) Feeling good about that, I decided to see what you’re up to. Besides, it’s 21 days before landing in BKK 🙂

  5. I love this. I was practicing some of this the other day. Sitting in the taxi as I arrive in BKK or carrying on a lengthier conversation with a waitress. I think it works and even if it doesn’t it feels good. Thanks for spelling it out.

  6. You might be on to something there Cat….if I can visually connect the affirmations to something I love while visualizing it could be a win win situation….

  7. Talen, I have not piloted, or jumped out of planes. How’s that? 😀

    For the audio… I thought I’d start out by getting everyone relaxed (stretching), then the affirmations will softly roll through, followed by the visuals (as they are both guy/gal, I’m not sure how to approach those…. yet).

    And falling asleep is ok, isn’t it? I’ve been of the mindset that listening while sleeping still gives you some of the benefits of the affirmations. I often use my iPod to help me sleep, waking up on and off to the sounds.

    As for your racy turns… one could only call them a bonus (unless you totally forget about the affirmations, that is!)

  8. Cat, What haven’t you done? I’ve always been wary of positive thought and mental exercises…I guess it’s the pessimist in me but I am going to give this a try and can;t wait to see what you come up with Cat.

    I can’t promise anything because 1 of 2 things usually happens when I close my eyes and start visualizing a movie type experience….I either fall asleep or the movie takes a decidedly racy turn and I start hearing lots of slap bass…bow chika bow wow

  9. Martyn, I always look forward to what you are going to say, as I can never second guess you 🙂

    I have it in mind to create an audio file just for Thai language learners. It might take me a week or two, but I’m game to give it a shot (please watch this space).

    Becoming a Mudlogger was easy. I just memorized the Shell Guide, then convinced my new employers to be that I had a Geology degree from A&M uni 😉

  10. Psycho-Cybernetics sounds very much like a variation of the positive thought processes used by professional golfers to visualise and successfully administer their next shot. I do like this topic of positive mental thinking as like you I believe that the process if applied over a lengthy period can stick and show big gains.

    Just think about how many positive people are in lofty work positions and have the power over much more brighter and intelligent work colleagues who are perhaps a little shy and lacking in confidence. Applied to language then I’d say it’s worth a try.

    What concerns me is how a bright US school student used Psycho-Cybernetics to turn herself into a mudlogger. What or whom were you thinking of in those afternoon classes. Was you and your mind mud wrestling with one of the cuter looking male classmates or perhaps the teacher.


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