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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I Can Make You Confident, by Paul McKenna--Book Review

I Can Make You Confident, The Power to go for Anything You Want! By Paul McKenna.

                                                          Book Review by Ann Marie

I just listened to the hypnosis CD included in Paul McKenna's book I Can Make You Confident, and I feel confidence seeping into my mind, through my ears. I have never been hypnotized, and I don't think I can be, however, the CD does help relax me and I have noticed subtle changes in confidence levels. McKenna's soothing, commanding and sexy voice complements the book very well.

I Can Make You Confident is one of a series of McKenna's self-help books using hypnosis and visualization in order to change or modify one's habits and behaviors for the better.Paul McKenna's other books include: I Can Make You Sleep, I Can Make You Thin, I Can Make You Rich, Quit Smoking Today, Change Your Life in Seven Days, I Can Mend Your Broken Heart. I've read several and listened to a couple of the hypnosis CD's.

The Dr. Oz Show introduced me to Paul McKenna. I'm always fascinated by hypnosis so I watched as McKenna hypnotized several audience members. Naturally, I needed to know if his book would work for me. Could I be hypnotized? Will it make me feel better, as hypnosis subjects report?

I got the book to test it out.

Paul McKenna, PhD...“has famously worked his unique brand of personal transformation with Hollywood movie stars, Olympic gold medalists, rock stars, leading business achievers, and royalty.” according to the dust jacket blurb on the book. Well, if he and his system are good enough for royalty...sign me up!

Promises, promises. Page one:“Just read the book, follow my instructions, and use the CD every day for at least a week and your life will dramatically improve!” I did. I noticed improvements that I characterize as slight, rather than dramatic, however as I said in the beginning, I cannot be hypnotized. My mind wanders while I listen to the CD. I get fidgety. I fantasize. I cough. I try to combine meditation. Are we there, yet? I'm doing this all wrong! Despite incessant internal noise, I think the hypnosis CD is helping in some way that I cannot define. A shift in feeling. A more focused work day. Clearer thinking. Enjoying an increased level of self-trust which has put me in a more purposeful mood during the day. (McKenna describes it as “You will be more comfortable in your own skin than ever before. ) All the results of a simple book and CD? Maybe. I'm willing to take his suggestion and continue listening.

I Can Make You Confident is divided into 4 Sections: 1) Developing the Confidence Habit, 2) Motivate Yourself for Success, 3) Confidence in the Real World, 4) The Confidence Clinic.

Section One prepares the reader to expect success in reaching your full potential through conditioning yourself to become more confident. McKenna's “How This Book Works” paragraph compares his book/CD to personal sessions with him. Nice idea, but I have found that there is no substitute for face-to-face communication between human beings. Books, however, do have the power to significantly change and improve readers' lives, should they commit to the study and application of the book's contents. The simple act of reading a book affects the reader's brain, creating new synapses and strengthening old ones, a very good thing. I love books.

Section Two invites readers to model those who have mastered motivation.

Section Three references McKenna's success seminars.

Section Four addresses frequently asked questions.

McKenna asks us to consider who we are becoming, noting that “what you practice, you become. (p.9) He coaches readers on the what to practice and how to practice it. This simple approach makes for an easy read with straight-forward actions for the reader to implement.

Both Sections One and Two set the tone of taking responsibility for what you choose to do, and how it affects whether you live in a resourceful or un-resourceful state of being.

McKenna ends each chapter with a visualization exercise. I find the visualization challenging. I cannot help feeling silly, and have trouble “getting into it.” Interestingly, we all visualize throughout the day. Our visualizations, however, may not serve us, which is why working through McKenna's visualization exercises may help us to become more aware of what our crafty little minds are up to when we're not looking.

As we all know, our mind is like a computer, and McKenna uses this fact to convince the reader how powerful your unconscious(I learned it as the subconscious) mind can be. It is that part of the mind that McKenna purports to affect. He also suggests we use our conscious mind as well. We affirm our confidence not by repeating affirmation out loud all day, but by tuning in with our internal dialogue, noticing what it's saying, and uplifting that internal dialogue. It follows that your physical body links up with your mind; and your posture reflects that link.

As I get better at practicing the exercises, my awareness and my attitudes have transformed. Friends have commented that, compared to a year ago, I seem happier and more outgoing. One person even described me as charismatic! Yes!

McKenna continues his lessons by presenting how our emotions, feelings and beliefs are the basis for self-belief. We often hold conflicting beliefs, which saps our confidence. Integration of conflicting beliefs leads to confidence, resourcefulness, enhanced performance and ultimate success.

Sounds good to me.

Role models accelerate the success process, as all self-help programs state. McKenna uses the visualization method of increasing your confidence. He gives various exercises to practice and techniques to apply as a “confidence workout.”

McKenna continues his visualization techniques throughout the book, giving confidence a purpose via motivation and a goal-setting workshop.  McKenna loves goals and implementing relevant  actions to attain them.

Naturally, we need to develop effective habits that will lead us towards our goals. Habits like: persistence; risk-reward assessment; dealing with overwhelm by chunking down the tasks into smaller tasks that we will actually do; and developing resilience by overcoming adversity and measuring results. Nothing new here. McKenna simply adds his techniques to help deal with the various aspects of goal attainment.

Section Three, Confidence in the Real World
McKenna takes a look at areas in life that require confidence, such as: public speaking, business success, dating/sex and leaving a bad situation or relationship. In these life situations, confidence is critical. McKenna stresses that we must learn to manage our emotional state, have depth in our particular field of expertise, implement effective communication skills, demonstrate passionate performance and garner leadership skills. Of course we must also do all of these things with authenticity.

The above complex areas comprising life as we know it require more than McKenna has given, regarding a comprehensive understanding of each area and mastery over them. Hundreds of books exist in all these areas. McKenna's book retreats into visualization and hypnosis techniques in order to simplify the subject matter and convince us that it really is that easy. I don't know. Tackling any one of these areas, for me, at least, can be overwhelming. It seems unlikely that visualizations can cure all.

In Section Four, the FAQ section, McKenna basically reiterates the importance of using the visualization techniques and listening to the CD to those who nitpick the process.

If you are the type of person who loves visualization, then this is the book for you. I find it an uncomfortable task, but I do appreciate the value it can provide with practice. And that's what McKenna stresses from the beginning: practice, practice, practice.


  1. I'm three days into the CD and book and not noticing any major changes but will persevere! The book does have some useful exercises and I'm heartened to note that you've experienced some success. Onwards and upwards!

    1. Thank you for your comment, Linzi! Although books and CD's can help speed up the process of positive change, it comes down to getting out there and putting into practice the new habits we want to develop. Looks like you are already doing that with your beautiful blog!