Change Your Life in 7 Days

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Change Your Life In 7 DaysNotes from the book ‘Change Your Life in 7 Days’ by Paul McKenna

If you don’t take control of your life, someone else will.

Take responsibility is taking control of those parts in your life that are within your control, while letting go of trying to control what is not.

It’s easy to blame others for your problems, but until you decide to see yourself as responsible for your situation then you don’t have any power to change it.

Taking responsibility is not the same as taking the blame. You are not responsible for the hand you have been dealt, but it is always up to you how you play it.

You are constantly letting people know how to treat you, by how you treat yourself. We settle in life for what we feel we are worth – that is, we will never allow anyone to abuse us more than we abuse ourselves.

[tweetable alt=””]If you don’t take control of your life, someone else will.[/tweetable]

Research has shown that by the age of fourteen, 98% of children have a negative self-image.

  • The average parent criticizes their children 8 times for every 1 time they praise them.
  • Students at school with their own self-esteem issues undermining you to make themselves feel better.
  • Teachers trying to mould you.
  • And then there’s puberty.

The reason you are not yet living the life of your dreams is that you are wasting so much of your time and energy hiding your negative self-image from the world.


Fake Self-ImageNegative Self-ImageAuthentic Self

Fake Self-Image

Questions to help unmask your ‘pretend self’: who you pretend to be:

  1. How do you like to be seen?
  2. Which aspects of your personality do you hope people notice first?
  3. What is it most important that everyone knows about you?
  4. If your life were trying to prove something about you, what would it be?

Negative Self-Image

If someone calls you a name that you don’t identify with (You dirty green-skinned Martian!), there is rarely an emotional charge attached. If something upset us, it’s usually because at some level we believe it might be true.

Any ‘negative’ traits you identify are not really yours – they belong to your negative self-image and were programmed into you when you were a child. By identifying them honestly, you are about to let them go!

Questions to help unmask your ‘negative self-image’: who you are afraid you are:

  1. What’s the opposite of each of the traits of your pretend self?
  2. Which of your secrets will only be discovered after you die?
  3. Who is your least favourite person and why?

Authentic Self

Questions to help unmask your ‘authentic self’: who you truly are

  1. Who you really are always feels like coming home.
  2. Who are you when nobody’s watching?
  3. If you felt totally safe, what would you do differently?
  4. Who would you be if you lived beyond fear?


Reprogramming your self-image for success

  1. Relax & Breathe deeply & Imagine another you standing in front of you. The most magnificent you – your authentic self.
  2. Take a moment to feel totally happy with your authentic self. Look at the way you stand, breathe, smile, walk, talk, speaks to others, handles problems, goes for goals, etc.
  3. Step into and synthesize with your authentic self. See through the eyes, hear through the ears, feel how it feels so good to live life as your authentic self.
  4. Daydream about how your life will be different as you live more and more from your authentic self. Imagine living authentically in any number of real situations from your past, present and future.


Turning around your negative thoughts

Your internal representations of reality are unique to you – your own personal way of perceiving the world. They are your own map of the world, but  they are incomplete and filled with generalizations, deletions and distortions. This is the reason why 2 people can witness the exact same event and experience it differently.

Stressful PeopleDisassociationAssociation

Stressful/Annoying People

Think of someone who annoys you, or whom you find it stressful to think about or spend time with – remember their face. Now as you look at their face in your imagination, ask yourself:

  • Is it a colour image or black & white?
  • Are you making it to the left, to the right, or right in front of you?
  • Is it big or small?
  • Light or dark?
  • Moving or still?

Now try out these changes in turn and notice what happens:

  1. If they are moving, freeze-frame the picture so that it is still.
  2. If the image has any colour, drain it all away until it looks like an old black & white photo.
  3. Shrink the image until it’s tiny.
  4. Move the location of the image so it’s further away.
  5. Give them a clown’s nose, pink hair and Mickey Mouse ears.
  6. Imagine the sound of their voice. Then alter it by giving them a deep, sexy voice. Change it again until they sound like a squeaky little mouse.

By making these changes in your internal representations, you are reprogramming the way you feel. Think of the person again in that new way.. how how do you feel about the? It’s very likely they no longer trigger the stressful response and the next time you meet this person, you’ll feel differently; which means they will respond differently to you, changing the dynamic of your relationship for the better.

Images that are bigger, brighter and bolder have greater emotional intensity than those that are duller, dimmer and further away.

Disassociation Technique

  1. Think of a mildly stressful of uncomfortable situation
  2. As you notice what image(s) come to mind, step out of yourself so you can see the back of your head. Pull back from that image and mentally move as far away from the image as you can. Step all the way out of the picture so you can see yourself way over there, still in it. This process of disassociating reduces the intensity of the feelings the image was creating.

Association Technique

  1. Think of a time in your life when you felt great.
  2. Step into that image so you’re seeing through your own eyes, hearing through your ears and feeling great in your body.
  3. Make the image bigger, the sounds louder, and the feelings stronger.

The way you feel from moment to moment is a direct result of the way you are using your body and the pictures and sounds you are making in your mind.

Now that you know how to influence your state, you don’t have to be at the mercy of others/circumstances. By taking responsibility for the pictures in your mind, the things you say to yourself (and how you say them), and the way you use your body, you can now begin to choose how you want to feel in any situation.


Failure is an attitude, not an outcome.

Consider the question, ‘Why can’t I do this?’

In order to even understand the question, your mind automatically begins to search out all the reasons why ‘you can’t do’ whatever it is that you perceive needs to be done. No matter what answer you give, you are accepting the basic premise of the question.

Alternatively, imagine asking yourself, ‘How can I most easily make this work?’ This question presupposes that a) this can work, & b) that there are a number of ways this can work and c) it can be done easily. These assumptions/presuppositions act as a directional compass and your mind then searches for how to make things work.


Questions direct your focus.

How can I ask this in a way that points towards the positive?

  • What is the most elegant way of I can solve this problem?
  • How many different ways of solving this problem can I come up with?
  • How can I most easily stop doing ________ ?

These questions make your brain sort for different information and put you in a different and more resourceful state. Your brain will keep searching until a useful answer has been found.

Possibility Questions

  • What would happen if this just wasn’t a problem any more?
  • What would it take for everything to be all right?
  • If I knew there was a simple solution, what would it be?
  • What haven’t I thought of yet?
  • If I made an astounding breakthrough in this area, what would it be like?

Empowering Questions

  • Who or what in my life makes me happiest?
  • Who or what in my life makes me feel most loved?
  • Who or what in my life makes me feel richest?
  • Who or what in my life makes me feel most passionate?
  • Who or what in my life makes me feel most empowered?

As you answer, build up a vivid representation of what you are thinking about, amplify it, make the colours brighter, the sounds louder, and the feelings stronger.

[tweetable alt=””]Who or what in your life makes you happiest?[/tweetable]


The secret of getting on well with others is to be able to see the world through their eyes.

People do what they do in order to achieve some purpose or fulfil some need.

See yourself through their eyes. What might they be saying to themselves about the situation? How does it feel to be in their shoes?

See yourself through the eyes of a mentor or someone you respect. Step into their shoes and imagine they are watching the two of you interact. How would they perceive this situation as a neutral observer? Observe what’s going on with ‘those people over there’. What are they doing? What kinds of things are they saying to one another? What kinds of insight do you gain inside the mind of this wise mentor? What advice do they have for you?

Take what you’ve learned and step back into your own shoes. Look at that person you were having the problem with in new ways, and choose at least one thing to say or do to move towards a happy resolution.



Our beliefs determine our level of intelligence, our happiness, the quality of our relationships, even our health and success.

Your beliefs determine your decisions, how you feel about things and ultimately the direction you go in life. They control everything about you. If you are wondering what your beliefs are, then look at how you feel about your life. Do you feel in control? Do you feel empowered? Do you feel exceptional levels of happiness, most of the time?

If not, this section is for you.

A belief is no more than a perspective. If you believe negative thoughts ‘the world is a dangerous place’, ‘people can’t be trusted’, etc – you will see a dangerous world filled with untrustworthy people. If you believe positive thoughts ‘the world is a friendly place’ and ‘I can trust myself’, you get to live in a friendly world where you are able to make smart choices about every aspect of your life.

Don’t worry about whether or not you actually think these things are true – just vividly imagine now what your life would be like if you knew that…

You are the expert on youYou are not broken; you do not need to be fixedYou already have all the resources you need to succeedYou can accomplish anything if you break the task down into small enough chunksIf what you are doing isn't working, do something elseThere is no such thing as failure, only feedbackYou are creating your future NOW

You are the expert on you

Once you start looking within, the perfect answers to life’s questions will pop out more & more.

You are not broken; you do not need to be fixed

Everyone does what they do for a very good reason, even though the reason may seem inappropriate to the outside world; any dysfunctional behaviour has a positive intent or once served a purpose that has since been outgrown

You already have all the resources you need to succeed

The only difference between you and someone who is already living their genius is learning how to access your resources at the appropriate times

You can accomplish anything if you break the task down into small enough chunks

Any skill can be learned and any problem solved if it is broken down into small enough pieces

If what you are doing isn’t working, do something else

People who are stuck say ‘But I’ve always done it like that’ or ‘I’m just not that kind of person’ – what feels normal to us is more a product of our programming than our potential. If you want to being producing different results in your life, you’ll need to step outside your comfort zone and do something different

There is no such thing as failure, only feedback

When have you failed? when you decide to stop learning. until then, every response you get is valuable information that can be used to tell you whether your actions are taking you closer to or further away from what you want. every mistake or failure is a learning opportunity in disguise. ‘failure’ is a requisite part of the learning process, not the end of the learning process

You are creating your future NOW

If you carry on as you are, will you achieve it? no matter how much you’ve struggled in the past, every moment of every day provides you with an opportunity to make new choices and create new results

Choose one belief above that will make a real difference in the way you live your life. Stop and imagine that in front of you is ‘another you’ – one that already holds that belief. Imagine what already having that belief enables that other you to achieve. Imagine that other you demonstrating those things effortlessly – how do they behave? how does that other you talk to them-self  what kind of voice tone do they use? how do they carry themselves? how do they move? When you are satisfied with the other you – step into them. Take the new perspective and behaviours into you. Think of a situation that you would like to view from your new perspective. How are things going to be so much better now? For the next few weeks, act as if your new belief is true. Even if it feels like you’re ‘making it up’, this will teach your brain to run the new software of this positive perspective.

When you harness the power of a positive perspective in your own life, you get to make every day a great one!

[tweetable alt=””]If what you are doing isn’t working, do something else.[/tweetable]

[tweetable alt=””]There is no such thing as failure, only feedback.[/tweetable]

[tweetable alt=””]You are the expert on you.[/tweetable]

More notes from this great book:




‘Change Your Life in 7 Days’, McKenna, Paul, Bantam Press, 2004

Penny (
Penny (

Truth-seeker, ever-questioning, ever-learning, ever-researching, ever delving further and deeper, ever trying to 'figure it out'. This site is a legacy of sorts, a place to collect thoughts, notes, book summaries, & random points of interests.