Frankly, I had never even seriously looked at this when I got it, and only had the vaguest idea of what it was about. What it is is a system that Dr. Kappas developed for his clients to allow them to work on themselves, programming the subconscious as “a goal machine”, which “represents the culmination of 47 years' experience in the field of subconscious and behavioral re-programming”. I also hate to admit it, but by the time I was finished reading the book, I was still at a loss about what I was supposed to do to put it into action. Fortunately, in the ten years since I picked this up, materials that at one point were purchase/subscription only are now available (posted by the organization) on YouTube. I would highly recommend watching this video to get the instructions laid out for using the Mental Bank (the video is 2 hours long, and the how-to stuff only comes in half-way through). While I really hate to depend on “ancillary materials” outside of the book I'm reviewing to make sense of the book, in this case I'm really recommending that. Heck, if one watched the video first and then read the book, it might make more sense all the way around!
Before I get into the book's content, I can't help (wearing my editor/publisher hat) but to bring up a bizarre “feature” of the book (at least in the printing that I have). In standard book lay-out there are names for the two facing pages, recto and verso (which mean “front” and “back”), with recto being on the right and verso on the left, and, nearly universally, the odd page numbers are on the recto. While the Foreword and Introduction have standard numbering, Chapters 1-7 have the odd numbers on the verso, only to return to standard numbering from Chapter 8 through the end of the book. As a “book guy” this drove me nuts, with the feeling I was in some mirror-reality reading experience. There's a great lyric by Peter Murphy about dealing with esoteric stuff: “Look for what seems out of place.”, and this is close enough to those realms that I kept wondering what the message was of having the book set up like this … not believing (in my editor hat) that this, if not intentional, hadn't been noticed (and thereby corrected) before ink hit paper. At this point I'm guessing that it's simply an “inexplicable error”, but it was a page-by-page distraction to me for 150+ pages of this 250-ish page book!
The Mental Bank Concept (or System in the video) is a way to “reprogram” your subconscious to change your “life script”. Now, if one is looking into a book like this, it is very likely due to being unhappy with some aspect of one's life, be that financial, relationships, health, whatever. However, one of the keystones of this approach is the extremely counter-intuitive insistence that each and every one of us is a success:
Admittedly, this is a fairly substantial leap of faith to take, but it is based on a half-century of hypnosis therapy, and it seems to work for a lot of people. This is also very regimented, and one is constantly encouraged to follow the steps exactly as presented. Now, I am one of the worst people as far as “doing things my way” (because, hey, I'm “the smartest kid in the room” and all that), but having read through this, I'm seeing how the “doing it as written” thing is probably a real good idea. Also, this requires a whole lot of discipline, as, for it to work, you have to do the process (which is generally said to take 5 minutes) every night at bedtime.No matter how down-and-out you may feel, you have succeeded in carrying out your current life script. You were programmed by your past, and success in any endeavor means carrying out your subconscious plans. You have done this well. The only problem is that your subconscious script is not the pattern you want for your present and future. Thus, it is time to change that script so you will have the accomplishments you desire.
Back in my “drinking days”, that would have been a problem, but it's set up that way to get the information into your head just in time for the early phases of sleep. As woo-woo as a lot of this may seem, it does appear that there is some quite solid “brain science” involved in how this is structured. There is also a gauge as to what “type of suggestibility” is primarily active in the individual. Dr. Kappas defines two types, “emotionally suggestible” (responding to inferred suggestions) and “physically suggestible” (responding to literal suggestions), with the two types subconsciously accepting quite different modes of suggestion – so it's obviously very useful to know what your “type” is when coming up with the affirmations that are part of the process. There is a questionnaire and chart to determine which is your dominant mode. The following example is almost ridiculous (I'm assuming it arises from dealing with people in hypnotic states, not in general conversation), but it points to the differences:
To come back to the “life script” concept, the book has a number of examples of how various of Dr. Kappas' clients had gotten into patterns that were limiting. One example is a guy whose father earned what was, in the 60's, a very solid income (say $25,000) and that number got stuck in his head as “what success was”. However, decades later, that dollar amount wasn't an income that he could survive at, yet his subconscious programming somehow kept sabotaging any of his conscious efforts to get better pay. This can also work in reverse, with programming to “not be anything like” one's parents … in any case, most of the information in the subconscious “filter” is set from about ages 8-13 … dooming most people to lives dictated by their childhood experiences.If you ask an extreme literal person and an extreme inferred person the following question: “Would you tell me your name?”, the extreme literal person will say “Yes” while the person accepting inferences will give you his or her name.
I suppose that a lot of people whose problems are not financial (wanting to find a life partner, wanting to lose weight, etc.), may have issues with the way the Mental Bank is set up, but, through a lot of trial-and-error, it was determined to use symbolic language to influence the subconscious, in this case the symbol $ and numbers. The way the program works is to fill out an old-style bookkeeping-like ledger with dollar values, and keep a running balance. I got totally confused with this (I'm horrible with financial stuff), until I watched the above-noted video. What you do is come up with your real-life income (or an equivalent if you're not currently pulling a salary), multiply by one factor for your Mental Bank income, come up with an hourly rate, and an over-all target (I've not started using this … was waiting to get through this review first … so these are still a bit hazy to me). Once you have your hourly rate, you make a list of tasks for which you are going to “pay yourself” (for instance, writing reviews would be something I'd have on my list), and at the end of the day, total up everything you'd done that was on the list, and come up with your daily “pay”. Oddly, any real-world income that had come your way is deducted from that total before it gets rolled into the daily balance.
One of the things that I have had most “resistance” to here is the insistence that all the writing involved in these daily ledgers (and the “contract” you write when you get started) needs to be in cursive longhand. Since I learned to type (back in 10th grade or so), I have maybe filled up two pages of cursive writing in the intervening decades … so the argument that this is a “direct route” into one's subconscious seems to be somewhat iffy to me, as I'm going to have to re-learn how to write in script to work this!
I suppose the key part of how the Mental Bank program functions is that the subconscious doesn't make a distinction between real income, and symbolic income, so that it just sees that it's getting rewarded for doing the tasks you have set up as things you're getting “paid” for. This is very much along the lines of research done for NLP and similar approaches, where the mind doesn't differentiate between things visualized and things actually rehearsed. Plus, putting this into play just before going to sleep, sets it up for the most suggestible times for the brain … which is augmented by daily affirmations – again, written out long-hand on the ledger every night – which is why that test for suggestibility style is important.
Although there are stories in the book about the Mental Bank producing some remarkable turn-arounds for numerous clients, in the video George Kappas (John's son, who now runs the HMI), describes the process as “dropping pebbles in a bucket of water”, where each pebble makes no noticeable difference, but over time there's no water left in the bucket. This is paralleled by one all-caps paragraph in the book which says: “Remember: changing your mental script after having it serve as a guide all your life is a big change!”.
As those who have read a lot of my reviews will no doubt recall, I am quite hesitant to actually do the stuff in most of the books I read – my being more interested in the concept or information than taking the time and effort to delve into something that I'm not particularly convinced will be of use. However, this is one that I'm planning to actually implement. While the “broad strokes” of the Mental Bank Concept sound pretty goofy in the “newage sewage” mode, looking at it in the details, and reflecting on similar mind research I've read, makes me think this has solid possibilities and could well be worth the 5-minutes per night (and re-learning how to write in cursive) it involves.
If you want to get a copy of Success is Not an Accident you should probably head over to the HMI site, which has the book available, new, at full cover price. Oddly, the on-line guys don't have it as a regular purchase, and the new/used guys have it for huge mark-ups, twenty bucks or more above what HMI is charging! Again, this is a bit odd, but I'm going to be “working the program”, so I guess that's a solid recommendation for the book … but if you're interested, I'd say you should probably check out the video first.