Changing Mental Habits With Slotralogy

In the famous story of the rugby team that crashed in the Andes mountains, brought vividly to life in the movie, Alive, the survivors of the plane crash repeated many phrases — A man never dies who fights, We’ve beaten the cold — but the one they repeated most often was a simple fact: To the west is Chile.

Slotralogy is about learning to think thoughts that will help you accomplish your goal. We're talking about the difference between thoughts that occur spontaneously, arising out of the strain of the moment (and are counterproductive) versus thoughts you deliberately design to help you accomplish your goals successfully. That's what the Andes survivors did. Some of their spontaneous thoughts made them despair, of course. But some thoughts gave them strength, and those are the ones they chose to repeat.

You can use the same technique for your goals, whatever they are. Slotras work just as well for the goal of losing weight as they do for the goal of surviving in the Andes.

For best results, take one goal and work on it diligently for a month or two, practicing your new slotras every day. This will form new habits of thinking that can last a lifetime. Once a habit is formed, it has a certain momentum of its own. But forming the habit, especially when you already have a different habit, takes some regularity.

If you try to change any habit by only practicing it once a week or once a month, it might never change. That’s not often enough. There are too many opportunities during the month to reinforce — to, in effect, practice — the old way.

Take one change you want to make and focus on it for a period of time. If you keep trying new things, no habits will form, so no lasting change will take place. That’s the bad news: It takes work, discipline, and focus. (If you think you don’t have these things, those are the first negative thoughts to change. Use the antivirus for your mind.)

The good news is that if you concentrate, you can form new habits.

And during the month or two you're practicing, the practice will keep you thinking the new way as you run across the circumstances your slotras are designed for.

It's like trying to take a new turn on a familiar route. Most people drive to work using the same route every time. If you do that, I'm sure you've had the experience every once in awhile when you’re headed in the same direction as your work, but it’s a day off and you’re intending to drive somewhere different. You might need to go about halfway to work, but then turn in a different direction. But what happens? Unless you are paying attention at the time you need to turn, you automatically drive toward work. Why? Your brain has formed a habit with repetition.

If you're driving with someone who doesn’t work the same place you do, they will immediately say, “Where are you going?”

One of the functions of a slotra is to be like that passenger who notifies you when you start to go the wrong way, the old way. If you practice your slotra every day, you'll have it fresh in your mind, and when you start to think the old way, you'll immediately become aware of it. That really speeds up the process of changing a mental habit.

Repetition is the key.

But repetition is redundant. You created the slotra, so you already “know” it, right? But one of the purposes of the repetition is to make sure the new way of thinking is fresh in your mind when it really matters. That’s when it counts. “Knowing” it is almost useless.

Insight isn’t enough. It is only a first step. The other half is remembering the insight when it matters. That requires repetition.

I suggest you invest money and time in your reminders. Draw signs. Make screensavers. Make professional posters.

Changing the way you think about something is not a trivial pursuit. You shouldn’t do it half-heartedly. It is important and worth your time. The way you think determines the quality of your life. This can’t be overstated. The way you think determines the quality of your relationships. It determines the amount of money you will make, and how much you manage to keep. It determines how much enjoyment you get out of life. It determines your integrity. It determines how well you treat your children and how successfully they enter the world.

The content of your mind is the most important thing you have. Invest yourself in making it the best it can be.

Read the next chapter: Creating a Purpose Slotra

This article was excerpted from the book, Slotralogy: How to Change Your Habits of Thought.

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