He worked unbelievably hard to keep that vow. It was a powerful motivation. His mind was on his purpose every minute of the day.
Consider the patience, persistence, and commitment required to learn just one skill: The ability to swallow something only halfway to the stomach and hold it there, and be able to bring it up again to your mouth. A Japanese performer showed Houdini the trick, and it took Houdini hundreds of hours of practice to master it, but it enabled him to do his most famous stunts.
He would “swallow” lock-picking tools, but nobody knew this. He dared the finest jails to search him head to toe and lock him up. When he was all locked up, he brought his tools out and escaped from the jail — sometimes making it to the front gate before the jailers did!
Why did he try so hard and work so diligently? Because he had a good reason.
Nietzsche said, “He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how.”
Think about your own why. With a good enough reason, you can easily and even joyously bear with any suffering, hardship, difficulty, or tediousness that your goal requires.
And as you’re thinking, your mind will be electrified with earnest intention and will generate ideas. Eric Hoffer wrote, “We are told that talent creates its own opportunities, but it sometimes seems that intense desire creates not only its own opportunities, but its own talents.”
But thinking about a purpose is only what to do with your mind when it is idle and when you can’t actually work on your purpose. Or what to do when you feel demoralized by setbacks. Re-ignite your motivation by thinking about the reason you really want to accomplish your goal. Make those motivations into slotras (thoughts you practice thinking), and practice thinking them every day.
And thinking about your goals is not the same as talking about them. I tend to agree with Earl Nightingale, who certainly knew something about accomplishment. He said:
I’ve always felt that glibness is a serious danger to accomplishment. Like a steam valve, if we talk at great length about what we are going to do, we seem to lose just that much steam when it comes to actually doing it.
Make statements about what you will do. This is not only positive, it is future-oriented, so it will bring you up, and it focuses your mind on a definite purposeful action.
Read the next chapter: When You Backslide
This article was excerpted from the book, Slotralogy: How to Change Your Habits of Thought.