For example, some hold a particular pose, like a certain religiously appropriate position, and they just keep holding it. This takes intense resolve, because of course, it becomes uncomfortable after only twenty minutes. So they go as long as they can, and then they rest. And then they go as long as they can again, and they keep this up, doing it longer and longer until they are permanently frozen in that posture!
They eventually can’t move, even if they wanted to. Their disciples have to force feed them and carry them to the river like a statue to wash them off.
This shows the amazing power of unremitting resolution. Personally, I think this particular application of will power is stupid. There are so many worthwhile things to accomplish in this world, and these guys have developed their powers of resolve to an unbelievable degree and all they have accomplished is to turn themselves into a statue! I’m sure you can use the power of focused resolve for something better.
Robert B. McCall, Ph.D., of the University of Pittsburgh and his colleagues have kept track of 6,700 people for 13 years. Specifically, they were tracking people who were underachievers in school — people who, according to aptitude tests, had a lot of potential to get good grades, but who, in reality, had low grade-point averages. After 13 years, only about 15% of them had achieved a career success equal to their abilities.
What did they lack? Two things, according to McCall: “persistence in the face of challenge,” and they were too self-critical. The lack of persistence can be changed. It is simply a missing thought-habit.
You are persistent in the face of challenge if you are in the habit of being persistent in the face of challenge, and you are in the habit of persisting if you are in the habit of thinking in ways that make you persistent.
Get in the habit of telling yourself at key moments, “stay on track.” Other good things to tell yourself are “focus creates power” and “do what needs doing.”
Persistence is an extremely important habit. You can’t really develop competence at anything unless you persist through the rough parts, whether it’s playing the piano or doing your job. Any task you undertake, if it’s worth your trouble, will have some challenge in it. Some parts of it will be tough. No new abilities can be created without having to persist in the face of challenges, even if the main challenge is suffering through the boring repetition of playing scales on the piano.
For some goals, it will take everything you’ve got to accomplish it. As a matter of fact, it will take more than you’ve got — you’ll have to become more than you are now in order to accomplish it. You’ll need to learn more than you now know. You’ll need to gain skills you don’t have yet.
Practice staying on purpose no matter what distracts you. You will be taken off track again and again until you learn to stick with your purpose. With practice, you can get to the level of Einstein’s concentration. And when you can focus like that, you will be a laser beam, cutting through obstacles and barriers with hardly a pause, flying strait to your objective with power and speed.
SUMMARY OF SLOTRALOGY
All the stuff about the antivirus for your mind, and all the stuff about slotralogy can be summed up as forming mental habits. The difference between someone who is feels bad and doesn’t get much done and someone who feels good and gets a lot done is simply their mental habits.
The way you think is a habit just like any other habit. When you learn to drive a car, you really have to pay attention to it. But the more you do it, the more you can do without your conscious attention. Behaviors become habits. Whole series of even complex behaviors happen on automatic pilot. When you drive, your body is on automatic pilot. You pay attention to cars around you, adjust your speed, move the steering wheel so you stay in the center of the lane, adjust your foot to keep your speed just right, and you’re doing all this on automatic pilot – by habit – while you carry on a lively conversation with your passenger.
The same is true of thought. The first few times you think a new thought, you may do it deliberately, but after you’ve thought a certain way about something over and over several times, it starts to become automatic. Thoughts influence the way you perceive the world. And thoughts alter how you feel. And for the most part, the thoughts you normally think are habit. They aren't deliberate. They're not what you would choose if you were choosing your thoughts deliberately.
Change your mental habits and you dramatically change your life.
How? Take a situation where you’re having trouble or where you’d like to feel or do something differently. Now figure out what you want to say to yourself in that situation. What would be helpful to think in that situation? Avoid any statements you don't believe. Try to boil it down into a few short sentences, or even down to one.
Now practice saying that to yourself. In your head, or ideally out loud and with lots of feeling. Say it again and again. Practice thinking that thought. Make it smooth. Make it familiar with repetition. Make it come easy. Make the thought come easily to mind by repeating it.
Practice several times a day for awhile so the slotra feels grooved in. Keep practicing until that pathway through your brain seems well-worn. Write the slotra down and carry the paper with you to remind yourself to practice thinking it. Then when the right situation comes up, try to remember to say it to yourself.
It might not work out the first time. But after awhile, you’ll start to form a new mental habit. Keep practicing, and it will become automatic and you won’t have to try to remember.
To speed up the process, close your eyes and say your slotra with feeling over and over, and as you do, think about all the different situations in which you would like to think that thought. Think of the situations, one after the other, where you want that slotra to come to mind, all the while, repeating it to yourself. This is a way to future-practice, and helps the thought come to mind at the right time. It is also running back and forth on the pathway of your mind, helping to make the slotra easy to think. To form mental habits to serve you for a lifetime: Create good slotras and practice thinking them until they come to mind automatically.
This article was excerpted from the book, Slotralogy: How to Change Your Habits of Thought.