be a statement of fact, an idea, a question, or a clear statement
of purpose. The effort of trying to create a slotra is itself
useful especially when youre creating a statement
of purpose slotra. It will help you clarify your goals. Whatever
the task, work out a simple phrase that expresses your purpose.
And keep working with it and refining it until you get it down
to a simple, clear phrase.
For example, a waiter tries to work it
out. I am supposed to take the order and bring the food
and drinks. Thats only a start. Yes, hes supposed
to do those things, but part of his job is his attitude. He could
add, with a good attitude, but it doesnt quite
encompass the whole thing, because what about special requests?
What about going beyond the call of duty?
He works with it and finally comes up with:
"Help them have a good time." This encompasses everything.
It helps them have a good time if he takes their order
and helps even more if he takes their order when they want it
taken. And it helps them have a good time if he brings their
food and drink to them especially if he brings it right
after it was made.
And all the little things he does is part
of his purpose, beautifully and simply expressed in the phrase,
"Help them have a good time." And its a phrase
short enough it can zip through his mind quickly while hes
And thats why you want your slotras
short and sweet. Most tasks require some of your RAM, some of
your mental attention, hopefully quite a bit. So if you try to
think about your slotra and it is long and difficult to remember,
your effort to remember will interfere with what youre
trying to do.
Practice saying your statement of purpose
when youre not doing anything important. Repeat it to yourself
often. And then when youre actively engaged in a task,
think about it once in awhile and make sure you stay on purpose.
Itll make your work more efficient. Itll make you
more effective. Itll keep you from being sidetracked.
After repeating your purpose for awhile,
the thought will come to you when you need it most. Automatically.
When it does, heed it.
One of the most dangerous forms of
human error, wrote Paul Nitze, is forgetting what
one is trying to achieve.
No matter where you are or what youre
doing, this is true: The best use of an idle mind is thinking
about a purpose. When your mind is cut loose of needing to think
about something, itll tend to eventually think about something
unpleasant. There are at least two good reasons for this: First,l
negative stuff is more compelling that positive stuff. I mean,
how often do you see a crowd gather when a person helps an old
lady across the street? But if the old lady gets run over by
a bus? Well, then youd get a crowd.
This is not a criticism of the human race.
Not at all. It is not a comment on how low we have sunk. It is
nothing like that. We are animals. We have evolved to survive.
And part of that is that we have evolved to be acutely aware
of danger. Dangerous information turns all our senses on high
and compels our attention, even against our will.
Because of that, worries are more compelling
that the thought of something nice that might happen, so as your
mind wanders around, it wont stick as often on a nice thought
as it will on a scary thought.
But the second reason an aimless mind will
gravitate toward negativity is that there are more negative possibilities
that positive, so just by the numbers alone, the chances are,
even if it was random, that your mind would think about more
negative stuff than positive.
What do I mean there are more negative
possibilities? Well, think about health, for example. A positive
possibility is that you will be in good health, and for that
to be, your spleen has to be functioning right, your knees need
to be painless, your teeth need to be cavity-free, and so on.
Any one thing wrong and you are not in good health or feeling
good. How many negative possibilities are there? As many as the
number of things that can go wrong with the human body.
But when you think of good health, its
all one thing, usually. You dont think, Boy I feel
good today. My liver feels good, and my shins feel good. Even
my eyelids are doing great! Its all one thing, and
so theres not much to think about, except all the million
things that could go wrong.
And another reason your mind will be more
likely to think negatively when its idle is that negative
things like pain compel you to pay attention. In other words,
when your elbow hurts, you notice it. You cant help it.
The pain draws your attention. But when your elbow is feeling
fine, what is there to notice? What would alert your attention
to your fine-feeling elbow? Chances are your elbows have felt
fine all day. But until I mentioned it, did you give even one
little thought to your elbows today?
An idle mind is like a warm damp place
where unhappy thoughts and feelings, like bacteria, grow and
How do you stop your mind from being idle?
The best use of an idle mind is thinking about a purpose.
If youre actively working on a purpose, theres nothing
to worry about, because the purpose and the task at hand will
organize your mind and keep your attention too occupied to worry.
But when youre not actively working,
when youre driving somewhere or waiting in line or taking
a shower or lying in bed waiting for sleep, thats when
to start thinking about a purpose of yours.
If you have an overriding goal, thats
the one to choose. Think about how youre going to get it
done. Think about the advantages of accomplishing it. Think about
why you want to accomplish it, and think up new reasons. Think
about better and more efficient ways of accomplishing the goal.
Ponder the goal. Mull it over purposefully. And if you can think
of nothing else, use your goal as a slotra and repeat it over
and over. This itself, you will notice, brings up new ideas that
can help you.
And when you are thinking up good reasons
why you want to accomplish this goal and thinking up the advantages
you will gain from its accomplishment, make those into
slotras. Repeat the advantages to yourself.
You can accomplish things without being
motivated: Simply make a promise and make sure you keep it. But
its more fun to accomplish things when youre
motivated. And fun is worth a lot.
One of the best things to focus on when
you are driving your car or taking a shower and your mind is
wandering aimlessly, is why you are doing what youre doing.
Why do you want to accomplish your goal? What will it do for
you, for your family, for the world at large? And what else?
And what else?
It seems strange, but sometimes people
set a goal for very good reasons, and then get so busy pursuing
it, they actually forget the reasons. And then the task starts
feeling like youre just going through the motions. It feels
like you have to do what youre doing. Its not fun
What's the solution for this? Keep yourself
aware of your motivations by making slotras and practicing
Create slotras of your purposes and motivations,
and practice thinking those thoughts when your mind is idle.
This will keep your mind focused on what you want and prevent
negativity from invading your mind. And the process of coming
up with good slotras can help you clarify your purposes so you
have a better idea of what you want to accomplish.
Read the next chapter: The
Magic Of Motivation
This article is part of a series on Slotralogy.
Read the first section here: Slotralogy