a decision is pretty easy. Sticking with it is the hard part,
mainly because if a habit is already formed, it is difficult
to change. For example, I often roll up my shirtsleeves. When
it comes time to take off the shirt, I used to just take it off
and throw it in the laundry basket.
But I decided to unroll the sleeves first.
It makes washing a little easier. It was a small thing, but difficult
because I was already in the habit of taking off my shirt and
throwing it in the basket without unrolling the sleeves. I had
made the same movements in the same sequence hundreds of times.
It was so automatic and habitual, I didnt really pay attention
while I was doing it. And thats the main reason it was
so hard to remember.
Changing the way you think or behave isnt
easy. Maybe youve noticed that already. But the reason
it is difficult is not that your mind is pigheaded. It is because
youre not in the habit of thinking certain things at certain
Let me be extra clear on this. And please
be aware this is a very important point. Change is not difficult
because you subconsciously resist or because you
really dont want to change, or because youre
lazy, or because youre stubborn. There is a very simple
and quite benign reason change is difficult:
Youre not in the habit of thinking
certain things at certain times.
Habits are very powerful. And they can
work for you or against you. For example, a man named Jimmy Jones
was in jail in Florida and wanted to escape. This is a true story.
He put himself in a trash bag and might have gotten away with
it but when they called his name during roll call, habit took
over and he answered, Here, from inside the bag!
Habit is powerful. And mental habits are
as firmly rooted as any physical habit like responding to role
How can you harness the incredible power
of habit? Specifically, how can you form the habit of thinking
certain things at certain times? How can you make sure youll
remember at the right time?
Answer: Make a slotra and repeat it. Thats
such a direct solution, I know you might dismiss it as impossibly
easy. But it works beautifully.
If you want to remember to listen well
to your spouse, make a slotra such as: Listen well or live in
hell. Repeat that slotra to yourself. Make a goal of repeating
it, say, ten times a day. Do that for a few weeks and you will
form a new habit. Your brain will become accustomed to thinking
that thought. The thought will become something you naturally
think when you need to. The thought will come to mind easily.
Im making this sound very easy, and
truly it is. But there is a catch: You will get bored and want
to move on. When that happens, start thinking of the reasons
you really want to do this. Then get back to repeating your slotra.
By repeating the slotra over and over
by repeating the exact words you want to think over and over
the thought gets fixed in your mind and highly available.
Its not in the back of your mind. Its right up front
and easy to access. So youll remember it more in those
key moments, and that will cause your habits to change.
I once had the habit of not sticking with
things. I tried to change that habit many times, but never stuck
with it long enough to get rid of the habit!
After learning how thinking patterns can
be changed, I chose stay on track as my slotra. After repeating
that phrase to myself many times a day for only a couple of days,
whenever I found myself about to give up on something or go off
on a tangent that caught my interest, the thought would pop into
my mind: Stay on track.
It was so handy to have the slotra come
into my mind when I needed it. And every time it came to mind,
I heeded it. I got back on track.
Of course, when the thought appeared my
mind, I could have ignored it. But I didnt want to ignore
it. And you wont either, for the same reason: This is a
change you have deliberately chosen. Its something you
want, and the slotra has come into your mind at the perfect moment.
This isnt unpleasant. This isnt
forcing yourself to change. I didnt feel at
all bothered when the slotra popped up in my thoughts. My feeling
was similar to wanting to remember to buy milk at the store,
but forgetting. Then a friend who came to the store with me says,
Remember, you wanted to get some milk. I dont
feel harassed. Just the opposite. My response is: Oh yeah!
Thanks for reminding me!
To make a good slotra, decide what youd
like to go through your head at certain key times. For example,
I was about to walk into a radio station to ask if they would
interview me. I thought to myself, This is going to be
fun! That was my slotra. I had already repeated it to myself
many times and it came to mind naturally as I walked up to the
door. It relaxed me and made me more effective.
I came up with that slotra by asking myself,
What would I like to go through my mind as I walk into
radio stations (or call them)? I made a list of possible
phrases and chose the best one. Then I practiced thinking that
phrase saying it to myself many times a day until it was
a natural, comfortable thought that came to mind automatically
in those circumstances. This is fairly easy to do.
Some people get lucky and someone does
it for them (a parent or a drill sergeant). If you werent
that lucky, you can do it for yourself and design thoughts more
closely tailored to what you want.
A slotra is not an affirmation. Its
a statement of fact or purpose, or its a rule you want
to follow. Make it short, tight, and memorable because most of
the time youre doing something. You're attention is already
occupied with what you're doing. You don't want a slotra so long
you have to stop and think about it.
Only have one or two slotras youre
concentrating on. Create and mold your phrases until they exactly
suit you, feel right, and fit you. Write them on cards, have
them professionally imprinted or engraved, and post them somewhere.
Repeat them to yourself, forging them into powerful tools.
Read the next chapter: How
To Form New Habits Of Thought
This article is part of a series on Slotralogy.
Read the first section here: Slotralogy