YOU HAVE a few minutes, a good way to change the way you feel
is to say your slotra
with only as much feeling as you can muster. Then say it again
with a little more feeling. Then again, and again, even more
emphatically. It becomes easier and easier to say it with feeling.
This can raise you up into the right frame of mind and very quickly.
Escalate the slotra when you say it, each
repetition more emphatic than the last, louder than the last,
more emotional than the last.
You can see a good demonstration of this
in the movie The
Edge with Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin. Picture the scene:
The two men were out in the Alaskan wilderness. Their plane had
crashed and they were trying to get back to civilization. But
a huge bear was stalking them. It had already brutally killed
and eaten one of their friends. Now it was after them. Their
state of mind was fear.
They made a circle of fire and it was keeping
the bear at bay for the moment, but they had no food or water,
and they were running out of wood, so they couldnt stay
where they were. The bear was faster than they were so they couldnt
In this scene, Bob (Baldwin) has a look
of hopeless despair on his face. Charles (Hopkins) is sharpening
a long pole, saying hes going to kill the bear. We, the
audience, realize this is really the only way out of their predicament.
They have to kill it or it will kill them. They can't run. They
can't hide. They can't live if they only play defense. They're
going to have to go on the offensive.
But Bob is in anguish. He doesnt
think its possible. It is an enormous bear. He says, We
cant kill the bear, Charles. Hes ahead of
us all the time. Its like hes reading our minds
hes stalking us for Gods sake! He drops his
head. His face has a look of intense anguish. He looks like hes
on the verge of crying. You can tell what hes picturing
in his mind: The horror of being eaten alive and the despair
of realizing theres no way he can avoid this unthinkable
Charles says, You want to die out
here, huh? Well, then die. Ill tell you what: Im
not going to die. No sir. Im not going to die. Im
going to kill the bear.
Charles looks at Bob. They're in this together.
And their lives are at stake.
Say it, Charles demands. Say
Im going to kill the bear. Say it! Charles asks him
again. Bob remains silent. Charles yells at him, Say it!
Say Im going to kill the bear!
Bob, not looking at all convinced, says
quietly and without any conviction whatsoever, Im
going to kill the bear.
Say it again, says Charles.
Bob says it a little louder, Im
going to kill the bear.
This time Bob yells out with a good deal
more conviction: IM GOING TO KILL THE BEAR!
Good! What one man can do, another
can do. Charles is yelling at Bob now, like a coach on
Bob repeats, What one man can do,
another can do.
Charles makes him repeat this statement
a few more times, with increasing feeling, and you see the hopeless
despair on Bobs face slowly transform into grim determination.
is a very useful and powerful transition to make in a circumstance
like that. It is just a movie but the actors are demonstrating
something quite real.
The thoughts you think in a crisis can
save your life or bury you. No kidding. Read the stories of people
who have survived seemingly hopeless situations Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors,
the true story of a Rugby team that crashed in the Andes mountains;
Adrift: Seventy-six Days Lost at Sea, the
true story of a sailor who drifted alone on his life raft after
his boat sunk; Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage,
the true story of a team of Antarctic explorers led by Earnest
Shackleton they all survived because at least one person
was able to say to himself with firm determination, Were
going to make it. We will survive. At least one person
did not succumb to the despair that naturally occurs to everyone.
Thousands of people have perished in similar
circumstances people who threw up their hands in hopelessness
and declared, Were dead! people who
wrung their hands and repeated to themselves how hopeless and
horrible it was. Those people didnt take the steps that
might have saved them. Remember this in case you are ever in
a seriously dangerous predicament.
But you dont have to be in really
bad straits to use this. This is a tool. A mental tool. Its
simple and its good for a great many applications.
No matter how high-tech we get, some tools
will never change and will always be useful. People have used
axes to chop wood for thousands of years, and in all that time,
the basic design hasnt changed. Its basic. It is
simple. And it does the job.
You can use this mental tool making
a statement to yourself with feeling, and building up the emotional
expression of it whenever you want to change your state
of mind. You can use it whenever the state of mind you have fallen
into is counterproductive.
My wife and I got into an argument one
night as she was getting ready for bed. I went into the other
room so she could sleep. But I knew she wouldnt be able
to sleep, and I was feeling too angry and self-righteous to try
to help her feel better.
My state of mind wasnt what I wanted
it to be. So I changed it. And I had an effective tool that could
do the job. First I said to myself, I can get out of this
self-righteous state. I said it quietly at first. Then
I said it with a little more feeling. Then I said it with even
Thats always a good way to approach
it. Sometimes at first you cant really work up any feeling
for it. But if you just say it, even in a monotone, the next
time you say it, you can say it with a little more feeling.
I was doing this in my head, by the way.
You can say things to yourself with feeling. The voice in your
head has a tone of voice and a volume.
Then I said to myself (with no conviction
at all), Im going to go in there and make her feel
good. I wanted her to be able to go to sleep.
I said it again and again, with more feeling
every time. And...it changed my state. I was angry to start with.
After spending only about six or seven minutes using this mental
tool, I changed my state from anger to a firm determination to
make her feel good. I went into the bedroom, hugged her gently,
and told her I loved her. She hugged me back and thanked me.
You are not a victim to your own feelings.
You can control how you feel if you have the right tool. Its
like chopping down a tree if you have the right tool (an
ax, for example) you can do it. If you dont have the right
tool, it is nearly impossible.
Can you change your emotional state when
you want? Yes, you can, if you have the right tool. If you dont,
it is nearly impossible.
Read the next chapter: How
to Change Your State of Mind
This article is part of a series on Slotralogy.
Read the first section here: Slotralogy