Mental and emotional clarity reinforce each other, so don't ignore your emotions in your quest to be a better thinker. Greater clarity is just a few steps away.
Concrete ideas to modify and expand this hack go here.
Freeform discussion of this hack goes here.
In as much as this hack pertains to the invisible beliefs through which we tend to filter events, perhaps some discussion of the origin of such beliefs would be useful. I think this is important because REBT (Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy), as i understand it anyway, posits the theory that emotions are the result of thoughts. Thus, in order to modify one's emotional experience, one must modify their thoughts. As with many practices, it is helpful to have access to a specialized vocabulary with which to sift data (in this case thoughts and their codification into beliefs). While there are many vocabulary sets from which one may choose (such as the character defect lists popular in 12-step groups, or the seven deadly sins, etc.), few are as sophisticated as the the cognitive distortions listed in the next hack. That list may be used, at the least, to provide a good start for developing a comprehensive set of concepts for the employment of self-analysis. Aside from the development of a functional task-vocabulary, this development of an "observer position" seems essential to productive self-analysis, for it is my belief that the practice of self-analysis is effective only to the extent that one can employ a neutral point of view. There may be many methods by which this can be accomplished. At least one is mentioned in the Mind Performance Hacks book. The "observer position" seems to be a mental construct from within which one can view the behaviors of the personality without bias. I find it useful to conceive of the personality as a container for various behaviors rather than as an entity unto itself. I find this conception useful because changing the nature of a thing is, i think, more difficult than modifying the contents of a container. In addition to the disputation method described in this chapter of the book, i have found from my own practice that examining the origins of false beliefs can be extremely rewarding. Disputation of a very recent event can be likened to trimming a tree, while disputing the origin can be likened to pulling out the roots. In my experience, such exercises are greatly facilitated by the use of a strong observer. This allows one to remain dispassionate about remebered experiences that may have been painful at the time, or which, due to the misinterpretation of them, have led to ongoing emotional pain. I utilize the concept, adopted from the Landmark Education groups, of "what happened" and the "story"; "What happened" being the uninterpreted event while the "Story" is the meaning (interpretation) that is injected into the event and also the general plot-line. By using the concept i am reminded that my interpretation of my own life is subject to be largely fictional due to various cognitive distortions that may have effected the interpretation of events. Relativity of truth about one's self, i find, is extremely freeing because it allows me to develop new interpretations if i so desire. --GarrettLloyd
Errata go here.