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    • 3.9

      It takes effort to change a pattern of thought.

  • 1.

    A person easily becomes a slave to his habits. The most difficult habits to break

are the habits of thinking in a certain manner. You can have a large amount of control over yourself by working to obtain positive habits. Even with habits of thought, we have the ability to utilize the power of habit to form the habit of thinking rationally and productively, and to elevate our thoughts to such a degree that we will have changed our entire thought patterns for the better. (Rabbi Isaac Sher 1875-1952; Introduction to Cheshbon Hanefesh)

2. If you want a concept to become part of your thinking, keep repeating it to yourself again and again. Even though you might not gain a deeper understanding of the concept, the constant repetition enables you to internalize it until it becomes part of your own way of thinking. (Daas Chochmah Umussar, vol.1, p.114)

3. The Talmud relates that Rabbi Praida had a student who needed to hear a lesson four hundred times until he comprehended it. Rabbi Moshe Rosenstein used to say that when it comes to elevating our attitudes we are all in the same situation as that student. If we sincerely want a new attitude to be integrated into our own way of thinking, we need to repeat it over and over again. Even if a person is highly intelligent, unless he reviews the concepts hundreds of times, they will not become part of him. (Darkai Mussar, p.60)

    • 3.10

      Potential mistakes

  • 1.

    Just because others react to a certain situation with a specific emotional reaction

does not mean you also must react in the same manner. Some people might be extremely nervous or upset in certain situations, but you can still look at the situation in a calm and sensible manner. When you see others reaction with irritation, anger, or sadness, ask yourself what other alternatives are possible. What are those people telling themselves and how can those self-statements be challenged? Look for people who have inner peace of mind and happiness, and try to learn from them.

2. Some people ask, “Are you advocating an ostrich-like attitude in which one blinds oneself to the many problems of living?” Of course not. Blinding oneself to the realities of life will usually not bring a person long-term happiness. If you avoid dealing with your problems, they will eventually overwhelm you and bring misery. But anyone able to think straight and sensibly can learn to think in a manner that will increase his happiness. What is needed is the ability to differentiate between productive and counterproductive thinking and behavior. Only think of negative topics when there is some constructive reason for doing so.



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