Chapter 7. Clarity

Unlike most of the other chapter titles in this book, this one might not be self-explanatory. What is clarity? Clarity is freedom from unpleasant thoughts, emotions, and states of consciousness. Really, it is freedom pure and simple, but for the purposes of this book, it is the freedom to think, and developing that is a crucial branch of the mental arts.

You can't think well if you are angry, depressed, or frightened, or if your mind is cluttered with thoughts. Most computers' hard drives need to be defragmented periodically. Your mind is no different in this respect.

This chapter explores various ways to defragment your mental hard drive and clear its desktop. At first glance, you might think that some of these hacks are mystical nonsense, but there's no incense burning or bell ringing in this chapter—only stuff that works.

Hack #57. Learn Your Emotional ABCs

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.

The ABC model of emotion, widespread in contemporary psychotherapy, holds that it is not an activating (A) event, such as rejection by a friend or lover, that causes you emotional consequences (C) such as depression; rather, the linchpin is your invisible beliefs (B) about the event that come in between A and C. Fortunately, it's often easier to intentionally change beliefs than emotions.

Since at least the time of the ancient Stoics, some have ...

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