Chapter 9


Once you've made your mind strong and flexible, added skills and speed, and shaped it into a superb tool, clarity enables you to focus all that power in the right direction. Clarity helps you apply your abilities directly to your chosen task, without dissipating energy in unproductive attitudes.

People whose minds are clouded and distorted by strong emotions such as fear and anger often make mistakes that are dangerous to themselves and others. That's why this chapter focuses on several methods for clearing your head, such as Hack 57, “Take a Semantic Pause.”

Sometimes it's not strong emotions that distort our ability to think clearly, but weak ones that persist over a long time, such as coming to think of ourselves as “losers” (Hack 59, “Get Used to Losing”). The hacks in this chapter offer solutions to those problems too. Sometimes the best way to get a clear view is to throw everything you think you know away and start over (Hack 56, “Cultivate Beginner's Mind”).

The human race has devised many mind hacks in the quest for a clear and sharply focused brain, from coffee to meditation. We're only offering you a sample; if you discover new ones, we hope you'll write and tell us about them. After all, strengthening the mind is a terrific pursuit, but learning to control and focus it—while extremely rewarding—never ends, and we'll always be looking for new directions.

Hack 56: Cultivate Beginner's Mind

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