In those times when we want to acquire a new skill or face a formidable challenge we hope to overcome, what we need most are patience, focus, and discipline, traits that seem elusive or difficult to maintain. In this enticing and practical book, Thomas Sterner demonstrates how to. Editorial Reviews. Review. Like many of us, Thomas M Sterner was enrolled in music lessons when he was a child. He was not an amazing prodigy and he didn . The Practicing Mind. Developing Focus and Discipline in Your Life‎ PDF Mockup. Download PDF. Get instant access! Join Optimize and get instant access to.

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The Practicing Mind. 2. During my late teens and early twenties, when I was still single, I pursued music very seriously and achieved a fair amount of success. The Practicing MindAuthor: Thomas M. Sterner New World Library: While this book is a self-help Download as DOC, PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd . The Practicing Mind - Download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read online.

He feels that if his goal was to get to the end of each chapter. It may take a number of tries before you get it quite right. He uses the example of tossing balls into a cup. But more importantly. Back to the topic of mistakes: We take action in hopes of achieving an outcome and.

And so he developed a dread of math and a sense of inadequacy. Leap to the brevity of happiness that is produced because the novelty wears off quickly. Grades were the measure of success but provided no guidance for the process of learning.

Another personal account follows about the author's struggle as a student. There's a brief mention of the western focus on instant gratification and the credit-card culture of getting things right away without the necessity of earning them. Japan is concerned with perfection. Leap to the pleasure of anticipation. The Japanese have a long-standing cultural tradition of being process-oriented at attempting to do things perfectly by placing very intense focus on the activities that lead to an outcome.

And the attempts of the educational system to address the problems have been entirely misguided and uneffective and so they do more of the same: While the west is concerned with piece-count. His hope is that the reader has come realize this and is genuinely interested in making a positive change.

He insists that most people will agree that these attitudes are pervasive and counterproductive. And as proof of the value of this perspective. Another shift to corporate management. He shifts to the commercial sector.

The blacksmith who invests six months in a single sword is not a laggard. The present financial crisis. This is not at all uncommon among students. He speaks a bit about the way in which the media creates unrealistic expectations. In another sense. There's another diversion about failing to be in-the-moment because we distract ourselves from the moment with thoughts of other things.

There are instances. The lifestyles depicted are far more lavish than most people will ever be able to have. The star athlete invests years of training.

This carries on a while and gets quite silly. Commercials depict the experience of owning a product as total satisfaction of desire that the real experience will not deliver.

The models and actors are perfect-looking people that lead average-looking people to be miserable with their own appearance. We completely miss the present moment for thoughts of future moments that are often less important.

It's not enough to run a marathon. It's important to be mindful that we cannot expect that we can step onto a golf course after taking a couple of lessons and duplicate their performance. He speaks of nature: In one sense. The problem is that the vast majority of people will never do so. We want the goal. He backpedals a bit. But when we expect that we have the ability to achieve their results and use such individuals as benchmarks.

In sum. He also notes that in the workplace. They are not distracted by themselves. Aside of the danger of failing to focus on tasks such as driving or operating heavy equipment. Keep your mind on the present and retrain your focus when you find yourself thinking about other things or other times. Be attentive to what you are doing at each moment. It will become easier over time. It's impossible to see oneself when we are in this state.

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The fear of being reprimanded or fired. Most people have difficulty doing that in their real lives. When we engage in pleasant activity. The notion of "highway hypnosis" comes to mind as a good example. Imagination is not as engaging as the stimulation of our senses. He mentions the profession of acting. This also brings to mind the way in which work degrades quality of life even when a person is not on the job.

When attending to a necessary task. The stress they experience in the office bleeds into their home life.

In essence. People can get the same way while watching a movie or reading a book. The author's advice is simply to endeavor to be process-oriented.

He refers to the Zen concept of the "beginner's mind" in which a person who is doing something for the first time must focus their full concentration on getting it right. We do not seek satisfaction from doing good work. For many.

Method actors are "in character" and deliver compelling performances by immersing themselves in their role. The formation of habits has been very closely studied by behavioral scientists and sports psychologists.

Getting to that point requires effort and a great deal of careful repetition. With some efforts. Disconnecting our thoughts from our actions does not make us efficient but "takes away all our real power. Of importance. He accepts less-than-perfect performance because it is progress. Creating the Habits We Desire Being present-minded is achieved in much the same way as any other habitual practice: Once you realize you are doing this.

That is to say. He does not get emotional when his student doesn't understand or moves off the right path. Replacing mental habits works in the same way. Habits are behaviors that have become routine because they were at some point practiced. In boxing and the martial arts. He goes back to the example of tossing balls into a can.

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How we think is a pattern of behavior. Some stimuli cause us to act in response. But he is at the same time talking to himself. You must first observe them to recognize what they are doing wrong. A particular problem in changing habits is overcoming the old ones. It is all the more difficult for those who have fallen into the habit of being absent-minded. A less oblique example is recognizing that when a coworker makes an irritating remark.

He goes back to golf: Physical habits like this are easier to address by making some change to the object. Putting the remote in a different place. Instead of letting that result in a negative response. The trigger may not be his remark. No mention here as to how one might practice this.

He shifts to another habit. Perhaps it's a not a very good example because it requires another person to invoke the trigger? If your goal is to be presentminded.


Perfection is the perspective of others. The author observes the manner in which his own mind wanders. I've heard different people describe their minds as being noisy or quiet in idle moments. This is why those who seek happiness in the result are never as contented as those who seek happiness in the process.

A second step is to understand you will not always be able to do this. He also mentions the human tendency to daydream of the "perfect life". It enables them to be happy while they are working toward it. With this in mind. We recognize the need to be patient with others in society. And when people get the things they wanted. They are forever frustrated.

the practicing mind by thomas m. sterner pdf

Happiness belongs to those who take satisfaction at getting better at something rather than insisting on becoming "the best ever" at anything. Perception Change Creates Patience! The stressful pace of life in the present day has led to a general loss of patience. You can watch a ship sail to the horizon from the shore.

Switch to the negative quality of impatience. Striving for perfection is the same. Browsing forward. Simply stated. Life is endless and you never will achieve the point where it has achieved perfection. Another key practice for patience is understanding that you will never achieve true perfection in anything. The best you can do is to attend to the business of sailing.

It should be immediately obvious that an impatient person is not coping very well with the here-and-now because their mind is on some future moment when they will achieve what they presently desire. And your own sense of accomplishment at faking the results is sapped by the knowledge that you did not actually achieve them. When he is frustrated with a bad practice session and feels hopeless.

Pressing a few keys would play part or all of a popular song. Many people get into deep trouble with debt in this way. What it means is that you will never run out of room to grow. You might fool a few people into thinking you have a skill. They are the way to have the end results without making the effort.

The notion that perfection is impossible should not be discouraging. The author shares a story about taking lessons from a very talented pianist who felt he needed to work harder or he would "never get really good on the piano. Rewards that come at no cost are worth their price in terms of the satisfaction earned: In addition to coaching him to be better.

Just as with the self-playing organ. He also mentions in his own music study that he lays out long-term plans. Of particular importance is to focus on the process and not the goal. Said another way.

He also mentions credit cards as a form of instant gratification. To the author. He mentions seeing a few gathering dust in peoples' homes. The organs sold very well. Things always seem very hard until we've done them. The advice he offers is to pick a goal that you wish to achieve.

This is very empowering. By so doing you will free yourself of the frustration of your constant failure to achieve the end. The mind becomes paralyzed by complexity. In time. Large things can similarly be broken down into small ones to better focus the mind and avoid procrastination.

A simple and small task may still take a long time to finish. Consider the garage-cleaning example: He applied the same effort to being slow in unnecessary motions. Rushed work is bad work. From there. The Four "S" Words The author introduces four "S" worlds that are useful in developing control over one's own mind. A very simple task may still be very large. Reducing complex matters to simple steps helps to make them manageable and avoid mental fatigue.

Work at a pace that allows you to pay attention to what you are doing.

He had taken off his watch to avoid checking the time. He felt he must have been an hour late. He attributes the seeming speed to the elimination of waste. It took a lot of concentration just to hold himself back. Going slowly will also change your perception of time's passage because you will devote your energy to what you are doing and lose your sense of time. Doing so caused him great anxiety and the sense he was wasting time rather than moving quickly enough.

The paradox here is that by trying to work slowly. He also notes that he accomplished much that day. At the onset. He's applied this technique to other parts of his life. It is difficult to do so because our culture demands "faster" and we become automated in many activities and fail to pay attention. The point is that when following emergency procedures. It implies calmness. There is also the problem of the progression of ideals. Even when the outcome is a good judgment. Stirner suggests that equanimity can be achieved by avoiding judgment.

To judge something as good or bad requires developing a preconceived notion of the way it ought to be and comparing it to the way it was. I immediately notice this as being at odds with the cultural imperative to strive for perfection every time.

Assessment requires a fairly complex mental process. Judgments are important in life because they for the basis of goals: Back to evaluation: Equanimity and DOC "Equanimity" is a term that means mental calmness.

You don't second-guess yourself in a situation where it would be disastrous to do so. Stirner seems to take a bit of a turn.

So its likely that some balance is necessary: Each new experience must top all of the old. And it works.

Once we have had a good meal. People tend to evaluate everything. It is important to remain calm when listening to your inner voice. His biggest problem was that the archers were fixated on their scores or the outcome of their shots.

Switch to a story about a coach for the Olympic archery team. There is nothing we can do that will make us happy forever. When you think about them later. This is the basic method of practice for any activity. Just as the pilot learns to practice emergency procedures to regain control of his craft.

The notion that we will do something perfectly and never have to do it over again is nonsensical. We are taking ourselves out of the situation to think about the situation. There's some mention that our ideas change over time.

Correct Here. And moreover you may be listening to someone who is upset. In that sense most people have some experience calming themselves in a stressful situation. You are not merely a passive listener to your inner voice. This is something that can be practiced more often. Judging things as you experience them adds a layer of mental processing to the task of observation. It also applies your mental filters and causes you to miss important details. What would be ideal at age five is different to age ten.

You were so busy judging what you saw in one second that you failed to notice what happened in the next.

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This works because even when you are thinking on something. The author's suggestion for overcoming judgment is to attempt to become an observer. Gearing up for a job interview or an unpleasant discussion is a process of taking hold of your emotions in order to be calm.

In those situations. He mentions that the Asian teams were exactly the. Applying the DOC model to mental processes requires you to be aware of your patterns of thought. Just as with archery. Instead you work in shorter practice sessions at slower paces and gradually build up. And just as with practicing.. If you do not pay attention to what you are doing while taking the shot. The details of the example seem a bit odd. Stirner tells a personal story of blocking several weeks for a major project that was cancelled at the last minute.

It does not mean interfering with your patterns right away. Archery is very close to the "throwing balls into a can" task Stirner mentioned before: The end bit compares the process of training your mind to that of training for a marathon: There follows some random advice for parenting. Not much value in these hackneyed observations.

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These are more complex for adults. Children have to be taught the importance of "playing well" rather than winning Children have few prejudices and preconceptions Children don't think anything is impossible without trying. This too becomes wistful and hackneyed.

Germane to some of the points he's made in previous chapters: Teach and Learn from Children The author begins by suggesting that a parent teaches a child the lessons of their life. But in the space of a moment.

Hwoever if the practice itself is fun they will become deeply engrossed in it. This goes on a while and gets a bit wistful about the standard topics: Children tend to see things very simply. Some skills will grow while others will atrophy. Yet people invest so much time in earning temporary baubles than in improving themselves.

Sterner ebook. Subjects Self-Improvement Nonfiction. In those times when we want to acquire a new skill or face a formidable challenge we hope to overcome, what we need most are patience, focus, and discipline, traits that seem elusive or difficult to maintain.

In this enticing and practical book, Thomas Sterner demonstrates how to learn skills for any aspect of life, from golfing to business to parenting, by learning to love the process.

Early life is all about trial-and-error practice. If we had given up in the face of failure, repetition, and difficulty, we would never have learned to walk or tie our shoes. So why, as adults, do we often give up on a goal when at first we don't succeed? Modern life's technological speed, habitual multitasking, and promises of instant gratification don't help.

But in his study of how we learn prompted by his pursuit of disciplines such as music and golf , Sterner has found that we have also forgotten the principles of practice — the process of picking a goal and applying steady effort to reach it. The methods Sterner teaches show that practice done properly isn't drudgery on the way to mastery but a fulfilling process in and of itself, one that builds discipline and clarity.

By focusing on "process, not product," you'll learn to live in each moment, where you'll find calmness and equanimity. This book will transform a sense of futility around learning something challenging into an attitude of pleasure and willingness.

Self-Improvement Nonfiction.It's impossible to see oneself when we are in this state. Stephen Guise. Repetition is part of practice. Small Move, Big Change. In every moment of your struggle. Caroline L. Check in: Is that particular behavior working well or do you need to bring the student back on track? Fully Engaged.

Lets keep thinking of that flower and embrace the perfection of being right where we are as we cultivate our practicing mind and gracefully actualize our potential. It is all the more difficult for those who have fallen into the habit of being absent-minded.

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Browse my other articles. I absolutely love karate. I do relish reading novels lightly .