Today, I wanted to summarise the learnings from one of my favourite books, The Practicing Mind by Thomas M. Sterner.
I got a lot from this book, and the concept that you need discipline and patience to see results really resonated with me.
The author refers to learning the piano. You need discipline to practice and patience to become good at it. And you need both of them, and in many ways, once you understand this, then you can let go of the outcome of playing the piano well, to simplify focusing on practice, and give yourself the time (patience) to succeed.
The Book in Three Sentences
“Real peace and contentment in our lives come from realising that life is a process to engage in, a journey down a path that we can choose to experience as magical.”
“When we subtly shift toward focusing on and finding joy in the process of achieving instead of having the goal, we have gained a new skill. And once mastered, it is magical and incredibly empowering.”
“With deliberate and repeated effort, progress is inevitable.
The Practicing Mind Summary
- If you are not in control of your thoughts, then you are not in control of yourself.
- A paradox of life: The problem with patience and discipline is that developing each of them requires both of them.
- We erroneously think that there is a magical point that we will reach, and then we will be happy.
- When we subtly shift toward both focusing on and finding joy in the process of achieving instead of having the goal, we have gained a new skill. And once mastered, it is magical and incredibly empowering.
- However, the practicing mind is quiet. It lives in the present and has laser-like, pinpoint focus and accuracy. It obeys our precise directions, and all our energy moves through it. Because of this, we are calm and completely free of anxiety. We are where we should be at that moment, doing what we should be doing and completely aware of what we are experiencing. There is no wasted motion, physically or mentally.
- When you focus your mind on the present moment, on the process of what you are doing right now, you are always where you want to be and where you should be.
- To focus on the present, we must give up, at least temporarily, our attachment to our desired goal.
- Remember, judgment redirects and wastes our energy.
In summary, creating the practicing mind comes down to a few simple rules: Keep yourself process-oriented. Stay in the present. Make the process the goal and use the overall goal as a rudder to steer your efforts. Be deliberate, have an intention about what you want to accomplish, and remain aware of that intention.
Have a great day,