April 20, 2012

The Practicing Mind by Thomas M. Sterner

The Practicing Mind by Thomas M. Sterner is a great resource for helping anyone to re-learn how to better focus your mind to learn any new skill that you want to know how to do better. The key to this is remembering how to be present in the process, and appreciate the process instead of just wanting to reach the end goal you set for yourself.

Book Description
Master any skill or challenge by learning to love the process

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.” – The Practicing Mind

My Thoughts
The Practicing Mind gives great examples for showing how slowing down and appreciating the process of something is so important when learning how to do something.

The easiest example to relate to that is mentioned in the book is driving. Think about it, when we learned how to drive, we were fully aware of everything going on and really focusing on all of the tasks that go with it. However, now that we have been driving for a long time, we do other things while driving, such as listening to the radio, singing to the radio, having a conversation, etc. We just drive and don’t really focus on all of the little things that go with driving. The author suggested to not do anything but drive the next time we had to drive, and focus on driving. I tried it, and it isn’t easy. My mind wandered and I really wanted to turn on my iPod. It proved the point very quickly though.

The stories and tips included on staying in the present moment and really focused are memorable enough to help with actually doing this for yourself. I found the book to be incredibly valuable and something that everyone could benefit from.

* Thank you to the publisher of The Practicing Mind, New World Library, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That is so true about driving a car!