The Practicing Mind | Thomas M. Sterner

Summary of: The Practicing Mind: Developing Focus and Discipline in Your Life — Master Any Skill or Challenge by Learning to Love the Process
By: Thomas M. Sterner


In the book ‘The Practicing Mind: Developing Focus and Discipline in Your Life – Master Any Skill or Challenge by Learning to Love the Process’ by Thomas M. Sterner, the author aims to help us break free from the unrealistic expectations set by society and reshape our perspectives when it comes to self-improvement and goal-setting. Sterner believes that constant anxiety and an insatiable strive for the unreachable perfect life can be detrimental to our well-being, productivity, and general happiness. The book summary delves into the art of focusing on the present moment, embracing the process, and practical techniques to overcome common pitfalls such as procrastination and high expectations.

The Problem with Perfection

As humans, we all have a common flaw – striving for unattainable ideals. This often leads to frustration and anxiety when we compare ourselves to others or what we see in the media. While high expectations can inspire us to work harder, we often use them as mere objects of comparison, which can lead to constantly pushing ourselves to reach goals that we don’t truly value. The key to overcoming this happiness-zapping mindset is to make some changes in how we engage with our ideals. Find out more in the next parts.

Overcoming Procrastination

When facing a looming deadline, procrastination creeps in, hampering productivity and causing stress. The reason behind this is our focus on the future, which seems distant, leading to anxiety. Instead, we should concentrate on the present moment. By keeping our attention on the process, we make progress and stay motivated. Goals are essential, but we should not let them discourage us. They are a means to steer our actions in the right direction. Sensibly responding to problems is crucial. We should objectively evaluate what’s working and what’s not, adjust, and improve. Like bowling, we shouldn’t let the first try’s results determine the outcome. Shift your perspective, focus on the now, use goals as a rudder, and respond sensibly to problems to overcome procrastination.

Achieving Large Goals

Setting smaller goals that lead towards an overarching goal makes larger goals achievable. Completing simple tasks creates a sense of satisfaction, motivating you to keep working towards your goal. Allowing yourself time to complete your tasks thoroughly and efficiently helps you achieve your goals without creating stress.

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