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The Practicing Mind: Developing Focus and Discipline in Your Life

The Practicing Mind: Developing Focus and Discipline in Your Life [Kindle Edition]

Thomas M. Sterner
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Early life is all about trial-and-error practice. If we’d given up in the face of failure, repetition, and difficulty, we’d never have learned to walk, tie our shoes, or ride a bike. So why, as adults, do we often throw in the towel 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 experiences as a musician and adult newbie golfer), Thomas Sterner has found that we have also lost 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 of building focus, mind-calming clarity, and joy-filled effort in and of itself. The practicing mind savors the baby steps that lead to great strides.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 402 KB
  • Print Length: 168 pages
  • Publisher: New World Library; Reprint edition (12 April 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007C8NRSA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #42,234 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By Robert Morris TOP 500 REVIEWER
For almost three decades, K. Anders Ericsson and his associates at Florida State University have been conducting research on peak performance and the results clearly indicate that "deliberate practice" under expert supervision is far more important to success (however defined) than are talent and luck, although they have significance. This is precisely what Thomas Sterner has in mind when asserting that those who master the new skill to which the title of this review refers will possess "such qualities as self-discipline, focus, patience, and self awareness." Moreover, he adds that these "all-important virtues are interwoven threads in the fabric of true inner peace and contentment in life."

I agree with Sterner (who agrees with Ericsson) that it is impossible to exaggerate the importance of practice. "Everything in life worth achieving requires practice. In fact, life itself is nothing more than one long practice session, an endless effort of refining our motions." Recall the reference to "deliberate practice," also called "deep practice." On average, peak performance in the creative and performing arts as well as in chess and competitive sports requires at least 10,000 hours of such practice (albeit difficult, repetitious, and boring pracice) under strict, expert supervision. Does that substantial commitment of time and energy guarantee success? No, but superior performance cannot be achieved without it.

As Sterner explains, he eventually became "immersed" - in his mid-30s -- in practice after intensely disliking it for years and even abandoning it altogether. What he learned about music growing up "laid the foundation" that would later help him to understand both the mental and struggles in which he found himself when searching for answers.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Short and highly actionable 17 Mar 2013
By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a procrastinator and a bit of a dreamer I am finding this short book incredibly helpful. Thomas Sterner uses his own life story as a musician, piano tuner, parent and student to present an effective and rather liberating approach to practice. I say liberating because because Sterner advises using a detached, non-judgemental approach to practice feedback which, paradoxically perhaps, makes it easier to keep yourself happily immersed in the practice process.

I was lucky enough to go skiing a couple of weeks ago, which can be frustrating because I've been a few times over the years but never frequently enough to get really confident. This time I quite naturally started using the Practicing Mind approach on my pre-ski-school day, polishing my turns on some relatively easy runs, and by the time I got into class I was turning mindfully and correctly even on slopes which would have rattled me in the past. To my astonishment, I was literally applauded by our ESF instructor after one descent, for practicing and assimilating her tips.

If you read this and want to take it further by following up Sterner's hints about the helpfulness of meditation, I'd recommend Martin Borosen's "One Moment Master" for absolute beginners, and Martine Batchelor's "Let Go: A Buddhist Guide to Breaking Free of Habits" to follow that. If you are wondering whether you could make this part of a corporate culture, there's a surprising amount of overlap with another book I happened to read recently, Mike Rother's "Toyota Kata: Managing People for Improvement, Adaptiveness and Superior Results".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple, straight to the point, great book 1 Mar 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the first review that i write.
The book is easy to read, not complicated thoughts, straight to the point, as the truth always is (our thoughts about the truth is another thing).
I can sense that if people follow in a daily basis the advice that the author has given, not gurus, not spiritual trips, not crazy stuff is needed.
Read this book and put the simple advice in practice.
i guess most of my early dreams didn't materialise because i didn't follow what the author share with us. But i am not death yet. :)
Thanks Thomas Sterner
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A worthy read 21 May 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
A very practical book - written in everyday language. Refreshingly (For me anyway) not written by a academic or a spiritual guru. This book gave me easy to follow methods which I have found not only to work but to be life changing. Judging by the lack of reviews which Im surprised at, maybe a bit basic for some - but to me it gives you the nuts and bolts, and I love this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't be put off by the cover... 26 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This little book provides some interesting and valuable insights into how to learn anything. And despite the title and cover design of the book, it is in fact, quite practical in its approach. Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 16 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have had this book on my Kindle for a while and still refer to it often. When I am allowing myself to be harassed by chasing the outcome and rushing the process it reminds me to slow down and it is astonishing how much more effective that is. I have found this book invaluable in many parts of my life not least performing those necessary daily tasks in support of my family with a more positive attitude giving a better result. I am very grateful for this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable 11 Dec 2013
By Jock
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I liked this book from the first paragraphs and have started to try to use the techniques that i suggests and i plan to read again as is quite short. My only problem with it is that in what is already a small book 22% of it is the index. I found this disappointing because as i already said it is quite a small book and to get to 78% and turn the page and im in the index was disappointing.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars like advice from a wise friend
The key message of the book could be summarised in a very few pages (other comments already do a good job of this) but then the objective of the book would not be attained - it is... Read more
Published 2 days ago by Smallcloud
4.0 out of 5 stars Simple but effective
I searched for a book to help with controlling my thoughts, particularly in relation to panic. What I got was a book that helps in this area and every other area of my life, from... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Kerry
4.0 out of 5 stars worth a read
Enjoyed this book and would recommend you read it, some really good points and advice, have read it twice now
Published 2 months ago by jb007
5.0 out of 5 stars Turn that corner
This book has helped me to turn a corner, and I wished I had read it years ago. It takes all that energy that gets scattered by troubling thoughts and puts them in a neat place so... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Rosie Sooknanan
5.0 out of 5 stars Reread again and again every time you find yourself in an unwanted,...
This is a book to reread again and again every time you find yourself in an unwanted hurry of living your life. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Bob van den Hoek
5.0 out of 5 stars Really good read
I liked the book a lot. The key thing I took from the book is to focus on the process rather than the product, but still be aware of the product. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Jack Ellis
5.0 out of 5 stars How to master any skill? Enjoy the process and the results will come
This book, whilst being short, is packed with wisom on how to master any skill with the idea that you need to get let go of results and start enjoying the process of praticing. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Harry Matadeen
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