The Practicing Mind Book Summary - The Practicing Mind Book explained in key points
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The Practicing Mind summary

Thomas M. Sterner

Developing Focus and Discipline in Your Life

3.9 (174 ratings)
10 mins

Brief summary

'The Practicing Mind' by Thomas M. Sterner is a self-help book that emphasizes the importance of focusing on the process, rather than the end result. It encourages readers to practice awareness and patience in all aspects of life, leading to increased success and fulfillment.

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    The Practicing Mind
    Summary of 4 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 4

    Because we raise our expectations of ourselves, we never feel satisfied.  

    Sometimes it seems that, no matter how much you practice something, there’s always going to be someone out there who does it a little bit better than you. It’s frustrating, to be sure. And it can shape our attitude toward several aspects of our lives. But why do we feel frustrated by this in the first place?

    If there’s one flaw that all humans have in common, it’s striving for ideals that simply aren’t attainable. We’ve all got a picture in our minds of what we believe is a perfect life, making our real lives seem inadequate by comparison. Some of us want a better job, some of us want more friends, and some of us want to change our appearance.

    You probably aren’t surprised to hear that these high expectations are fed by mass media and marketing. Think of all the polished, perfect and wealthy people that are featured in magazines and advertisements. Nearly all products marketed to us today are made desirable by convincing us that our lives just won’t be as good without them.

    Of course, high expectations aren’t all bad. We can use images of a better life to inspire us to work hard and achieve more. Unfortunately, we tend to use them as nothing more than objects of comparison. We compare our performance to our colleagues’ performance in the workplace. When we look in the mirror, we’re keen to compare our appearances with those we see on the street.

    And there’s yet another problem with the way we engage with our ideals. Rather than working toward one goal and feeling satisfied when we achieve it, we raise our expectations as we achieve more. This means that our ideals move further away from us, and we’re stuck constantly pushing ourselves to reach goals that we don’t value once we achieve them.

    In short, the feeling that we’re never good enough is a source of constant anxiety for us all. But what if we don’t want to feel anxious all the time? Well, then it’s time to make some changes. Find out more in the following blinks.

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    What is The Practicing Mind about?

    The Practicing Mind (2005) offers a smart and simple solution to handling anxiety when working toward our goals. These blinks show the impact our expectations have on our productivity, and reveals steps you can take to live in the present, enjoy your progress and really get things done.

    The Practicing Mind Review

    The Practicing Mind (2012) by Thomas M. Sterner is an insightful exploration of how to cultivate focus, discipline, and mindfulness in our everyday lives. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It offers practical strategies for developing a focused mindset, helping readers achieve more with less effort.
    • By combining personal experiences, analogies, and anecdotes, the book is relatable and easy to connect with.
    • With its engaging storytelling and emphasis on the journey of self-improvement, it keeps readers captivated and motivated throughout.

    Best quote from The Practicing Mind

    The practicing mind puts you in control of even the most difficult situations and allows you to work with less effort and negative emotion at any activity.

    —Thomas M. Sterner
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    Who should read The Practicing Mind?

    • Students struggling to overcome procrastination
    • Creatives beginning a new long-term project
    • Freelancers who feel like their work keeps piling up

    About the Author

    Thomas M. Sterner studied Eastern and Western philosophy and modern sports psychology. Working as the chief concert technician for a major performing arts center, he prepared and maintained the venue’s concert grand piano for hundreds of world-renowned musicians. He also produced a radio show about the practicing mind and continues to teach his techniques to businesspeople and at sports clinics.

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    The Practicing Mind FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Practicing Mind?

    The main message of The Practicing Mind is to focus on the process rather than the outcome.

    How long does it take to read The Practicing Mind?

    The reading time for The Practicing Mind varies depending on the reader, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in 15 minutes.

    Is The Practicing Mind a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Practicing Mind is worth reading because it offers practical techniques to improve focus and increase productivity.

    Who is the author of The Practicing Mind?

    The author of The Practicing Mind is Thomas M. Sterner.

    What to read after The Practicing Mind?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Practicing Mind, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The Now Habit by Neil Fiore
    • The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson
    • The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
    • The Procrastination Cure by Damon Zahariades
    • Willpower by Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney
    • Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy
    • Living the 80/20 Way by Richard Koch
    • The Marshmallow Test by Walter Mischel
    • Deep Work by Cal Newport
    • Procrastination by Jane B. Burka & Lenora M. Yuen