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Book: The Practicing Mind


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Just finished listening to the audio book "The Practicing Mind" by Thomas Sterner.


It's premise is how to get things done better and quicker by focused attention. It was a pretty easy listen and short. Despite its length, it still provided some valuable insights and reminders to getting things done in a more efficient manner.


Some key points I took away:


don't multitask - we've been brought up to try to accomplish multiple things at once and constantly divide our attention to multiple tasks. However, more often than not, this causes us to do everything in a less efficient manner and ends up taking more of our time and mental resources. Instead, focus on doing a single task slowly and deliberately, paying close attention to the individual actions that you take to complete it. It's actually quite difficult to focus on a single task and do it slowly, as our ADD society has taught us to always be seeking new stimulus and gratification.


focus on the process - our society places everything on the end result, our grade, achieving a skill or goal, getting the girl, where instead we should be focusing on the process. By focusing on the process we ensure that in whatever we do, we always succeed. We learn to love the act of doing the task rather than stressing over the end result and we gain motivation by always progressing and succeeding at the task, because the task is practicing. I personally still have a lot of trouble doing this. The author's suggestion for making it a habit is to take any task, and break it down into its component parts. Focus on each component and that single component alone, practice and improve it slowly and deliberately, and set a limit for how much time you'll dedicate to it in a single day. By being process oriented in your approach to each component, you'll see progress and succeed because your goal was to practice the process.


separate your ego from your true self - the author pointed out something I'd often never considered. We often have an internal monologue or voice that says things to us, whether it be predicting potential outcomes or criticizing our actions, or just considering important tasks. We often refer to this as "talking to ourselves" even if it's only in our own head. This is not an inaccurate description, but who is listening? That, the author says, is our true self. The self that is neutral to the world and simply does what is necessary. The voice talking to us is our ego, and it is always judging, evaluating, and criticizing us. This is its role and its purpose is to move us forward and improve us even when it can be self-defeating. By becoming more "one" with our true self, and less affected by the voice of our ego, we are able to accomplish more and be a stronger person. We can take what the ego says and evaluate its worth, because it is sometimes valuable, but if we remain neutral and unaffected by it (as we might be to a belligerent person in reality) then we are able to accomplish what needs to be done.


I bought the audio book off of audible for $0.99 so it was a pretty good value. A bit short at 3 hours, for an audio book, but considering the cost and value of content, I'd say it was pretty good.



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