Dump: The Practicing Mind: Developing Focus and Discipline in Your Life — Master Any Skill or Challenge by Learning to Love the Process

the author is a musician. 书的作者的个人经验没有足够去写这种类型self-help书


  • focus on process instead of goal
  • 要制定reachable goal

而书the ONE thing

  • focus on one thing既是goal也是process
  • goal要难reachable的


  • 还是GTD的natural planning model好, 两种goal都包括 goal & wild success
  • 大脑有2个mode, diffuse mode和focused mode. 2种mode都有用处, 但self-help的书就会强调要一直在focused mode

    但是我的性格类型INTJ若一直呆在focus on 当下mode会很累,focus on ideas会很开心.
    我的疑惑: focus on ideas属于focus on present?

  • 作者说东方的国家,比如日本和中国, 是process oriented而不是goal oriented. 我想作者根本就没有了解过东方的国家

The author instructs the reader to remove emotion and judgement

  • 我希望能知道如何把emotion包含在生活中,而不是移调. INTJ的第三个function是emotion. 这方面,这本书不值得读
  • 作者号称不要judge, 但是他给的4 ‘S’ words: simplify, small (tasks), short (duration) and slow (deliberation) 就是一种judge. 生活中给标签就是一种judge, focus on present但是没有feedback是不能提高技能的,只会错误的事情做100次

Title: The Practicing Mind: Developing Focus and Discipline in Your Life — Master Any Skill or Challenge by Learning to Love the Process
Authors: Thomas M. Sterner
Edition: 1
Finished Date: 2017-05-12
Rating: 1
Language: English
Genres: Self-Help, Productivity
Level: Entry
Publishers: New World Library
Publication Date: 2012-04-10
ISBN: 978-1608680900
Format: Pdf
Pages: 168
Download: Mobi

summary from Amazon

  • Be present-minded
  • Focus on the process, not the final product/result/goal.
  • Paradoxically, cultivating either patience or self-discipline requires both of them.
  • Be non-judgmental, about yourself and your work.
  • Perfection is a never-ending quest and makes you judgmental.
  • Focus can be achieved by 4 ‘S’ words: simplify, small (tasks), short (duration) and slow (deliberation).
  • New habits are formed by practice (60 times per day, 21 days to a new habit).
  • Old habits are removed by a trigger, a “pre-shot” routine that diverts the focus from the goal to the process instead.

summary from goodreads

Highlights for me included:

  • Mastery is self-control and self-control requires an awareness of our thoughts: “If you are not in control of your thoughts, then you are not in control of yourself. Without self-control, you have no real power, regardless of whatever else you accomplish. If you are not aware of the thoughts that you think in each moment, then you are the rider with no reins, with no power over where you are going. You cannot control what you are not aware of. Awareness must come first.”

  • If we want to change our thoughts, we need to become aware of them: “Who is this second party who is aware that you are aware? The answer is your true self. The one who is talking is your ego or personality. The one who is quietly aware is who you really are: the Observer. The more closely you become aligned with the quiet Observer, the less you judge. Your internal dialogue begins to shut down, and you become more detached about the various external stimuli that come at you all day long. You begin to actually view your internal dialogue with an unbiased (and sometimes amused) perspective.”

  • It is a trap to focus too much on the product (goal) rather than the process: “What these are all saying is ‘focus on the process, not the product that the process was meant to achieve.’ It’s a paradox. When you focus on the process, the desired product takes care of itself with fluid ease. When you focus on the product, you immediately begin to fight yourself and experience boredom, restlessness, frustration, and impatience with the process. The reason for this is not hard to understand. When you focus your mind on the present moment, on the process of what you are doing right now, you are always where you want to be and where you should be. All your energy goes into what you are doing. However, when you focus your mind on where you want to end up, you are never where you are, and you exhaust your energy with unrelated thoughts instead of putting it into what you are doing. In order to focus on the present, we must give up, at least temporarily, our attachment to our desired goal.”

  • Again, same concept but with goal as rudder: “When you stay on purpose, focused in the present moment, the goal comes toward you with frictionless ease. However, when you constantly focus on the goal you are aiming for, you push it away instead of pulling it toward you. In every moment that you look at the goal and compare your position to it, you affirm to yourself that you haven’t reached it. In reality, you need to acknowledge the goal to yourself only occasionally, using it as a rudder to keep you moving in the right direction.”

  • Radical concept (I think) that the difference between fun and work is often just a decision (i.e., how we think about it): “I have found that the only difference between the two sorts of activities is that we prejudge them. We make a conscious decision that if we enjoy an activity, it is not work. So we must temporarily suspend our definition of work as referring to our daily vocation. Work, in this discussion, refers to any activity we don’t feel like doing, and though it could certainly include our job duties, or at least parts of them, it could also include any activity that we think is ‘undesirable’.”

  • Four S Words:

    • Simplify (When you work at a specific project or activity, simplify it by breaking it down into its component sections. Don’t set goals that are too far beyond your reach. Unrealistic goals create frustration and invite failure, which can make you doubt your abilities. The success of attaining each simple goal will generate motivation that propels you along in the process, and you won’t suffer the mental fatigue you experience when you bite off more than you can chew);
    • Small (… break down the overall goal into small sections that can be achieved with a comfortable amount of concentration. You will find that focusing on small sections is easier than focusing on the entire task and gives you repeatable success);
    • Short (You can survive just about anything for forty-five minutes.);
    • Slow (Incorporating slowness into your process is a paradox. What I mean by slow is that you work at a pace that allows you to pay attention to what you are doing.)
  • For me personally, aside from presence (and it is closely related), the practice of NON-JUDGMENT seems absolutely essential: “Judgment requires the process of evaluation, the process of comparison. This requires a point of relativity, an ideal. As I mentioned earlier in the book, judgments are always based on some preconceived idea of perfection. There is always an imagined ideal item, experience, or circumstance that allows us and even compels us to pass judgment. We compare the present situation either to an imagined ideal situation of the same nature or to a past situation of the same nature. When you are unaware that judgments are happening, they become self-perpetuating, and the ‘ideal’ is always evolving.”

  • If you slow down and act deliberately, the results will come.

  • Setting goals is a great way to drive yourself forward, but never feel unsatisfied with where you’re at… enjoy where you’re at, be thankful for what you’ve accomplished, and know that you’re exactly where you should be in your skills based on the time and effort you’ve spent to get there.

  • Mindfulness, discipline, and process will carry you a long, long way.

  • Avoid instant-gratification. Too often we think we want the cool new toy, or clothes, or whatever that we see… but very rarely do such things actually contribute to our overall happiness. Happiness comes from within. Also, if we avoid instant-gratification (accumulating things as soon as we’re excited about them), and instead wait a while (perhaps save up for the purchase or wait to reward ourselves for an accomplishment) the new thing will be that much more important because it wasn’t based on a desire to get something now, but rather something that we earned and truly wanted.

  • Always consider the big picture. So many of our ‘things’ come and go, but by instead investing in ‘ourselves’ we can accumulate a wealth of skills and expertise, as well as develop habits for a happy, well-balanced, and successful life.

  • Have self-discipline, stay focused and be completely present while enjoying the process.

  • Avoid instant-gratification and dis-empowering questions like: Can I ever ever achieve this goal? It this really meant to be?

  • We should be aware of how we are doing and continually make efforts to improve and get closer towards our goals.