Post by: Garrison Polsgrove
Youth Discipleship Pastor at Shepherd Church

I must admit…I have a tendency to underestimate the length of time to takes to accomplish things. For example, my family and I recently moved out of our two-bedroom condo and I figured I could move everything out myself in one day….yeah…my estimate was way off! It actually took me 4 days, 3 vacation days, 5 additional guys, 1 exhausted body, and a $73 parking ticket (Why does the city need “street cleaning” anyway!?”…I digress). Nevertheless, all our things got moved but now I look back and think, “Why in the world did I ever think it would only take one day!?” My wife warned me it might take longer, but I’m pretty sure she knew I needed to figure that out on my own.

If you are anything like me, you tend to apply the, “Lets see how fast we can do this?” mentality to many things. For example, setting a timer to see how fast you can unload the dishwasher, figuring out the fastest route to work, seeing how quickly you can complete a to-do list, or even setting the count-down timer to see if the Jiffy Lube people really do change your car oil in a “jiffy” (did that today actually).

But honestly, I have found myself having that same, “Lets get this done!” mentality with my job. Thus, the only times I feel accomplished are the moments when something is completed. I wish it wasn’t so, because not much time passes from when a project is completed to when another project begins.

The book “The Practicing Mind” by Thomas Sterner opened my eyes to a new way of thinking. The book teaches you how to merely fall in love with the process of things rather than focusing primarily on the end result.

So, here are my new goals…at least for now…..

  • Live in the moment and take things as they come.
  • Give ample time for projects, not just because they require it, but so that I may enjoy it and not feel rushed.

In what areas in your life you need to slow down? When do you feel rushed? What steps can you take within that area to create margin for learning and enjoyment?

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:

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. When the proper mechanics of practice are understood, the task of learning something new becomes a stress-free experience of joy and calmness, a process which settles all areas in your life and promotes proper perspective on all of life’s difficulties.”
― Thomas M. Sterner, The Practicing Mind: Developing Focus and Discipline in Your Life

“When, instead, your goal is to focus on the process and stay in the present, then there are no mistakes and no judging. You are just learning and doing. You are executing the activity, observing the outcome, and adjusting yourself and your practice energy to produce the desired result. There are no bad emotions, because you are not judging anything.”
― Thomas M. Sterner, The Practicing Mind: Developing Focus and Discipline in Your Life

“The feeling “I’ll be happy when X happens” will never bring you anything but discontentment.”
― Thomas M. Sterner, The Practicing Mind: Developing Focus and Discipline in Your Life