Thomas M. Sterner has studied Eastern and Western philosophy and modern sports psychology and trained as a jazz pianist. For more than twenty-five years, he served as the chief concert piano technician for a major performing arts center. He prepared and maintained the concert grand piano for hundreds of world-renowned (and demanding) musicians and symphony conductors, and his typical workday required constant interaction with highly disciplined and focused artists. At the same time, he operated a piano re-manufacturing facility, rebuilding vintage pianos to factory-new condition.
Sterner has parlayed what he learned from his profession into a love of practice. He is an accomplished musician, private pilot, student of archery, and avid golfer, and practicing these activities fills his spare time. He has also worked in the sound and video arts fields as a recording engineer, audio and video editor and processor, and composer.
He has produced a radio show about The Practicing Mind and continues to teach his techniques to businesspeople and at sports clinics. He lives in Wilmington, Delaware.
What inspired you to write The Practicing Mind?
As a child growing up I was very creative with a wonderful imagination. Unfortunately, I was also quite undisciplined and didn’t stay with any task for very long. A creative mind without the discipline to propel it forward is like Cinderella with her beautiful coach and no horse to pull it. You never get to the ball.
What saved me from a lifetime of unfulfilled potential and goals that were never reached was my self-awareness. From an early age I was aware of both my internal dialogue and the feelings I experienced by listening to it. I was aware that I followed the same path almost every time I undertook any new endeavor, certainly the ones that took longer to accomplish. Because I was aware that I usually gave up on my goals, I felt I had no real self- power. If I couldn’t see a goal, which I had chosen myself, through to its completion than what power did I really have in regards to choosing my own destiny? What could I really look forward to? I felt a lack of self-confidence and I am sure it affected my self image.
Things began to change during my late teens and through my college years. By the time I was in my late 20’s, I realized that I had done a complete turn around and become extremely focused and even known by those around me as possessing a very disciplined mind. That was when I began to want to understand the changes that had occurred within me seemingly very quietly and without struggle. It was that contemplative reflection and the desire to share what I had learned with others that inspired me to write The Practicing Mind.