Mind Like Water

I bought Getting Things Done last year hoping to get some serious help with my procrastination problem and learn a way to organize my stuff. Doing research for many years, the pile of research papers I accumulated online and offline are beyond getting organized. I have read about the book and that it is a national bestseller so I decided to give it a try. As I said I bought it early last year, I read half of it applied couple of things and then never open it again. Today, I decided to read it again and really put my mind into it.

I will try to post some excerpt from the book, hopefully it will help me and you apply some of the techniques mentioned in the book. Here is an excerpt of a concept called “mind like water.” I liked its meaning:


In karate there is an image that’s used to define the position of perfect readiness: “mind like water.” Imagine throwing a pebble into a still pond. How does the water respond? The answer is, totally appropriately to the force and mass of the input; then it returns to calm. It doesn’t overreact or underreact.

… Anything that causes you to overreact or underreact can control you, and often does. Responding inappropriately to your e-mail, your staff, your projects, your unread magazines, your thoughts about what you need to do, your children, or your boss will lead to less effective results than you’d like. Most people give either more or less attention to things than they deserve, simply because they don’t operate with a “mind like water.”


9 thoughts on “Mind Like Water

  1. Jarrad,

    Here are my two cents; change usually fails because it is sudden, but this does not mean that gradual change is the solution.

    My advice, try to identify some traits or patterns in your daily behavior that might be evolved to help you organize yourself. Do not theorize too much; do not set a mental map, just set yourself a goal without presetting the route or the time frame. You find that route by trial and error 🙂 I would love to give the rationale behind this, but it is of minimal importance, and it is contradicting to a pragmatic way of living to give rationales 🙂 good luck

    1. Thanks for the advice. I agree, trail-and-error might be a good way to find my own way of being organized. What might work for some may not work for me. I tried many methods some were very efficient but after a while I stop. I found the best way that will work for me is to get rich and higher a personal assistant 🙂

  2. i think i have this problem too.. my to-do list is growing larger and larger every month, even there are a lot of small stuff that can be achieved easily, please let me know if this book really helpful, i am really considering to buy it.

    1. I used tens of to-do-list software but didn’t stick to any. But many recommend that the to-do-list needs to be restructured. I used to have a PDA and now I use an iPod. Outlook, calendar and notes in the iPod work like a charm for me in keeping me organized with schedules. When it comes to times I am very punctual.
      One to-d0-list that I recommend and it is one of the best is by Steven Covey in his book First Things First.
      Instead of one long list he used 4 quadrant to write his to-do; urgent, not-urgent, important, and not-important. They are used in a matrix so for example one quadrant would be important-not urgent and so on.

      The book I am reading now is a little different because I want to learn how to organize my research papers and other stuff. My problem is I archived all my papers but after some time I get bored and just throw papers on the desk I need to be motivated to always archive the new articles.

    1. From your react I can say that you usually oveoverreact not underreact, am I right? Just joking 🙂
      It is definitely hard to acquire such technique but may be one can teach him/her-self to have a mind like water to judge things thoroughly and act wisely.

  3. l heard about your book and i like to read it , I live in united state but i want the arabic copy . where can I buy it ?

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