Developing a Beginner’s Mind
Most of us strive at mastery in areas of life. We want to be experts at our job. Be well-liked in our social groups. Raise our children perfectly. But what if there is value in not being an expert? What if being new at something has it’s benefits?
Why Start Over?
The concept of developing a beginner’s mind is simple. You approach skills, thought processes and problems in your life with the mindset of a beginner. Wipe away your preconceived notions on the topic. Then, when you mind is clear, you can re-examine with out baggage from the past.
The benefits to beginner’s mind often starts with mental freedom it entails.
Here is a career example. As a person in marketing for my business, I’m frequently trying to find new and creative ways to reach our target audience. Without a beginner’s mind, I’d be like many marketers who end up repeating similar campaigns again, and again. However, with a “blank slate”, I often find myself ready to view my campaigns from a new perspective, and source new ideas for future marketing.
Here is a personal relationship example. Due to recent social gatherings, a particular friend of a friend has been around often. I continually found myself being annoyed with their presence, and frustrated that my friend was bringing them. This person has personality traits that make them overly passionate about topics. Realizing that it wasn’t healthy to be upset at the situation, I shifted to a beginner’s mindset. I quickly realized two important things:
- This person was important to my friend.
- The grievances I had with this person are mostly due to MY poor response to their particular personality traits.
How to Develop Beginner’s Mind
My best advice for developing a beginner’s mind is to use meditation. This will allow you to get outside of your emotional head the easiest, then reexamine your approach.
If you are already practicing meditation, great! In your practice, softly bring up the concept of a beginner’s mind. Don’t try to solve your problems through your meditation, just allow your mind to introduce the concept of a “fresh start”.
If meditation is not your thing, try my other favorite path, physical movement. Go for a long walk, run, lift weights… whatever you do to unwind. Focus on the exercise first, allowing your mind to be unhinged from the daily emotional grind. Then, and only then, plant the seed of a beginner’s mind for a situation that is need of it.