The idea of a beginner mentality is central to Zen Buddhism: practitioners use the Japanese term soshin, which in English translates to “beginner mind.” This refers to openness, enthusiasm, and lack of bias in learning a subject, even when learning at an advanced level, as a beginner would.
People will not question your true motives when you seem serious and eager to learn. But, on the other hand, acting stupid can provide you with a valuable opportunity to ask questions that seem rude or inappropriate. In my experience, when you do this, you often ask more critical questions.
Sometimes playing the fool is the way to unlock innovation. An intelligent person who acts dumb may gradually lead you to his point of view. They are often assertive, show sympathy for your position, and progressively convince you that your ideas are wrong. The idea that you know little about the situation will encourage others to open up first.
Act like you’re doing what you’re doing for the first time and ask simple questions like what, why, and how. Keeping an open mind keeps you focused on the learning and discovery process. Put yourself in the shoes of a beginner, and you will learn more about what that mindset is.
Even if you have had similar experiences in the past when reading or researching, keep it open. We’re not omniscient. We often need to learn to let go of our preconceived notions of the world that we’ve been taught over the years.
The challenge for experts is to temporarily let go of the thoughts and concepts they have learned about the world to see the situation from a new perspective and with a sense of surprise. However, even if you are an expert, looking at life in the minds of beginners is a way to focus on openness, curiosity and retain a childlike sense of new ideas. In other words, it can help you look at old problems in a new light and determine new solutions.
My challenge to you: for the next 90 days, ask your team to temporarily ditch the ideas, concepts, and thoughts of their customers so they can approach each interaction from an entirely new perspective. Developing a beginner mindset will allow your team to retrain and completely change how they think about their customers. Looking at things this way re-opens new perspectives and opens up a world full of previously untapped opportunities. Looking at situations and problems with fresh eyes will allow you to find new ways to solve them.
Also, giving up your need to prove your point opens up an opportunity to learn something new. You are ready to study and view all the information like a child discovering something for the first time. However, as knowledge and skills develop, your mind naturally becomes more closed.
You tend to think, “I already know how to do it,” and are not very open to new information. However, seeing things as everything new does not mean that we start to act like idiots and let people use us again for their benefit. We are not talking about being a fool in the sense of being stupid or a fool. But a naughty and stupid joke, someone who is not afraid to make fun of himself.
A great example of a beginner’s mind is watching a child play freely and explore their surroundings. The child often experiences a lot for the first time – with this comes a feeling of openness and surprise, which determines a beginner’s mind. The beginner’s mind is a way of looking at the world without prejudice as if it were being seen for the first time.
The beginner’s mind adjusts to you when you want to learn something new / more. Unless you have a beginner mind, you cannot learn new things.
I faced the biggest challenges of my life when I lost sight of the beginner mentality when I tried to act like an expert, know-it-all. Therefore, I focus my attention on learning, reaching new understanding, and asking questions.
Humility is the ability not to take yourself too seriously, be willing to ask for help, admit that you are wrong, be ready to start over and choose a new path.
Intelligent people find it even more difficult because they get so used to always being right that it becomes part of their personality. For them, making a mistake may seem like a personal attack, but being right is a necessity. It’s not easy to give up your ego and face things with a fresh mind.
You have chosen a predetermined way of thinking before tackling the problem before you. If you enter a new project with preconceived ideas about the solution, you are missing out on green fields of opportunity. The quickest way to satisfy your curiosity is to ask questions. Asking questions is a beginner’s heart.