Imagine this. You have a few years of professional experience in something. You’ve proven yourself to work as a corporate cog in an even bigger machine. You know how to learn quickly & be efficient in the scope of your work today. But suddenly, you are re-assigned to a completely different effort.
You’re anxious, unsure of your ability, afraid for the future. You may even be excited and ready for something new.
Enter the Beginner’s Mind
There’s an attitude that will keep you successful in these situations, and it’s called “Beginner’s Mind”. It means having an aptitude of being open, eager, and leaving any preconceptions at the door when learning something new.
The beginner’s mindset provides you an infinite amount of possibilities. The reason being is that you’re not locked into your previous experiences or understanding of the world. Rather you actively follow your curiosity and act intuitively.
Each of your experiences working with something new become better when you don’t have to worry about being disappointed or frustrated. Instead, you’re able to learn like a student again from the many experts who can explain their expertise. Even if you’re an expert among the group, you’re able to make tremendous impact by asking questions and taking action on difficult problems.
If you’ve ever watched a Marvel movie or use inventions like the internet, you’ve likely come across the outcomes of fresh perspectives leading creative projects. Both Marvel and DARPA use a concept known as “Inexperienced Experience” which is a fancy way for saying that they have limits to the legacy one person can build in the company before they have to move to a new project.
Marvel famously changes directors for every major film series they produce. They do this to not limit the possibilities of the Marvel universe. If you’ve ever seen a Marvel movie, you’ll be able to see the director’s influence on the characters & story.
DARPA also has a similar rule inside the organization in which a project manager can only be on a project for a certain amount of time before they will be re-assigned. DARPA if you aren’t familiar have created inventions like the internet, GPS, GUI, Siri, and more.
Practicing Beginner’s Mind
To practice beginner’s mind is a practice of mindfulness. It’s about knowing your strengths and weaknesses. It’s about knowing how to make your growth and learning visible to others so you can get feedback on mistakes early. It’s about taking on challenges that you intuitively feel are the right challenges to take on regardless of how difficult they may be.
The best ways to practice this are the following:
- Getting Feedback
- Asking Questions
- Confronting Challenges
- Being Accountable