“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.” -Shunryu Suzuki
This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending a good friend's party for her one-year-old girl.
There were kids of all ages running around and eating too much sugar. One little girl, after my own heart, was rocking a Wonder Woman costume as her outfit. Cuteness overload, but I digress.
I was fascinated watching the little ones who hadn't mastered the art of walking yet. They would get a determined look on their face, put their sticky fingers on something to hoist themselves up, take a step or two, and...plop back down. They'd wait a minute and then repeat the cycle.
It got me thinking about the beauty of being a beginner, and how often as adults we resist it and hold ourselves back in the process. We tend to shy away from anything we have to be a beginner at, especially the high-achieving, perfectionists among us.
We often forget that everything we're good, great, or an expert at, we were once like those toddlers, stumbling.
For many of us, it's been years since we've had to step into the space of being a beginner.
As a society, we respect and honor experts. We idolize those who have mastered their craft and put them on pedestals.
We tend to compare our ugly duckling status with the experts' polished swan stage and wonder what's wrong with us. We forget that those experts we look to were beginners once, and we're witnessing the result of many years in. And we think, "I'll never get there. I can't do that. It's too hard. It's impossible."
So, we quit before we even begin.
Beginner classes, beginner levels. Ugh.
After all, being a beginner is full of awkward falls and mistakes. It's a far cry from perfection. As beginners, we put ourselves in a vulnerable space where we're exposed to criticism. And who wants that?
Being a beginner pokes holes in our ever-fragile ego.
So often, in our goal-oriented, fast-paced, instant-gratification world, we fixate on the end result. We want it now, done for us, complete with the filtered image to post on social media. We forget as Tony Robbins says, "It's what you practice in private that you will be rewarded for in public.”
As I watched those little kids, I thought about the beauty of being a beginner.
There is power and massive room for growth when we embrace being a beginner. Even for the experts out there, adopting a beginner mindset can shed new light and life into your work.
Beginners are willing to try, fall down, and pick themselves back up. It is the beginner who is willing to learn and set a new foundation. Beginners are also more likely to receive feedback and have breakthroughs.
A sea of new possibilities opens up for the beginner. Beginners stretch themselves past their current comfort zone, extending their reach. They expand their capacity.
Adopting a beginner mindset can crack the need to be right. It can open our mind and shift our perspective to see new ideas, possibilities, and even opportunities that an expert mindset(who knows everything) might miss.
I'd love to encourage you to adopt the exploration and fearlessness of those little kids I watched learning to walk. Where can you open yourself up to adopting a beginner's mindset? Let me know in the comments below!
Since I've mastered the art of walking, at least most days, I'm playing along and applying a beginner's mindset to my business. I'll be back next week to share a new business beginning!
P.S. Know someone else who might like this blog? I'd be ever so grateful if you shared it with them!