The Zen concept of “beginner’s mind” has become important across fields and practices for its ability to maximize possibility, success, and awareness. If you want to get unstuck, be more creative and uncover ideas for new breakthroughs, it’s good to shift into the beginner’s mind.
“Everybody knows that some things are simply impossible until somebody who doesn’t know that makes them possible.”
- Albert Einstein
You may uncover interesting points and see things from new perspectives. The more experts know, the more they realize that they only know so little. And they do not feel insecure by admitting they don’t have the answers. In the process, they challenge conventional approaches and uncover revolutionary ideas.
To make the process of cultivating beginner’s mind in a given scenario easier, try these 10 exercises:
Identify Your Expectations, And Flip Them Around
What have you assumed to be true about this experience or topic? Can you 100% know that it’s true? What would happen if you did the opposite?
With known topics, you tend to operate on autopilot. By deliberately slowing down, you can force yourself to experience each step of a given activity more deeply. Physically slow down your movements, and your mind tends to follow.
When you think you know how something will go, resist the temptation to assume. Instead, take time to wait and see. Can you really know that it will happen in the way you assumed it will?
Break The Topic Down into Building Blocks
Try to distill the topic or exercise into a simpler form. What are the basic elements at play here? How do they relate to one-another? Which elements are most important? Which could you get rid of?
Get Curious by Channeling Your Inner Five-Year-Old
Ask someone to explain a problem or subject to you in as simple language as possible. Don’t assume anything. Ask them the simplest questions, like “Why?” & “How does that work?” , “Why do you do it that way?” and “Can you say more about that?” (Or, swap roles, and try your hand at explaining it in the simplest language possible.)
Eliminate “Should” From Your Vocabulary
It’s fine to make hypotheses about how something will go. But “should”s attach yourself to an outcome. Let go of any expected outcome to remain open to broader possibilities.
Get Rid of Your Extra Arrows
If you were learning archery for the first time, and had a quiver full of arrows, you might not consider your first shot very thoroughly. After all, if it doesn’t go well, you know you have more attempts. But what if the instructor only gave you one arrow? How might you approach things differently if you knew you only had one shot at it? Seek understanding, and do so mindfully.
Detach from Your Ego’s Desire to Be Seen as an Expert
The ego likes to protect itself by knowing things and being right. But being right is rarely the real goal. Focus instead on seeing reality as it is, without bias.
Get Fully Present to The Experience at Hand
Open your senses to what you’re experiencing, as if you’d never experienced it before. What do you see/hear/smell/feel/taste? What patterns exist? Why is it confusing? (Why?) What makes sense? (Why?)
Meditate to Practice Seeing Clearly, Without Judgment
In mindfulness meditation, the practice is to non-judgmentally observe the rising and passing of thoughts, emotions, and sensations in the present moment. In meditation, notice when you begin to expect how things should go, like what you’ll feel, or what you’ll think. This awareness of expectation provides an opportunity to let go, and return to your breathing. Remind yourself that every meditation is different, and that each breath is unique. Then, open yourself to the next breath…And the next…
Benefits of Practice beginner’s mind with an activity:
You aren’t clouded by prejudgments, preconceptions, fantasies about what it should be or assumptions about how you already know it will be. When you don’t have these, you can’t be disappointed or frustrated by the experience, because there’s no fantasy or preconception to compare it to.
If you are talking to someone else, instead of being frustrated by them because they aren’t meeting your ideal, you can see them with fresh eyes and notice that they’re just trying to be happy, that they have good intentions (even if they’re not your intentions), and they are struggling just like you are. This transforms your relationship with the person.
Learn More : 5 Persuasion Hacks to Change Anyone’s Mind
If you’re procrastinating on a big work task, you could look at it with beginner’s mind and instead of worrying about how hard the task will be or how you might fail at it. You can be curious about what the task will be like. You can notice the details of doing the task, instead of trying to get away from them.
If you have an upcoming event or meeting that you’re anxious about … instead of worrying about what might happen, you can open yourself up to being curious about what will happen, let go of your preconceived ideas about the outcome and instead embrace not knowing, embrace being present and finding gratitude in the moment for what you’re doing and who you’re meeting.
As you can see, the practice of beginner’s mind can transform any activity, get rid of a lot of our difficulties, allow us to be more flexible, open, curious, grateful, present. I’m not saying all of this happens magically. It takes lot of exercise and patience, but it’s worth to develop beginner’s mindset.
Do you know any other exercises to develop beginner’s mind? Comment them on Trdinoo for others to learn. Please subscribe and share us with your friends and networks.