Cambridge dictionary defines a beginner as a person who is starting to do something or learning something for the first time. And when you are starting to do or learning something for the first time, you handle that thing with excitement, enthusiasm, and eagerness.
Try to imagine the first time you learned how to drive, how to ski or the first time you travelled by plane, the first time you travelled overseas, or the first time you travelled alone.
How did you feel before, during, and after those experiences?
- Harness that feeling, and you have the basic recipe for a good learning strategy.
- Check out what learning strategies are most effective, and adopting a beginner’s mindset will be one of them.
WHAT IS A BEGINNER’S MINDSET?
Shoshin is a Japanese word that means “beginner’s mind.” It is a concept developed by Zen master Shunryu Suzuki.
Suzuki believes “if your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything. It is open to everything.”
When a person operates from a beginner’s mindset, he also demonstrates humility. A beginner’s mindset will have to relinquish all preconceived ideas, opinions, biases, and expectations and proceed from a position of zero-knowledge.
A full cup cannot be filled. And so, one needs to empty his cup. For experts, this could be a challenge.
A lot of times newbies, outsiders, nonprofessionals, laypeople can give us a fresh perspective on tasks we have been used to doing.
In your operations, for example, it is wise to regularly conduct third-party audits of your facilities for an objective assessment of your process. Most of the time, you will be surprised at the amount of details you are missing within your facilities. It is because when you see and do something day in and day out, you begin to operate on auto-pilot. Fresh eyes can give a fresh perspective.
SO, HERE ARE FIVE REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD ADOPT A BEGINNER’S MINDSET
- WHEN YOU ADOPT A BEGINNER’S MINDSET, YOU VIEW EACH DAY AND EACH TASK AS A FIELD DAY.
Not every unforeseen event is unfavourable or disastrous. And for every event, favourable or unfavourable, there is a reason. Put those events under the “silver lining” column. Develop your senses to always watch out for the silver lining. Something cannot be “only” a negative. It always comes with a positive. Sure there will be days when you will find cracks along your way, but a beginner’s mindset will look at it as an occasion to embellish the path. It might be time to scale up. When push comes to shove, like the pandemic when you were forced to stay home, how did you handle it? How did you turn your business around? How did you adapt to the “unfavourable” event?
Stories abound of people pivoting to new business spaces brought about by the pandemic. It is crucial to look at what you have and not what you lost.
- A BEGINNER’S MINDSET WILL UPHOLD THE FEELING OF EAGERNESS, ENTHUSIASM, AND EXCITEMENT AT HIS JOB.
A leader with a beginner’s mindset will always come to work with a fresh perspective and will set aside deep-rooted beliefs, ironclad knowledge, and claimed expertise to listen to new ideas, concepts, and recommendations. Besides, high EQ leaders do not reject new ideas.
- OPENNESS SUPPORTS CREATIVITY AND AN INNOVATIVE MINDSET.
A beginner’s mindset thinks without a box, uncharted, no boundaries, and works outside of set conventions. It is important for business leaders and business owners to adopt this mindset because they set the organisation’s direction. It helps to occasionally rock the boat, to force their teams to look beyond the obvious, and challenge the norms. Fourteen years ago, Elon Musk launched the first fast, sophisticated, and efficient battery-electric vehicle, the Tesla Roadster. Although the original model has been massively modified, it was still the foundation of Tesla’s mass-produced electric cars today. All because Elon Musk did not stop at proving his brilliant theory on the future of electric cars and transportation. The Tesla story proves Suzuki’s principle, “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.”
- PROMOTES EMOTIONAL AND MENTAL HEALTH.
When you approach a situation with an open mind, you do not assume. This attitude will cause you to listen. You will not prejudge, and by doing so, you will avoid disappointments and frustration because you will not have expectations. It is all a matter of perspective. A beginner’s mindset is willing to listen to someone else’s point of view. And listening is a crucial skill a leader must have.
- EXPECT REDUCED STRESS.
With a beginner’s mindset, you are not overwhelmed by tasks because you approach and handle them with a fresh perspective each time. You do not think of it as difficult because you always find ways to do a task differently each time. You are always excited about what will come out of a task or an event. A beginner’s mindset will prefer trekking new trails and unknown paths like some hardcore hikers. And for these hikers, scaling those new trails is their ultimate therapy. Come to work each day like it is the day you will learn how to drive a car.
Leaders can sometimes be trapped in a rigid structure to follow the norm. They hold back from changing lanes to avoid the risk of ruffling some elite feathers. Traditional leadership can, a lot of times, choke and block innovative spirit among teams.
Needless to say, innovation is always the key driver of businesses. Just look at Airbnb, Uber, Tesla, Netflix, etc. The leaders of these companies carved a new niche for their products and services because they did not stick to what traditional products and services dictate. They used traditional products and services as the springboards of their innovations.
Curiosity pushes one’s mind to question and explore. Your teams must be given this latitude. Encourage a time to come together with your team, away from work, and go on an exploratory retreat. Make it a time for everyone to recharge and be creative.
As the covid protocols loosen, you might want to plan a weekend retreat with your team.
If you want to know more about this activity and sign on your team, let me know. I can design a training activity tailored to your needs.
You can connect with me through any of my social media accounts, and let’s talk.