Monday, March 10, 2008

Start learning with Beginner's Mind set - It's a whole new ball game

"It's a whole new ball game"

You come across the above phrase in every Cricket match - either from commentators or from players, even sometimes, you used it to imitate them.

What is the phrase conveys?

This is an indication of operating with a beginner’s mind: people know they have a lot to learn.

About Beginner's Mind-set, Shunryu Suzuki wrote in his book Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind (2006) that

“If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything; it is open to everything. In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities; in the expert’s mind there are few”

Let me ask this question - "How likely are you to learn something new if you already consider yourself an expert?"

Your answer would be "I don't learn anything".

Yes, You cannot learn anything from a workshop or training which you are attending but thinking “I already know this. This is a waste of my time.”

But there is a difference between being proficient or “knowing what we are doing” and assuming we have (or need to have) all of the answers. One needs to learn with open-mind(beginner's mind) to know some answers and new set of questions.

So what does a beginner’s mind look like?

* Beginners are secure enough in themselves that they can say, “I don’t know,” to themselves and to others. Interestingly, I have heard many people say they admire others who can admit when they don’t know something, but it’s much more infrequent that people are comfortable saying it themselves.

* Beginners don’t connect their self-worth to their expertise. They are more likely to tie their internal worth to their ability to get the answer, to be adaptable, and to be resourceful in learning what is needed.

* Beginners are willing to ask for help, and they actively seek out experts as resources to help with the quest for continual learning.

* Beginners recognize other beginners and support them however they can.

* Beginners recognize there is always more to learn about learning. As such, they learn not only about things they want to know or be able to do, but they learn about learning and spend time and effort on improving as a learner.

* Beginners realize that all learning is a journey or a process without a final destination. They recognize the value of learning something new every day and aren’t discouraged by the fact that there is no real end. They recognize learning as valuable in and of itself.

Interestingly when we truly are starting to do something for the first time—a new job, a new procedure, a new hobby, a new sport—and are a beginner by the classical definition of the word, we naturally do the first four items above. Our challenge, and opportunity, is to continue to do those four when things aren’t new and to add the last two to our regular habit patterns.

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