Shoshin (初心), the Japanese word for a beginner’s mind, comes from Zen Buddhism. A beginner’s mind is a psychological mindset where you open yourself to new ideas by letting go of all preconceived notions. When a beginner’s mind sees a subject, it’s as if it is experiencing the subject for the first time.
Let go of self-centered thoughts. Let go of limiting beliefs. Let go of achievement. Let go of expertise.
Begin to see things with an eagerness to understand. Begin to see things with compassion. Begin to see things with curiosity. Begin to see things with wonder.
How can you apply a beginner’s mind to a task?
- Be present and in the moment. Don’t think about your past experiences, instead focus on what you see at that very moment.
- Pretend you are a student learning for the very first time.
- Be curious about every small detail. Take the time to be present with the task and simply observe.
- Stop judging! Look for the positive instead of pointing to what is wrong. Stay in exploration mode and consider all options no matter how simple or difficult they are.
Want to learn more? Here are some resources to help you as you adopt a beginner’s mind.
Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki