As many of you return to work following the Labor Day weekend, or to school following summer break, I’d like to invite you into an idea that could transform your experience of your coworkers, employees, students and most of all YOU and your life. The idea may already be known to you but it is ever and always worth revisiting: Beginner’s Mind. Wikipedia offers us this definition:
In Zen Buddhism, Shoshin or beginner’s mind refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner would.
How often do you go to the office eager and open,
or enter a conversation ready to learn?
It’s hard! We work to *know*, to get the *right answer* and there is a seeming infinite supply of information to digest to help us. When it comes to our relationships with family members, employees, students, we spend time and energy learning what makes them tick, how they’ll respond, and what they are capable of — thinking it will help us manage them or the relationship better, yes? From this place:
What more is there to learn?
Let me ask you this: Do you ever change? Have you changed your mind based on new information? Do you want people to see who you are TODAY rather than who they knew you to be yesterday?
Please consider giving everyone around you the same gift. Enter each interaction with a “beginner’s mind”:
“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.”Shunryu Suzuki
Hold this question in the background of your awareness:
What don’t I know? (*)
as you keep these questions at the ready:
What is new in you today?
What do you think?
What matters most to you?
What would you like me to know?
(*) Explore this question more deeply here: What don’t I know?