Beginner’s Mind

Shoshin (初心) is a word from Zen Buddhism meaning “beginner’s mind.” It 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.

“Sometimes, what you already know gets in the way of what you need to Learn”

George Gan

One of the hardest challenges I face as a teacher of successful leaders is their own knowledge, and confidence in their own knowledge. I spend quite some time at the beginning of a program developing an agreement between myself and the participants about how we remain open to risk, to attempt, to iterate drafts rather than aim for perfection. When I only have 1 hour, it is hard to convey this attitude to learning… and I often lose a couple of smart people because I go too quickly into something that they cannot see how it is immediately relevant to their current situation and challenges.

If you are a teacher, how do you help students open their minds to new ideas? How do you help leaders raise their own awareness?

If you liked this post, you will also like The Wheelbarrow Story and The Art of Learning: Attention without Judgement

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