Have A Shoshin (初心) Mindset
December 15, 2021
In the beginner’s mind, there are many possibilities; in the expert’s, there are few.Zen Master Zhunryo
What we know gets in the way of what we need to learn.George Gan
When I am a beginner at something, my mind is always empty and open. I am humble, willing to learn, almost childlike, discovering something for the first time.
However, as I become more proficient at something, gaining more knowledge and expertise, my mind naturally tends to become more closed. It is already thinking, “I know how this works,” and I become less receptive to any new information or cues.
What I have described above is the problem with the idea of expertise. As soon as we believe we know something well enough, we get into a confirmation bias, and we tend to block out information that does not conform to what we have learned before. So instead, we take in only that information aligned to what we already know.
In one of his blogs, James Clear says, “Most people don’t want information. They want validating information.”
As we develop proficiency in some domain, we tend to become set in how we view and do things. Keeping an open mind at all times is essential to avoiding the ills of outdated beliefs and being open to new ideas, new concepts, and new ways of doing things. We need to foster curiosity and be willing to embrace new ideas even if they challenge our current thinking.
There is a Japanese Word called Shoshin (初心). Derived from Zen Buddhism, this word describes a mindset of humility, curiosity, and eagerness to learn. This word translates to “Beginner’s Mind.”
We can all develop a Shoshin (初心) attitude to life. However, this would require us to follow a few simple rules.
- Don’t let your achievements get into your head, thinking you know it all.
- Actively seek out opposing views even if they make you uncomfortable.
- Listen More.
Einstein is supposed to have said, “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” His genius was in his Shoshin (初心) !!