Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Beginner's Mind

Our vision is more obstructed by what we think we know than by our lack of knowledge.”
-Kristen Stendahl
This quote by Kristen Stendahl reminded me of another quote…
In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.”
-Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind: Informal Talks on Zen Meditation and Practice
We all like to hope that we have acquired some knowledge and wisdom on our life’s journey.  This is especially true if you are a parent or grandparent and you are trying to guide your children and grandchildren through the challenges of their lives.  I wouldn’t give my granddaughter so many “life lessons” if I didn’t think I had something to teach her.  Although I believe the gathering of experience and wisdom has value, there is a lot to be said for being open minded and willing to accept new and different points of view.  We should always avoid the mentality that “we’ve always done it that way”.  I have not taken enough risks in my life and too often have taken the path of least resistance by following the tried and the true.  Even if something is tried and true, that doesn’t mean it is the only way to think or to do something.  What we need to be in our lives and work places are experts with beginner’s minds.  You can’t go through life foolishly and uninformed but you also can’t go through life so closed minded or so rigid that you cannot bend or change.  Allow yourself to be surprised with possibilities.  Instead of asking why, ask why not?  Something I like to say in the workplace is “Where is that written?”  People are always creating boundaries and making up rules.  Sometimes these things are necessary but they can also be limiting.  You don’t have to color inside imaginary lines.  Be a person of possibilities and not a person of limitations.     

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