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Beginner's mind

That mentality you have when you start a new job, begin a new project, or embark on a new adventure is what helps you pick up new things so quickly. You’re open to new ideas, your tolerance level is high, and your open-mindedness allows you to achieve optimal productivity and move fast.

But then something happens. We decide we don’t want to be beginners, anymore. We’ve figured it out so we listen less intently, speak up less, and play it safe more. In other words, we resist the ‘beginner’s mind.’

It’s why startups grow quickly, then lose their way. It’s why James Holzhauer eventually lost. It’s why we plateau.

After all, when we’re starting out, it’s okay to fail. Young children couldn’t care less about what their drawings look like. Two months into the job, it’s fine if you mess up every now and then. Building a jewelry box for the first time, it’s going to look chaotic.

Sometimes, though, chaos is interesting. Some of the best inventions, innovations, and progress has come out of what we call ‘failure.’ But still, we avoid it because it’s…well, scary. The irony is, however, that the attempt to avoid failure makes failure more likely. Running around the field tentatively makes us prone to injuries, working nervously makes us second guess our decisions, avoiding the deep end ensures we never learn how to swim.

Be okay with being a beginner. In fact, have that mindset even if you are an expert. Experts who consider themselves experts are dull. And they usually don’t last long. Experts who consider themselves beginners, however, create things, moments, and change that lasts.