“The second you think you’ve arrived, you get squashed like a bug!”
This is a quote one of my teachers would often tell us, to remind us never to get too comfortable. One of the surest ways to avoid the trap of thinking we know it all in life is to possess a “beginner’s mind” in all that we do.
The other day, I was fortunate to spend some time and have a conversation with two executives at work. We all agreed that no matter how long we’ve been doing something in life, or no matter how good we may be at something (whatever it may be), there is always room to learn something new in that particular area each and every day. Depending on how you look at it, this can either be scary or exciting news!
Life, each day, and the present moment is truly our greatest teacher. It’s important to be flexible with our mind and beliefs as we approach our lives every day. When we think that we know it all is when we may stall spiritually and mentally. The truth is, we are always either learning and growing, at a standstill, or declining— there is no in between.
No matter what it is that we do, it’s important to stay curious and continually ask questions. At times, the ego mind may think it has it all figured out. That’s exactly the time to pause and ask yourself, “What am I locking myself out of by thinking I know everything there is to know?”
Another powerful question to ask in almost any situation is, “What can I learn from this?” Every experience holds within it some learning opportunity, if we are willing to elevate our consciousness and stay curious.
One area I’ve found cultivating a beginner’s mind to be super beneficial is in the area of reading and books. Almost all top performers I know and study in various fields are voracious learners and readers. Each day, they are working to elevate themselves by seeking out new information and breakthroughs.
Personally, I find that no matter how many books I’ve read, every time I open up a new one, there is a sea of information and knowledge just waiting for me to educate myself with. All of the world’s information passed down from generation to generation is just there, waiting to be explored by us.
One of my yoga teachers would say that “yesterday’s breakthroughs are today’s ego trips.” Even if we have been doing something for years and doing it well, each day is an opportunity to approach our unique crafts with a beginner’s mind to help us progress even further. I find this to be humbling, and this has always reminded me to cultivate and possess a beginner's mind in most things I do.
Think about someone who is in great shape physically. It is no secret that it requires from them a renewed effort and daily discipline to maintain their physique and fitness level. It’s the same with our mental world and crafts that we practice in life. Whatever has gotten us to our current level of success is not necessarily all it takes to keep us there— we need to keep going.
Similarly, whatever we have learned and discovered in the past has been crucial to getting us where we are today, but will certainly not keep us there and sustain us. Just like the athlete who continues to take their fitness and body to new heights by putting in daily work, so too must we continue to possess a beginner’s mind in all that we do by continuing to be curious.
Think back to when you were a beginner or new to something. Chances are you were hungry for answers and knowledge about how things worked and what things meant. Most likely, you asked questions to try to learn as much as you could.
Now think what your life might look like by possessing a beginner’s mind in all that you do from each day, to each interaction, to each moment. What would your life look like if instead of thinking that you know how things will be, you continued to stay curious in everything you did? I invite you to challenge yourself to do just that. Stay curious, and work the practice of weaving a beginner’s mind and curiosity into all that you do!
What areas of your life are you most curious about?
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