But what if you didn't...
The Beginner’s mind… I believe it is one of the most valuable lessons that I have learned recently, and continue to learn. I will start with the story of a friend that I had some time ago. He had this habit of being a know-it-all. I couldn’t tell him anything that he didn’t already know. And it was really annoying. I think we all know a know it all. They learned every lesson, heard every bit of advice, know every quote and every cliché. I actually think we all feel that way sometimes – especially when it comes to clichés! But what if – instead of thinking that we heard it all before, we thought – what if I was hearing this for the first time – what could it teach me?
Shortly after I started to think about this, I heard Marie Forleo speak about it in one of her videos. I felt as if she had put into words something that I had been feeling in the back of my mind for a while. Because the older I got, and the more I experienced life, the more I saw new meaning in some of the things that I had heard many times.
Truthfully, I feel like there is real danger in dismissing something because you believe that you have heard something before or already know it. It can cause you to miss valuable lessons. Sometimes you can hear or read something a thousand times, but it can take of a different meaning when you are going through different situations. A good example of this is the use of clichés. These phrases that you grow up hearing can become so familiar that you may feel immune to them, until one day years later you find yourself in a situation where it has new meaning. This also applies to bible passages and stories that can take on a fresh meaning when applied to a situation that has suddenly presented itself, or when superimposed over experiences that you or other people have.
What happens when you say – I know that already? You switch off to the potential lesson that may be there, and you stop listening, or thinking how to apply it. Also within the last year, I completed a course which I would say almost completely changed my life (although not in the way I had expected) – a Health Coaching Certification with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. One of the lecturers on the course suggested that the best way to approach things was with a “beginner’s mindset” and while he was speaking specifically about coaching, I feel this is an important way to approach almost any challenge. My current interpretation of this is instead of thinking “I know this already”, what if I listened to this as if it was the first time; as if I was back at the beginning. Now – can I apply this to my current situation? Or is there another message in this based on my experiences? Instead of dismissing it as old knowledge that I already have, I approach it as new information, as I try to apply it to a current or recent situation, and sometimes I can even apply it to someone else’s situation to make sense of it.
I continue to try to expand this principle even to topics or ideas that I may have dismissed in the past, or to ideas that might not have had any significance when I was introduced to them years ago. This has actually allowed me to make vast progress in work, personal development and life in general, and has encouraged me to keep an open mind when making decisions, or listening to or reading information.
Today’s lesson - the next time you hear something that you have heard before, see if you can breathe new life into it and apply it to an existing situation.
Big Love from a small island
Ps - I took that photo when I visited the Grand Canyon. The river running through it is the Colorado River which carved the canyon by its steady persistence. Water is powerful stuff!