How to be an Absolute Beginner

Time to read: 1 minute.

Time to get right: a Lifetime

My Tai Chi teacher often begins classes by explaining how the best practitioners are able to practice moves they have done a thousand times and still retain a state of ‘beginners mind’. This is when they are really aware of what they are doing and how to improve further.

As regular readers will know, I have recently had a real focus on getting out of my comfort zone. I have run a half marathon and raised money for Great Ormond Street Hospital, worked out in Dubai and set up a social enterprise called Leading the Change to enable community leaders development.

All of these were a stretch for me as I haven’t done them before. I had beginners mind easily. What I find more of a real stretch is to get beginners mind in areas I already know well.

By getting the same approach of beginners mind you can challenge assumptions, not rely on old habits and come at an issue with the desire to learn. In any situation you take some learning and make improvements.

I have been practicing beginners mind in as many situations as possible and it makes a real difference to how you listen, understand and notice. All key aspects of being a real leader.

So when do you get beginners mind and act as if you are seeing or hearing something for the first time and become really curious? Try it in your next meeting, task or conversation.