“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.” - Shunryu Suzuki*
These were the words that broke Jackson Barnes out of his decade-long spell, allowing him to step out of himself and finally launch his app.
Beginner's mind is a concept we can apply to many areas of our lives. Once habits get formed, it becomes harder to change them. It's about looking at things with the fresh eyes and curiosity of a beginner. How would we do things differently if we were to start over? Are there new ways to make our life easier, or are we stuck in our old ways like J.B. was?
In the story, Jack was using coding techniques he learned ten years ago and applying them to applications where they didn't quite make sense anymore. It was harder to admit that he didn't know what was best than actually learning what was needed and getting the job done. Thus repeating the same mistakes over and over again.
His Ego made it hard for him to receive feedback or ask for help. He was an expert, of course, so how could anyone know better than him or tell him otherwise?
But for a beginner (or life-long learner), this isn't an issue. We are just focused on learning and growing and reaching our full potential.
In the New Year, are there areas in your life or projects that you can look at with a beginner's mind? Perhaps somewhere you might have been stuck.
As for me, I'll also be trying something new when it comes to this newsletter. Going forward, I'll be shifting from the strategy of quantity to quality.
This means the schedule will now be sporadic. Instead of setting a weekly deadline and then vigorously polishing and publishing what I wrote over the week at the final minute (and then vigorously editing it afterwards on occasion). I'll be trying a different approach—
Continue writing and editing over the week with an hour a day (maybe more sometimes) of writing, and then publish whenever I’m happy with the quality and the results.
Many times, it could likely just end up being once a week as usual. But sometimes, a longer post or story can perhaps take two weeks (or more). And on other times, it could even be less than a week for shorter posts.
So, overall, it should average out but will ideally result in higher quality for you, just at an irregular schedule which I won't be keeping track of.
But what is a week, month, or year, anyway? Just concepts. They've all only been around for what, a few thousand years? Before that, it was just day and night. Stepping out of the calendar entirely is the ultimate beginner's mind experiment. But is that even possible these days? I think so, to some extent at least, perhaps with a lot of discipline and the right foundation.
Let's see how it goes.
Speaking of stories and this newsletter …
In the future, I might weigh it more one way or the other, depending on the results.
*The quote itself comes from the book "Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind," a short and fun read with some great insights. It is a quirky Zen book, and might not be everyone's cup of tea, so check it out with an empty cup. I've found it's grown on me with each subsequent reading. Steve Jobs was a fan as well, I’ve read.
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