Journal with Me: Think Like a Beginner
“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.” Shunryu Suzuki.
“The surest way to prevent yourself from learning a topic is to believe you already know it.” James Clear
In last week’s blog I mentioned the idea of an abundance mindset, and how noticing the good and practicing gratitude can help you feel abundance in your life, even if you are in the middle of a struggle.
Learning and creativity are also pathways to an abundance mindset, especially if you approach them with a beginner’s mind.
A Beginner’s Mind (Shoshin) is a term described by Shunryu Suzuki. The idea is to approach a problem or an experience with an open mind, fresh eyes, just like a beginner. Look at everything as if it’s brand new with curiosity, intuition and wonder.
Letting go of what you already know opens up the possibility for you to learn something new. I think of this as radical and playful curiosity.
If you’ve ever watched a toddler and their curiosity and lack of pre-judgement, you have a perfect guide for a beginner’s mind.
Try Being a Beginner
Beginner’s mind helps you slow down and experience what you’re doing with greater clarity. It helps you avoid going through the motions and be truly present in the moment.
Try this exercise:
- Pick something you do over and over. It could be eating breakfast, your commute, your daily exercise, folding laundry …
- As you do this exercise, notice what you’re doing. Pay deep attention to your senses and how your body feels. Approach the activity with curiosity and wonder, as if you’ve never done it before. Savor flavors and textures or the feeling of your feet as they strike the ground. Really hear the train on the track. Or walk with an intention to really see and smell. Let go of being an expert. Experience the moment fully.
- After you do an experience as a beginner, journal about the activity from your beginner perspective. Write about how it felt to approach your activity with new eyes and no preconceived ideas.
Why do this? The benefits of using a beginner’s mind are myriad. More creativity and playfulness, less pre-judgement, openness to new ideas, possibilities and solutions and more connection to what you’re experiencing and feeling, to name just a few.
Give it a try—I’d love to hear what you discover!
It’s easy to get stuck in how things are, but bringing a beginner’s mind to your daily routines, your values, and what really lights you up brings clarity and creativity to building a day (and day by day a life) that you love.
I thought I had a pretty good handle on my values and how to use them to make decisions, but the way Melanie breaks down the exercises in The Everyday Experience gave me such deep insight into what actually lights me up and brings me joy. I feel like I now have so many practical ideas for incorporating more of what I love into my days (not just a wishy-washy idea of my “core values” like I’ve gotten from other similar exercises).
You bring a beginner’s mind and I’ll provide the activities to help you look at your values, what lights you up. See what new and creative ideas come up to love your days a little more
- Use journaling as a tool to unlock wisdom from your life
- Experience more gratitude, awe, and wonder through reflection
- Discover your own resilience and create a roadmap for future challenges
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Hi, I’m Melanie!
I’m a Journaling and Joy Coach and I believe your story is the key to the life you want.
I guide my clients through intentional processes to find the answers waiting for you in your stories, bringing compassion, deep listening — and fun — to the process.
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