This afternoon I was able to hear Nigel Barlow speak about thinking differently, challenging assumptions and encouraging curiosity. To encourage our curiosity and return to our childlike state of inquisitiveness it was inspiring to hear Nigel use the phrase ‘Be a Beginner’. The saying goes,
“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities. In the expert’s there are few.” (Shunryu Suzuki)
The beginner’s mind is open to new ideas, has a keenness to explore and learn and, as was grow older and acquire more knowledge, the awareness to avoid preconceived ideas and stereotypes. Reading more about the beginner’s mind led me to the term the ‘curse of knowledge’, where you know so much about a subject or problem that you can’t see it from the perspective of someone who knows less – something we must be acutely aware of when teaching others.
It can take a certain amount of confidence and courage to be able to stand back and ask the questions that you may have once thought you should know the answers to already, or to roll your sleeves up and throw yourself in to a new experience, but when you can do that and see things and ask questions with an open mind it is liberating. By encouraging and exciting curiosity, maintaining an open mind and challenging assumptions you will make space for, and encourage new thoughts and ideas to grow. You will be able to think different.
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”