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Jewish Journal

The Beginner’s Mind

by Samira Asemanfar

March 19, 2012 | 4:24 pm

Wikipedia defines “beginner’s mind” as having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner in that subject would.

Adapting a beginner’s mind set has huge benefits that I would like to share with you. It all starts with the notion that if you approach any situation as a “beginner” would, you will enter into the experience with more room to receive and process and will then have more room to evaluate and react. If you approach a situation with an “I am an expert” mind set, you will enter into the experience with defenses you have built from your past experiences and will most likely be out to prove your mind set right, which is that you already know. You are less likely to learn and grow in the latter example.

Another added benefit of adapting a beginner’s mind is that you let the person you are interacting with know that you trust the process you are engaging in and you trust them to have their own experience, without needing to prove yourself right as an expert.

Just a few areas in which you can really implement a beginner’s mind set and reap amazing benefits and growth:

- Customer Service: listen to each customer as if it is your first complaint.
- Relationships: engage in each experience with one another as if it is the first time.
- Staff Meetings: allow the meetings to flow is if it is the first staff meeting you have had and everyone can engage, defenses down.
- Dealing with a Challenge: research and evaluate as if it is the first time you have a challenge. This will also decrease your level of anxiety that you may carry from past challenges.
- In Any Spiritual or Religious Study: since spirituality and religion run very deep, studying each time as a beginner will really allow for your mind and soul to experience and grow, as you allow yourself to dive deep with each study without limitations that your “expert mind” would put on it.

Next time you are engaging in any experience, stop and gain awareness. Can you adapt a beginner’s mind?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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After graduating from the Marshall School of Business at USC in 2004, Samira Asemanfar of Los Angeles California joined KPMG, LLP as an internal auditor and SOX compliance...

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