The beginner’s mindset will remove the bounded restrictions you otherwise place on your minds.
Updated: May 19, 2019
Change the way you think to keep one thing constant: that, in reality, you’re always a beginner and actually know very little about anything. That the belief you actually know anything about anything is an illusion and can be one of the biggest restrictions you place on your mind and so on your life; that it can be a significant source of self limitation.
Of course know stuff. We learn stuff. We experience stuff. Some good, some bad, some exciting, some sad. It forms how we think. It forms beliefs and influences the values we see life through. Our experiences build us to be the people we are. The person we see in the mirror. Everyday.
The thing I have discovered recently though is that the more we think we know, the more we can actually be building our own prison cell of life in our minds. Because through brain plasticity we build what are called default mode networks. These can be incredibly useful and incredibly restrictive in equal measure.
The useful part is the ability to short cut decisioning, so that we can make timely choices that were, a millennia ago, fundamental and designed to keep us alive. They act like a template or cookie cutter that the mind applies time and time again to what it believes, based on certain stimuli, are the same situations. When they’re almost certainly not.
The problem with this facility is that, whilst it can be really useful, it is also superbly stupid. So stupid that it wouldn’t even pass a test that we apply to consumer electronics device these days. The use and re-use of the default mode is fundamentally flawed. Because it can‘t distinguish the difference in contexts, and the differences between what is real and what is not. In the process of trying to act quickly to save time, the wrong conclusions and actions can often result. Sometimes having unintended consequences.
The other problem with this facility is that it closes us down to the many options that are available; in favour of what it thinks it knows through our default modes. It can often mean that what we believe to be right might only be one of the many available options. We just don’t see the others.
This can be why people might say we are predictable. They believe this in their default mode network because we play it out through ours! And so the cycle continues.
It also can, overtime, restrict our cognitive capacity to absorb and process information from the world around us: creating a bounded approach to rational thinking. Rather than a fuller, more inclusive approach of all possibilities.
Imagine, if we learned to adopt more of a beginner‘s mindset. If, more often, we opened our mind to different possibilities. If we became more curious. If we opened our mind to learning about previously known things or experienced situations, as if we had never experienced them before. We could then go into life‘s interactions with some inherent wisdom in the unconscious mind but then use our conscious mind to enable a mindset where we can choose to experience things as if it were for the first time. That way we can re-write the default modes we have. And keep updating them all the time. Moment, by moment, by moment.
There is a lot to learn. Life begins here. Life begins now.