Category: Motivation

Why Knowing Nothing is a Good Thing
Motivation

Why It’s Awesome to Be a Beginner

A few days ago I purchased Shunrye Suzuki’s book Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind.

One of the first things Suzuki emphasizes in the book is this quote:

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities; in the expert’s mind there are few.”

One way of looking at this is the expert tends to become blind to opportunities and stubborn in his ways. The beginner sees opportunity and novel solutions everywhere.

For example, I’ve run RetroSupply for five years now. The business has generated a healthy six-figure income year in and year out.

If I’m honest with myself, this has made me rigid. I tend to believe I know how to make something succeed. I follow worn paths that have worked in the past.

So when I started my daily drawing ritual 30 days ago, I was immediately humbled by my lack of knowledge. I’m a designer and not much of an illustrator.

I quickly realized I was not good. And each day as I drew and posted an illustration I felt humility, saw the entire world from new angles and saw many possibilities for myself.

But what made this almost magical was how having a beginner’s mind changed the rest of my life.

Here are some things that have happened since I started drawing:

  • I see new ways to bring more value to RetroSupply.
  • Everday experiences are richer. Drawing has helped me see the beauty in everyday objects.
  • I find myself going into a flow state when I draw. Something that wasn’t happening nearly as much over the past few years.

How You Can Reignite Your Beginner’s Mind

Do you want to instantly have a fresh view of your business, art, personal life, and the world in general?

Choose a daily practice you can start today. Start developing a new skill that can be done in 30 minutes or less each day. Ideally, the skill should put you in a flow state.

Here are some examples of skills you might try:

  • Gardening
  • Cooking
  • Painting
  • Learn an instrument
  • Play a sport

Once you’ve chosen your activity practice it 5-7 days a week for at least 30 minutes.

Document your process publicly. You could use Instagram if it’s a visual practice or even Twitter (for example, Day 1 | Practiced the transition between the D and G chord in open position for 30 minutes).

Conclusion

I didn’t think this drawing practice would have such an impact on my life. But just a little time each day doing something with a beginner’s mind can rewire the way you see the world (and yourself).

If you have 20 seconds respond to this post. I’d love to know about your experience with beginner’s mind, activities that put you in a flow state, or a new practice you’re committed to starting. 

Polaroid of girl with wings drawn on it.
Motivation

No Deprivation

I own two hard copies of Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations and an audio version. I probably listen to his words at least once a day.

On quote always stands out to me…

“No one can lose either the past or the future – how could anyone be deprived of what he does not possess? … It is only the present moment of which either stands to be deprived: and if this is all he has, he cannot lose what he does not have.” – Marcus Aurelius

This might be such a common idea as to be a banal platitude. But read it once more.

As I pass it through my mind over and over I occasionally catch the feeling of freedom.

With each passing year, I collect more things that I feel I’ve lost.

I’ve lost the wild adventures of my twenties. I’ve lost touch with good friends. I’ve forgotten the chords to the songs I played in that band for six years.

I also fear losing the future.

I fear I’ll lose the relationship I have with my daughters. I fear my love of Half and Half is going to get payback in a massive heart attack in my forties.

But Marcus Aurelius had it right. We can’t lose either the past or the future. All we have is right now. This exact moment. The past is gone. The future hasn’t happened.

What if each day we do our best to minimize our fear of losing what we don’t have?

We do that by realizing all we have is the present.

Nothing can take that from us.