Beginner’s Mind

Approach every learning opportunity as if you are a total beginner.

Our ego impedes our ability to learn. Absorbing new information is a threat to the ego because it’s an admission that there’s something you didn’t know. The bigger your ego is, the harder it’s going to be to absorb new information.

To maximize learning, you should listen, talk, and act like a beginner regardless of your experience level.

Unfortunately, experience often leads to ego. It’s sometimes more difficult to impart knowledge to senior students because they see themselves as already knowledgeable, and nobody wants to admit that there are holes in their game.

Experienced students have an especially difficult time listening to and learning from the inexperienced. It’s common for colored belts to completely disregard the advice of white belts. This is unfortunate because everybody has something to teach you.

It may be true that you know more than the other person, but it is also true that the two of you together know more than either of you individually.

To cultivate a Beginner’s Mind, catch and prevent your self from:

  • adding your two cents to a lesson if you’re not adding any value
  • getting defensive or angry when someone criticizes your technique
  • getting upset when you are dominated during sparring
  • avoiding sparring partners because you think they’ll beat you
  • feeling the need to explain or defend every decision when you make a mistake or receive feedback.

Further Study: