This is a call to try something neat today. And a reminder of the power of remaining open, eager, and lacking preconceptions in your experiences. Sunryu Suzuki, a Zen teacher, calls this concept “Beginner’s Mind” and it speaks to having a curious, child-like perception of the world – one in which we see things with fresh, new eyes, just as a beginner would.
Health coaches learn about this concept and I think about it daily now. I mentioned in a previous post about playing the “expert” and how this can be a roadblock in helping others change. This is sort of part II and it’s about maintaining a beginner’s mind with my clients. I maintain the notion that I should leave predisposed judgments, opinions, and biases at the door when I enter a coaching relationship. It allows me to view my clients as resourceful, creative, and whole, and truly believe in their capability to create the changes they seek.
Forming habits is a process we are constantly running. We create patterns to navigate this world more efficiently. Habits are our way of solving daily problems effortlessly in a repeatable way. Even the habit of smoking a cigarette might serve as an immediate solution to the need for connection (smoke break with coworkers) or a sense of calm.
I’ve written about developing self-awareness before and how that can act as a catalyst for triggering a change in our behavior. What might you learn by becoming insatiably curious about yourself? When we view our habits with a beginner’s mind – like a child looking at an animal at the zoo – we can look at our habits and, without judgment, say “Hm.. that’s interesting”. The self-awareness seed is planted.
There’s a poem I was thinking about when I started writing this by the author A. A. Milne entitled “Now We Are Six”,
When I was One,
I had just begun.
When I was Two,
I was nearly new.
When I was Three
I was hardly me.
When I was Four,
I was not much more.
When I was Five,
I was just alive.
But now I am Six,
I'm as clever as clever,
So I think I'll be six for ever and ever.
My call to you is this. Like a child who has much to learn, who looks at the world with fresh, new eyes, wonder, amazement, and interest – without preconceived judgment or opinions – how can you approach your day today with the same curiosity, openness, and clever awareness of a six-year-old?
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