March 6, 2019
“In the beginner’s mind, there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s mind, there are few.”
~ Shunryu Suzuki
First a Quick Update…
To accomplish social missions, organizations need a structure designed for that purpose. That is what our board will begin crafting this Monday at our board / community meeting. This is not about what an organization “should” be – that’s expert mode at play. This is about what an organization “can” be, and what that makes possible. Join that conversation here!
And now, this week's “Try This” exercise:
I already do that…
Nothing will keep you stuck like being in Expert Mode.
- I already know that.
- We already tried that.
- I already do that.
Expert Mode is an obstacle you put in your own way, barring the door to what is possible and keeping you stuck.
We often don’t realize we are in Expert Mode. Therefore, the first step in opening up to Beginner's Mind will be to notice how often your mind is closed.
When you are in conversation with your spouse or with someone online, or when you’re listening to the news or reading an article (like this one), notice your thoughts. Notice if those thoughts sound like any of the following…
- I already know that / do that.
- I already know what you’re going to say.
- Here’s how I’ve done that.
- I tell that to my (kids / students / team) all the time!
- We already tried that (and it didn’t work).
- That's not how I do it / I do that better.
2) Adopt Beginner’s Mind:
Once you’ve noticed those Expert Mode phrases…
- Take a deep breath in. On the out-breath, smile.
That mindful breath + the act of smiling signals your brain to move from shut-down to open. If you’ve never tried this, try it right now and see if anything changes in your openness to consider something new. (And note that if you insist this won’t work without trying it, that is another indicator of Expert Mode…)
- Ask yourself, “What can I learn from this moment? From this person? From this conversation? What might I learn about this other person? What might I learn about myself?” Give that person your full attention, right in that moment, with the sincere intention to learn something from them. Be curious, wondering openly, “What might I learn?”
- If the thing you think you already do is a "doing" thing, try the other person’s way of doing it. Play with that different way. How does it feel? In what ways is it different? Same?
Our thoughts create our reality. The more you become aware of the thought patterns you create, the more you will begin stepping beyond “stuck,” and into possibility. That is why moving towards Beginner’s Mind is part of the practice of Catalytic Listening – one of the three core practices of Catalytic Thinking.
Want to learn alongside other people who are also trying out Catalytic Thinking practices? Join our Catalytic Thinking in Action community on Facebook - a welcoming place where you can ask questions and learn from people like you who are experimenting with these practices. We look forward to seeing you there!
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