Don’t be scared of being a novice. Be scared of being Mr. Know All.
When you reach the comfortable spot of knowing a lot about a field there is a danger to become set in your views.
You lose the ability to see things with the eyes of a novice who is amazed and curious about everything. Mr. Know All, on the other hand, is judging and qualifying the information, selecting and choosing before taking it.
His cup is already full.
Once a martial arts enthusiast approached Bruce Lee for training. He was telling Lee what he already knew about martial arts. They were sitting in a restaurant having coffee. Lee listened to him carefully. Halfway through, Lee stopped him and pointed at his cup of coffee, and said, “Your knowledge of martial arts is like this cup of coffee, while mine is like this glass of water. Now watch this.” He poured some water in the cup. The water took the color of coffee.
“If you are able to empty your cup then come and see me,” said Lee and left.
Why hinder learning by establishing yourself as an expert while you can learn much more by being a student all your life.
Don’t be afraid of being a novice again and again. When you are at the pinnacle of your field, choose something else and make it your passion or profession. I have done that so many times. Each time I changed my career or picked a new hobby my horizons expanded and my learning enhanced.
Being at the bottom of the ladder is scary and exhilarating at the same time. It is just like leaving the school only to find that the world is a bigger school and you are back in the first grade ( I think George Bernard Shaw said this).
As a novice, you have advantages over Mr. Know All. You have little to lose. You are willing to try anything. You can take chances, experiment and follow your whims.
“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities,” said Zen monk Shunyi Suzuki, “in the expert’s mind there are few.”
Have you found yourself in the first grade after being a so-called ‘expert’ in a filed? Have you intentionally put yourself in that situation where you start at the beginning.
I would love to hear your story. Drop me a line in the comments section below.