It’s interesting that many of us want to avoid the stage of being a beginner, when in fact it is actually something we should try to prolong.
Think of all the advantages of being a beginner.
- You have the freedom to make mistakes
- The ability to make mistakes allows you to practice and become better
- The freedom to try new methods
- You have a more open mind, and aren’t held back by what is possible
- You are more flexible and can change more easily
- There is less pressure
So what are the negatives of being a beginner.
- Learning new things can be frustrating, especially if everyone is ahead of you
- Pride. We don’t like to be labeled the beginner
Obviously you can’t be a beginner forever, but you can think like one.
Once we get to a certain level, we start to take pride in what we know. This pride slows down our learning because we are less likely to want to admit that someone else might know more than us. If you can get past your pride you will realize that it is perfectly okay to say “I don’t know”, and ask others for advice and help. Especially if they are beginners who may be able to offer a unique perspective.
This is something I learned studying Japanese. When I first started learning, I would get help from anyone. Anything I could learn was great. However, once I got better, I felt I had to show a certain level of fluency to demonstrate my level. I felt that if I asked a question, people would think that I didn’t know as much as they thought. I had pride in my level of Japanese. Not being able to ask questions meant that my learning dramatically slowed down as well.
So here is the secret I figured out. I was the only one who felt that way, not the people I was worried about.Most people are usually much more impressed by someone who isn’t afraid to keep learning, than someone who acts as if they know it all.
You won’t be able to stay a beginner forever (at least not in other people’s eyes), but you can keep the beginner mindset. Not only will you learn more, you will have lot more fun without the pressure of trying not to look like one.