“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few” – Shunryu Suzuki
The first time I read that saying, it gave me pause. We spend a lot of time becoming experts. That’s a good thing right? I don’t want my airline pilot looking for a new and creative way to land the plane.
The expression came to mind when I was out for a Sunday walk on a beautiful winter day after a stretch of cold weather. It seemed like everyone was outside and happy to see the sun. In the park, I came across a woman that looked to be in her 50’s. She apologized as her wobbling bicycle headed toward me. “I’m sorry” she said with her face full of concentration, “I’m trying to learn an old trick”. My guess is perhaps via Christmas gift or New Year’s resolution, she was back on a bicycle after a long absence. Her face gave away her nervousness, but she also chuckled a little bit as she wobbled by. It made me smile that she was not afraid to get back on the literal bicycle. Which in turn made me think about the proverbial one that we all face regularly.
As we get older, we become expert in many things. It can become more difficult to venture outside of that comfort zone. At home and at work, it’s important to make the best choices for ourselves and families. Equally important though is taking a few chances and looking at the world from the beginners eye – wonderful and full of possibilities.
I didn’t get a chance to ask the lady on the bike any questions, but suspect she would have told me something like this:
Be mindful of the risks, but don’t be afraid to succeed.
It’s alright to fall down, but get back up….quickly.
Laugh a little.