• Tommy Cicero

The magic of beginner's mind

"Be curious, not judgmental."

- Walt Whitman


Growing older provides us with the wisdom of experience but can also force us into fixed belief systems that limit our capacity to grow more emotionally and intellectually on an individual level. Just like how I feel the kiss of death for any organization is, "This is how we have always done it," I feel people limit their potential by saying, "This is the way that I am." If something worked in the past (a software/a morning routine) but is more of a hindrance than helpful now, shouldn't the issue be addressed and remedied? If our business numbers are down or our cholesterol and BMI is high, shouldn't it be time to make some changes?


Over the past ten years I have been able to assess what is working for me personally and professionally, but also what is no longer serving me. In order for me to grow both as an individual and professional I had to take my blinders off and confront my previous self-limiting beliefs. I had to stop assuming what could go wrong and start conceptualizing what can go right. I also had to not let previous efforts that yielded small returns to prevent me from doing more of what I felt was pulling me in the right direction.



Professionally, I was able to let go of my old job satisfaction dilemma and construct it in a way that sets me up with more opportunities that are in line with my ideal career path. I had to ask myself the right questions about what I wanted to avoid and what no longer suits me. Personally, I started being more mindful and not assuming the worst in people. I started looking for the good, so I ask engaging questions like, "What has been your biggest recent win?" Or, "What's a fun project you are working on?" Or, "Who inspires you? Why?" I don't want to talk about past drama. Let's be present and focus on the good.


I learned the Buddhist concept of beginner's mind in 2006. I never fully grasped it until recently and sometimes still struggle to let go of my past assumptions and preconceptions of people and life in general. I learned that we all have the capacity to let go of our preconceived ideas and beliefs of how people or society should act. We have the ability to let go of past concepts about who we are, in favor of more authentic ideas or beliefs that align with our values and paint a brighter future for ourselves and society. Sometimes it involves digging deeper and addressing past trauma. A Zen master forewarns us, "Before I can teach you, you'll have to empty your cup." This unleashes the magic behind beginner's mind.



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