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Mental Models - Shoshin (Beginner's Mind) 🧘🏻
This week’s mental model comes from Zen Buddhism. (Don’t worry - this newsletter is still agnostic, but that doesn’t mean we won’t shamelessly borrow useful mental models from religions!)
What is Shoshin?
The Japanese term shoshin means "beginner's mind" and can be further defined as follows:
Shoshin is an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even at an advanced level.
The shoshin mindset is characterized by openness - when we are in that mindset we are open and curious to possibility. We aren't limited by our pre-existing knowledge that we develop as we reach advanced levels. Expertise is of course a good thing for the most part, but the downside is that it can lead us to be more likely to be trapped by confirmation bias - where we only see information that supports our preconceptions. Trying to cultivate shoshin is a good antidote!
Buddhist teacher Shunryu Suzuki said:
"In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few."
Want to go deeper?
📖 Check out Shunryu Suzuki's original work - Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind
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