What is Shoshin?
What is Shoshin?

Read time: 1 min

A concept I can't stop thinking about: Shoshin.

Shoshin is a Zen Buddhist idea that means "the beginner's mind."

Here's how I think about it:

Over the course of your life to date, you have filled your mind with an endless array of beliefs, assumptions, and understandings about the world around you.

These form the basis of how we experience, process, and make sense of life.

Every new thing we encounter is placed onto this map of reality.

It insulates us from the embarrassment of feeling like a beginner—of feeling adrift in an ocean of uncertainty.

The problem: When we are too entrenched in our map, we may fail to see the beauty of something new.

New information that doesn't fit how we see the world is rejected and cast aside.

Shoshin is the idea that we should approach everything with a beginner's mind.

Be willing to scrape away those old assumptions, to embrace new beliefs, to feel new ideas, and to lean into being wrong about things.

We all need to embrace the embarrassment of being a beginner.

Every expert started out as a beginner.

The only way to accomplish something meaningful is to endure days, weeks, months, or even years of embarrassing failure.

Those who lean into the embarrassment of feeling child-like again will eventually win.

Lesson: Embrace your Shoshin—embrace your beginner's mind.