Why Do We Lose The Beginner’s Mind As Adults?

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Do you remember the last time you learned something new?

How did it feel? 

For most of us, learning something new is an exhilarating experience.

We are excited to learn and discover new ideas and insights.

But this feeling tends to fade as we get older when we are less inclined to admit we don’t know everything.

Why do we lose our beginner’s mind as adults?

And how can we recapture that excitement for learning?

Let’s explore these questions and offer some solutions to our faded desire to be beginners again.

What Is Beginner’s Mind?

So what exactly is a beginner’s mind? 

A beginner’s mind, also known as shoshin, is the state of being open to new possibilities and willing to learn. 

This state of mind is often associated with childlike wonderment. When we have a beginner’s mind, we see the world with fresh eyes and can release preconceived notions.

When we have a beginner’s mind, we are:

  • Open to new ideas
  • Able to see the world with fresh eyes
  • Willing to learn new skills

People who cultivate a beginner’s mind have the gift of seeing the world around them in a new and refreshing light.

They don’t let past experiences or the perceptions of others hold them back. Instead, they embrace new possibilities, open their minds, and are willing to learn new skills.

The Elements of a Beginner’s Mind

A person with a beginner’s mind has specific characteristics that allow them to be open to new possibilities and willing to learn. These people tend to be:

Curious

Curiosity is the root of all learning. If we are not curious, we will not be motivated to learn new things. 

three senior ladies surfing the internet why lose beginners mind

When we are curious, we ask questions and want to know more about the world around us. Curiosity is also a solution to fear because it allows us to see the world as an adventure instead of a threat.

Flexible

Flexibility is a key characteristic of those with a beginner’s mind because it allows us to change our perspective when necessary. 

If we are not flexible, we get stuck in our ways and be resistant to new information. We can adapt and learn new things more easily when we are flexible.

Empty-Minded

It may seem counterintuitive, but an empty mind is necessary for a beginner’s mind. If our minds are full of preconceived notions, we will not be able to see the world around us clearly. 

An empty mind allows us to be open to new possibilities and fully experience life.

Aware

Those with beginner’s minds are present in the moment and attentive to their surroundings. Those with a beginner’s mind aren’t lost in their thoughts or caught up in the past or the future. Instead, they are fully present and aware of what is happening around them.

Non-Judgmental

A beginner’s mind is non-judgmental because it allows us to see things as they are without our biases getting in the way. 

When we judge something, we often do not bother to learn more about it. However, when we are open and non-judgmental, we can learn new information and form our own opinions.

The Benefits of Having a Beginner’s Mind

It’s possible to have a happier and more satisfying life with a beginner’s mind. Some benefits of having a beginner’s mind include:

Better Relationships

When we enter our relationships as know-it-alls, we are closed off to new information about the people in our life. This attitude can alienate our loved ones and make it difficult to connect with them.

However, when we approach our relationships with a beginner’s mind, we are more open to learning about the people we care about. It can lead to deeper and more meaningful relationships.

Increased Creativity

With a beginner’s mind, we see the world with fresh eyes, leading to increased creativity. It can lead to new solutions at work, in your personal life, and in your relationships.

A Deeper Understanding of the World

We are not limited by our narrow perspective when we have a beginner’s mind. One of the loftier benefits of having a beginner’s mind is that it can lead to a deeper understanding of the world around us.

Less Anger and Frustration

When we approach the world with a beginner’s mind, we are less likely to get angry and frustrated because we are not attached to our ideas and opinions.

We are open to new information and willing to change our perspective if necessary.

A More Vivid Experience of Life

Those with a beginner’s mind tend to have a more vivid life experience because they are present in the moment and aware of their surroundings.

They are not lost in their thoughts or caught up in the past or the future. Instead, they are fully present and experiencing life as it happens.

Why Adults Lose The Beginner’s Minds: 10 Common Reasons

While the beginner’s mind is a valuable asset, many of us lose it as we become adults. It usually slips away over a long period and can be largely unconscious.

When we reflect on our lives, we realize how much we’ve changed.

Here are some of the most common reasons why adults lose the beginner’s mind:

1. The Pressure To Conform

As children, our caregivers encourage us to be curious and to ask questions. However, as we grow older, we are often pressured to conform to societal norms and expectations. 

We are told to be quiet and not to ask too many questions. This pressure can cause us to lose the beginner’s mind.

2. We Become Experts

One of the most common reasons adults lose the beginner’s mind is that they become experts in their field. 

man trying to learn how to play guitar why lose beginners mind

When we become experts, we often stop questioning and take things for granted. We assume that we know everything there is to know about our area of expertise. It can lead to a loss of the beginner’s mind.

3. We Don’t Expose Ourselves to New Experiences

One of the main reasons we lose the beginner’s mind is because we don’t expose ourselves to new experiences.

As we get older, we become comfortable with our routines and familiar with our surroundings. We may no longer need to try new things or explore the world around us.

This has a lot to do with our sense of security. When we feel secure, we are less likely to take risks. We may avoid new experiences because we are afraid of the unknown.

4. We Become Attached to Our Opinions and Beliefs

Another reason we lose the beginner’s mind is because we become attached to our opinions. Instead of seeing our opinions as something that influences our decisions, we start to mistake them for a part of ourselves. 

We become closed off to new information and perspectives that contradict our own.

5. We Only Focus On One Area of Our Life

Are you obsessed with your job? Do you pour all of your energy into family and neglect other areas of your life? If so, you may be sacrificing your beginner’s mind.

When we focus too much on one area of our life, we can become tunnel-visioned. We may miss out on new opportunities and experiences because we are too focused on what we are already doing. It becomes an unfamiliar and unsafe feeling to pursue other interests.

6. We Don’t Feel Safe

If we are in a bad environment and constantly being put down, we will not feel safe to experiment and explore. It’s one of the main reasons children are more likely to have a beginner’s mind than adults. They haven’t been hurt as much by life, and they still feel safe enough to try new things.

Trauma can also cause us to lose the beginner’s mind. If we have experienced a traumatic event, we may become more closed off and less likely to take risks. Our brains are trying to protect us from further harm.

7. We Are In Toxic Relationships

Toxic relationships can also cause us to lose the beginner’s mind. 

If we are constantly criticized or ridiculed by our partners, we will start to believe we are not good enough. It can lead to a loss of confidence and make it difficult to take risks.

We grow unsure of our abilities and less likely to try new things. We may become so focused on pleasing our partner that we forget to pursue our own interests.

8. We Suffer From Anxiety or Depression

Anxiety and depression can also cause us to lose the beginner’s mind. When we are anxious, we constantly worry about what could go wrong. This worry makes it difficult to take risks and try new things.

Depression can also make us lose the beginner’s mind. When depressed, we may feel like life is not worth living. We may become so focused on our negative thoughts that we forget to enjoy the good moments. This can make it difficult to take risks and pursue new experiences.

9. We May Be Stuck In Our Comfort Zones

Although we often associate a loss of a beginner’s mind with a negative experience, sometimes we can get stuck in our comfort zones.

We may have a great job that we love, but we never explore other interests. We may enjoy a happy and healthy relationship, but we never try new things together.

Although there is nothing wrong with being comfortable, it is vital to ensure that we are not sacrificing the beginner’s mind in the process.

10. Our Brains Change As We Age

As we age, our brains change. We may not be able to learn new things as easy as we did when we were younger. It’s possible, but it will be more difficult if we haven’t nurtured the neurons and pathways that enable learning.

We must work harder to maintain a beginner’s mind as we age, but it is possible. We just need to ensure that we are taking the time to learn new things and pursue new experiences.


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How Do You Cultivate a Beginner’s Mind?

If you feel that you don’t have a beginner’s mind, don’t worry. There are things that you can do to cultivate a beginner’s mind. After all, we all started with this mindset once upon a time.

Here are eight ways to cultivate a beginner’s mind:

1. Be Willing to Be a Beginner

It may seem obvious, but it’s important to remember that you cannot have a beginner’s mind if you are unwilling to be a beginner. You’ll need to be open to new experiences and accept that you may not know everything.

It can be scary to put yourself in new situations, but it is essential to remember that everyone was a beginner at one point. You can always learn from your mistakes, and you will never know unless you try. 

If you develop this mindset, you will be more likely to change your life and follow the mystery wherever it leads you.

2. Spend Time Meditating

Meditation can help you to focus on the present moment and be more aware of your thoughts and feelings. This can help cultivate a beginner’s mind by letting go of pre-conceived notions and judgment.

Meditation involves observing your thoughts without judgment and letting them pass through your mind like clouds. You will be more open-minded and accepting of new experiences as you lessen your attachment to them.

If you are new to meditation, many resources are available to help you get started. There are also many different types of meditation, so you can find one that suits your needs.

3. Change the Way You Talk

We often talk with certainty to let others know that we are authorities on topics or because we are afraid of sounding foolish. However, this type of talk can prevent us from being open to new ideas.

middle-aged woman goes backpacking why lose beginners mind

Instead of talking with certainty, try to use phrases such as “I wonder,” “I’m curious about,” and “What if.” These phrases will help you to sound more open-minded and encourage others to share their ideas with you.

You may also want to avoid using absolutes such as “never” and “always.” These words can close off your mind to new possibilities. Instead, try to use phrases such as “sometimes” and “may.”

4. Listen More Deeply to Others

To cultivate a beginner’s mind, you must listen deeply to others. Be present in the conversation and hear what the other person is saying.

It can be easy to get caught up in our thoughts and miss what someone is saying. However, if we take the time to listen, we can learn much from others – especially if we are open to hearing things we may not agree with.

Some ways to listen more deeply include pausing before responding to others, using our body language to show that we are listening, and listening with our hearts, not just our minds.

5. Ask More Questions

When we are curious about something, we tend to ask more questions. Questions are a great way to cultivate a beginner’s mind because you explore new ideas and learn more about the world around you.

Asking questions can also help you challenge your assumptions and think outside the box.

It can also reduce the anxiety that comes with feeling like we need to know everything. When we ask questions, we admit that we don’t know everything and that it’s okay not to have all the answers.

Some great questions to ask yourself and others include: “Why do you believe that?” “What if we looked at this from a different perspective?” and “How can I learn more about this?”.

6. Be Willing to Be Wrong

It can be challenging to cultivate a beginner’s mind if we are not willing to be wrongbecause we often associate being wrong with failure.

However, it is valuable to remember that everyone makes mistakes and that there is no shame in being wrong. In fact, making mistakes is how we learn and grow.

If we are not willing to be wrong, we will miss many opportunities to learn and explore. We will also close ourselves off to new ideas and experiences.

To better embrace a beginner’s mind, try to view mistakes as learning opportunities.

7. Change Your Routines and Rituals

If you want to cultivate a beginner’s mind, changing your routines and rituals is important. They can make us rigid and prevent us from being open to new things.

By changing your routines, you can become more flexible and adaptable. You may also find more energy and creativity when you break out of your usual routine.

Some ways to change your routines include adding a personal experience to your morning routine, taking a new route to work, and trying new things on your days off.

8. Get Into Nature

There is something about nature that can help bring us back to a beginner’s mind. Nature reminds us of the world’s vastness and how small we are in comparison.

When we are in nature, we can let go of our usual ways of thinking and allow ourselves to be more open-minded. We can also find inspiration in nature and use it to help us think outside the box.

Some great ways to get into nature include taking daily walks, hiking in the woods, or spending time by the ocean or in the mountains.

Final Thoughts

The beginner’s mind is a universal state, so it is something we can always return to. It is a state of mind that is open, curious, and willing to learn.

Cultivating a beginner’s mind can help us to see the world in new ways, challenge our assumptions, and find inspiration in unexpected places. It is an essential tool that we can use to become lifelong learners.

By listening more deeply to others, asking more questions, and being willing to be wrong, we open ourselves to new possibilities and improved quality of life.

Learning new things as adults is hard and make them lazy. Why does this happen, and how would you reactivate a beginner's mind?
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