Shoshin – The Beginners Mind


I have a little black book I carry around with me at all times. 

This 256-page leather bound A5 lined notebook holds all of my thoughts, lessons, musings, ideas and favourite quotes amongst its pages. Safe to say it is probably my most prized possession. I hope to be carrying one of these around with me for the rest of my life. It’ll be ace to see a wall of these journals documenting my life in 20 years.

Each time I start a new one of these journals. I nominate a theme/intention for the following 256 pages. This can be something simple like an expectation. It can be a long term desire. Or it can be a habit I’d like to cultivate in the next few months. 

When I started this one, it was nearing the end of 2018, I had spent some time reflecting on the year that was, whilst firmly looking towards 2019. You guys have read about my last 12-18 months thanks to my journal and these weekly emails. 
(So you don’t need a recap) 

My intention that I chose for the next few months (and beyond) was Shoshin. 

Shoshin (初心) is a word from Zen Buddhism meaning “beginner’s mind.” 
It refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner would. 

I was introduced to Shoshin from The Sisu Way – An epic Podcast about Grit, Character, Gratitude and Service (You should check it out)

The more I read, listen and learn, the more I realise how much it is I don’t know. If I decide to go into new situations and challenges thinking I know everything (an experts mind) then there is one of two outcomes. 
1. I look stupid (Not a hard feat for me)
2. I bullshit my way through, learn nothing and remain the same.

Not anymore (as much as I can help it). 
I want to face the challenges that are to come with Shoshin front of mind. Whether it be at work growing our team and our culture, coaching superstar humans to be better, playing football or fostering and cultivating my current and new relationships or simply just reading a new article.

I’ve spent the majority of this week learning how to snowboard. I am very much a beginner.
Over the years I’ve probably spent less than two weeks strapped into a board. Early into my career, I was going down a run and my capabilities were no match for my ego. Long story short, I lost control and hurt my knee. I blasted way past my edges and ended up injured. It took me a couple of years to get back on the board after that. Fortunately, I spent a week in Japan last Feb, had a few trips to Hotham last year and am now coming to the end of my second trip to Myoko, Japan.

I’m telling you this because I have been doing my best to approach each day, each run with humility. I’m still learning, and that’s ok. I’m getting better, I am improving each day. I truly believe that it is mostly because rather than blasting past my edges, I’m doing everything I can to find the edge and spend time dancing on it. Ensuring that I can continue to improve each time I strap myself in. 
I’m asking questions, paying close attention to how the board is feeling and moving. Spending more time in lower gears until I can feel improvement with the harder stuff. This allows me to push it and chase the steeper harder runs through the trees without completely fucking it up. 

I don’t need to pretend to know things I don’t or do things I can’t, I don’t want to remain ignorantly putting my head in the sand when something comes up that I know nothing about. I want to be able to say ‘I don’t know’ ‘I was wrong’ and ‘Can you please teach me’. 

So that’s what I’ll do. Shoshin. The beginner’s mind. Where there are many possibilities. 

Which parts of your life do you need to employ Shoshin?

Be a beginner.

Have an open mind.


image asset