Beginner's Mindset

- 1 min

“Always be the worst guy in every band you’re in. - so you can learn. The people around you affect your performance. Choose your crowd wisely.” - Chad Fowler (The Passionate Programmer)

“The Passionate Programmer” was one of the first books (maybe the first) I read that related to software. There was an abundance of technical things I wanted to learn and there were/are many books for those, however I needed an insight into the journey I was embarking on. More so an insight from someone who had done it successfully and Chad Fowler is certainly qualified to tell such a tale.

There’s a lot of great advice in that book, but the quote above is timeless. What Chad is talking about above I think is what is known as “The Beginner’s Mindset”. What this idea describes is the ability to see any new challenge from a beginner’s point of view removing any possible preconceptions, essentially turning your mind into a blank canvas ready to take input. This allows you to be more open to different approaches that others might use and by doing so you might also understand the subject at a deeper level.

This is an approach that expands beyond the walls of software of course and it applies to anything really. In fact this is a concept that can be found in the Zen Buddhism (“Shoshin” ).

Improvement often comes through humbling ourselves and seeking knowledge from others. Whether the person we’re learning from is a craftsperson, an apprentice, or a fellow developer is irrelevant. Knowledge manifests in different ways but we can only get the most out of it when we eliminate previous thoughts and seeing the task through the beginner’s eyes.

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