This post is cross posted from my LinkedIn account. You'll find most/all comments there.
A beginner's mind happens once. I want to create more opportunities where I am a beginner.
I mostly believe the "fail fast" mantra. The two words convey both a culture of experimentation and a sense of time. General Douglas MacArthur had a great quote, "The history of the failure of [insert your objective] can almost be summed up in two words: too late." I don't want to be too late to begin new things.
In a world where we are encouraged to fail faster, we tend to hold on to the vanity of needing to be an expert with our co-workers, customers, family members and even strangers. We crave to learn new things, but the irony is that we become conditioned to avoid new things because of the risk of failure. If you want to be cruel, then during the next high profile video conference, slide the remote control over to an unsuspecting participant and ask them to do something.
Here are three areas where I currently have a beginners mind.
First is the Airstream. Fifty one feet of AWESOME when connected to the tow vehicle. This is not the first time to the rodeo for us. We've owned/operated both a Class C (medium sized) and a Class A (super sized) motorhome for 15 years. We've had the Airstream a week & oh .... the things we've learned!
Connection. The hitch we use is an engineering marvel. It is a monster. According to the website, it is the worlds most advanced trailer sway control hitch. Safety first when towing the 10,000 pound beast. You'll appreciate this when driving next to me! It took us an hour to figure out how to unhitch it in the dark. I've gotten slightly better, but not much.
Humility. There is nothing like trying to backup fifty one feet of AWESOME into a 10' wide opening between 2 big obstacles. Extra credit for doing it while people are watching! Thanks for the excellent backing up tips in this Art of Manliness article. I think everybody should be able to precisely park a semi-truck like my buddy who was a professional truck hostler at the age of 13. Don't worry, I'd never heard the word hostler before either.
Never say never. Don't drive at night, Don't setup at night. Don't drive through heavily congested metro areas at rush hour. Avoid thunderstorms & hail. Avoid narrow little lanes, especially in close proximity to big trucks. I broke all these rules within the first two hours!
Opportunity. If I'm open to it, I can learn about weight distribution bars, brake controllers, rediscovered tools, pole alignment, resource conservation, solar power, securing class V to IV sleeve adapters and an almost limitless number of other things.
Fitness (Play). Last is really learn to snowboard this winter season. If you are an avid skier, then it is likely that you barely remember learning how to ski. Try snowboarding. I tried once 10 years ago and I've never been on the ground so many times in a single day. Can an old dog begin to learn new tricks? We'll see.
You get one life. Begin new things. One other note, when you hire new people in the organization, have them go through your product onboarding process. You too can be a beginner at user testing and evaluation.