Monday, October 10, 2011

Art of Finding & Learning (#7): Beginner's Mind

Heard a sermon yesterday and I think what was brought up applies here - the concept of learning with a beginner's mind.  Comes from the word, "shoshin" from the disciplines of Zen Buddhism and Japanese martial arts.  It suggests that we approach learning in the same way as a beginner, that is with: eagerness,openness, and without any preconceptions.

This attitude is a key trait of a fine reference librarian.  The reference librarian has to come to any request without being tempted to react: "don't you know that;"  "let me tell you;" or "not again!"  They need to put on the mind of the inquirer and see the issue from their inquiry.

For ourselves personally, it is always our assumptions that trip us up.  If you can start fresh or from the beginning, you can avoid this problem.  I suggest to my students that they "pretend as if" whenever they get a research paper assignment or when they are on the job and are told to go find the answer.  We may indeed know nothing or even care less, but the full answer will not come easily unless we can approach the issue as if interested, curious, or captivated.

Are you?

1 - Willing to learn
2 - Willing to pass it on to others
3 - Eager for life-long learning

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