“Effective beginners afford themselves the leeway to be shamelessly bad at something for long enough to learn from their mistakes and get better. It’s hard: given the choice, most people like to be good at things, and learning comes from exposing our ignorance, leaning into uncertainty, struggling with the unknown — not rehashing what we’ve already mastered. Perfectionists aren’t good learners. Beginners are. No matter how much we already know, a beginner’s mindset gives us the curiosity and sense of adventure to learn more.”Paul Graham
My Sunday started with a reminder from William Deresiewicz and a random New Yorker about how much time and effort it may take to master a skill that we are presumably born with. My initial reaction was to share it on LinkedIn, but since it was both my first thought and an impulse, I had to put restraint on my racing brain. And guess what my second thought turned out to be?
“I find for myself that my first thought is never my best thought. My first thought is always someone else’s; it’s always what I’ve already heard about the subject, always the conventional wisdom. It’s only by concentrating, sticking to the question, being patient, letting all the parts of my mind come into play, that I arrive at an original idea. By giving my brain a chance to make associations, draw connections, take me by surprise. And often even that idea doesn’t turn out to be very good. I need time to think about it, too, to make mistakes and recognize them, to make false starts and correct them, to outlast my impulses, to defeat my desire to declare the job done and move on to the next thing.“William Deresiewicz
“I’ve spent my life trying to undo habits—especially habits of thinking. They narrow your interaction with the world. They’re the phrases that come easily to your mind, like: ‘I know what I think,’ or ‘I know what I like,’ or ‘I know what’s going to happen today.’ If you just replace ‘know’ with ‘don’t know,’ then you start to move into the unknown. And that’s where the interesting stuff happens.“Humans of New York