I start to squirm whenever I’m in a conversation where the person I’m talking to has all the answers—especially “over-ripe” showbiz people who have amassed their 10,000 hours. Once they begin speaking in a way that is “sure and absolute,” it becomes clearly obvious that it’s not a lack of talent or ability that keeps them stuck, it’s all that puffed-up, righteous knowledge from past experiences that prevents them from moving forward in their career. And try as you might, it’s very challenging to present new options or ideas to someone who has a boatload of answers and a string of marginal successes to back it up—yet are still trying to figure out how to breakthrough to the next level.
I know it’s obvious that as we grow in knowledge and experience, we also grow in confidence. However, it’s also equally true that “overconfidence” can be just as much of a career killer as a lack of confidence. Overconfidence provokes arrogance and entitlement, which these days, is so transparent, it makes everyone else squirm but the person who has it!
I learned from the great sage Suziki, to always remain in a “beginners mind,” no matter how much knowledge or experience we stockpile. Therefore, I think the taller we stand in an “answer-free zone,” and the more we remain a flexible, perpetual student of showbiz, the more we can see clearly the extraordinary, new opportunities and possibilities that are opening up all around us, as the industry we love continues to transform and grow before our very eyes.