Back in the day I made plenty of mistakes because I was so “overconfident.” As a hot-shot, CEO publisher at 29, I huffed & puffed around the office like I knew what I was doing, wearing bravado like a gold record around my neck. It was only due to years of reading the words of many wise swamis and cool sages, like Suziki, that I learned to reside in a “beginners mind.”
Overconfidence causes artists & entrepreneurs to overestimate their knowledge and underestimate the risks. It provokes blurred reasoning and leads to flippant decisions. Overconfidence always precedes sloppy work, and gives way to dissention & frustration within the team, which can ultimately lead to a total project breakdown. Why? Because overconfidence provokes arrogance & entitlement, which these days, is so transparent, it makes everyone squirm but the person who has it!
I know it’s obvious that as we grow in knowledge & experience, we also grow in confidence. However, I also think it’s equally true that the more we remain a vigilant perpetual student, the more we can access our deeper wisdom.
Consider the words of Suzuki as he whispers to us from his grave:
“It is better to remain in the beginners mind. In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.” ―Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind