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A Beginners Mind

July 8, 2016

 

Tell a child why they can’t have cake for breakfast and they will tell you 50 reasons why they should. The concepts of ‘no’ and ‘can’t’ seemingly do not exist for children but somehow over the years as we develop into adults we acquire this line of reasoning for why things can’t be done. As a child we dream of becoming astronauts, the President of the United States, firefighters, or paleontologists but as we grow older somehow we reason ourselves into believing that none of this is possible. We have to go to school, get an undergrad degree and master’s degree, work in a cubicle, climb the corporate ladder, and retire. Let me be clear, there is nothing wrong with working for a corporation if that aligns with your goals but for many it is just a paycheck. What happened to the excitement and dreams we had as children?  We could blame the education system for killing our creativity and imagination, or we could blame our circumstances for never allowing us to do something great. It doesn't matter what excuse we label it as, the possibilities are endless if we can reacquire our childlike mindset. 

 

Having self-limiting beliefs is devastating to your success. Thinking that something is not possible does no good towards accomplishing your goals. If you start with the idea that something is not possible, then you have already limited yourself to the available options. Having a child's mind really comes down to constantly learning. If you stop learning how will you truly know if something can or cannot be done? Having a child's mind is really allowing yourself to be open to new ideas and instead of saying no or can’t, figuring out how.

The entire aviation and space industry is the perfect embodiment of this idea. First it was said we could never fly, then the Wright Brothers flew. Then we couldn't break the sound barrier, but Chuck Yeager accomplished this in 1947. It was said that we could never escape the atmosphere and gravity of Earth, yet Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space in 1961. While a group of seasoned professionals believed we could not reach the moon, a team of 20 year olds with technology no better than a modern day calculator got us there. Just recently is was believed that a rocket could not be landed back on Earth. It has been accomplished 8 times in the last year by multiple privately funded space companies. These are the results for just one industry. Most people in the investment world don’t believe it's possible to consistently outperform the market but there are hundreds of funds who consistently post incredible results. Take Renaissance Technology for example. Their hedge fund has averaged 71% annualized before fees for the last 20 years. Accomplishments like these would have never been achieved if they were limited by unfounded beliefs. 

 

Only after enough research has been done and the idea has been tried multiple times can something be deemed presently impossible. The failure that will result from trying to accomplish the seemingly impossible serves as a great teacher. It will identify what needs to be invented now in order for the ultimate goal to be reached. Failing and learning from those failures is a core component of a childlike mindset. 

 

Having a child’s mind of being open to new ideas without limits is one of the most important principles at Blackpier. Without it much of what we have accomplished would have never even been considered. 

 

 

TM

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