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How to foster ‘shoshin’ | Psyche Guides

https://psyche.co/guides/how-to-cultivate-shoshin-or-a-beginners-mind

psyche.co

How to foster ‘shoshin’ | Psyche Guides
It’s easy for the mind to become closed to new ideas. Cultivating a beginner’s mind helps us rediscover the joy of learning

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Shunryu Suzuki

"In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few."

Shunryu Suzuki

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Shoshin: The beginner's mind

Shoshin: The beginner's mind

Shoshin is the Japanese Zen term for a "beginner's mind' and refers to a paradox: The more knowledge you have on a subject, the more likely you are to close your mind to further learning.

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Overestimating your knowledge

  • Having an academic degree in a subject can lead people to overestimate their knowledge. Studies showed that graduate participants frequently overestimated their level of understanding.
  • Even feeling like an expert also breeds closed-mindedness. Research also showed that giving people the impression that they were relatively expert on a topic led them to be less willing to consider other viewpoints.

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Fostering a beginners mind

Intellectually humble people know more because they are open to new information and more willing to be receptive to other people's perspectives.

Approaching issues with a beginner's mind or intellectual humility can help you become more knowledgeable, less overconfident, and more willing to engage with others.

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Establish a realistic sense of your own knowledge

Most of us overestimate our understanding of various subjects, known as the 'illusions of explanatory depth.' When you make an effort to explain a relevant issue or topic to yourself or someone else in detail, it will reveal the gaps in your knowledge and expose the illusion of expertise.

This exercise can be simplified by spending a few seconds reflecting on your ability to explain a given issue to a real expert in a step-by-step manner.

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Confirmation bias: An obstacle to being open-minded

Confirmation bias is a major hurdle to being open-minded: We seek information supporting our current views and beliefs.

We can overcome this bias by being aware of it. We can take steps to work against it by actively pursuing information and perspectives that contradict our current position.

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The growth mindset theory

If we see intelligence and aptitudes as pliable rather than fixed, we can learn better.

A series of studies showed that intellectually humble people also tended to have a growth mindset. If you see intelligence as something you can develop, then finding holes in your knowledge opens up new opportunities for education.

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Awe increases intellectual humility

Deliberately invoking the emotion of awe quietens the ego. It also creates a greater willingness to look at things differently while recognizing the gaps in one's knowledge.

Invoking the emotions of awe and wonder, such as looking at the aurora borealis, also reduces the need to be satisfied by closed arguments.

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Having An Open Mind

Having An Open Mind

Being open-minded is a quality that makes us receptive to a diverse range of ideas, arguments and perspectives that may not align with our own.

If we are not open-minded, w...

Closed-Minded People

They are the individuals that only entertain their existing viewpoints, not being receptive to new ideas and previously unknown beliefs.

Having strong beliefs is not an indicator of a closed mind. One can have strong convictions and yet be empathetic towards others who have a different viewpoint.

Cognitive Dissonance

When a new piece of information that we learn from ourselves conflicts with our existing beliefs, and we are unable to deny the authenticity of the new idea, we experience Cognitive Dissonance.

If we are able to revise and update our outdated or incorrect belief patterns, we move towards learning and personal growth.

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The Dunning-Kruger effect

It's a type of cognitive bias in which people believe that they are smarter and more capable than they really are. Inexperience masquerades as expertise. And we tend to see it in other people,...

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It means being actively curious about your blind spots. It’s not about lacking confidence, or self-esteem. It’s about entertaining the possibility that you may be wrong and being open to learning from the experience of others.

Why we need more intellectual humility

  1. Our culture promotes and rewards overconfidence and arrogance; 
  2. At the same time, when we are wrong — out of ignorance or error — and realize it, our culture doesn’t make it easy to admit it. Humbling moments too easily can turn into moments of humiliation.

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The Five Signs Of Intellectual Dependability

Most mentors or guides show the following signs to help you gauge if they are intellectually dependable:

  1. Intellectual benevolence.
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  3. Communicative clarity.
  4. Audience sensitivity
  5. Intellectual guidance.

Finding Trustworthy People For Guidance

To seek the solution to the dilemma of intellectual dependency, we need to find a person having the basic virtue of intellectual benevolence, the added trust and care of the person who is approached by us.