CoolData blog

6 April 2010

Always be a beginner

Filed under: Training / Professional Development — Tags: , — kevinmacdonell @ 11:12 am

(Creative Commons licence. Click photo for source.)

Spring is here, and with it has come a small flurry of communications with conference program planners. They need session titles and summaries for presentations I’m to give, presentations which I’ve barely conceived of yet. That’s the way it goes, though, and nothing focuses the mind like a deadline.

One session at an early stage of gestation is something I’m calling “Regression for Beginners.” Implied in that title, I suppose, is the attitude that I’m the expert, condescending to share a little knowledge with my audience of beginners. Not to give too much away, but I intend to begin this presentation by declaring myself a proud Beginner.

We should always be in the state of beginning. It’s OK to be up to your eyeballs in something that you don’t completely understand. As long as we make a little progress every day, we are successful beginners. When we release our grasp on comfort, we grow. When the ground is moving under our feet and we give up on security as a worthwhile goal, we make progress.

At no other time are we as quite alive as when we are engaged in beginning. Not thinking about the next thing to look forward to, not looking back on things accomplished, but immersed in the heady now, challenged but at the same time having some inner certainty that the challenge is surmountable.

When your day includes more rote than challenge, it might be time to find a field of knowledge or a job or an activity you know little about – but that you feel somehow ready for, that you feel can be of use or help to others – and jump in.

Anyone for a little multiple regression?

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