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How To Start Living With The Beginner’s Mindset?

by Anna Godefroy

When was the last time you learnt something new? Have you picked up a new hobby recently? Have you ever dared to do something extraordinary and escaped the routine?

It’s hard...isn’t it? We are creatures of habit so breaking out of comfortable daily regime might sound appealing, but hard to achieve! Staying eager to learn and experiment is a lifestyle that everyone can master but few of us choose to do it. 

I personally moved countries five times and started a brand new life (and career) each time in the last 10 I think we can agree to say that I like the challenge of starting from scratch and learning new things and people. This has made me become an entrepreneur without really realising I was becoming one.

Laurence was born from the need to cultivate this mentality, and below are some tips on how to start something new and shiny!


What is a beginner’s mentality lifestyle?

Eagerness to experiment and continuously improve is in Laurence’ DNA. I came across the concept of shoshin and I felt it defined my mentality perfectly. It’s a word coined by Zen Buddhists that means ‘having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner in that subject would.’ To me, that summarises the beginner's mind.

I believe it’s a concept that can be applied to every single aspect of our lives. Whether it’s improving your cooking skills, learning a new language, travelling the world or climbing the career ladder - you have to have shoshin to achieve it. Otherwise, you will stay in your comfort zone forever and die slowly from boredom.


Step 1: Tune Out The Outside (And Inside) Noise

“I’m too unfit to run a half marathon”... “I’d love to travel the world, but I’ll never find such a great job again”...”Don’t you think it’s a bit ridiculous to learn how to roller skate?”... Sounds familiar? It’s the voices that are around and inside, that stop us from breaking out of the routine.

In my opinion, the first step of getting out of the comfort is tuning out opinions of those around you and your own preconceptions.

I’m inspired by those who dare to learn something new with an open mind. Check out the hashtag #365daysofskate. It is filled with newby roller skaters who are documenting their journey, wins and falls - can’t help it but feel inspired to pick up a cool hobby.

When brainstorming a business idea for Laurence, I couldn’t help myself but wonder - so many businesses fail, competition is fierce… the fear of failure was real (and it still is!). So how come I started this anyway? In fact, nothing changed, I still get scared! But I’m letting our eagerness explore this adventure take the driver’s seat no matter what the little voice in my head is saying.


Step 2: How Do You Start?

Great, you’ve decided to jump on board and try something new… now what? Well, there’s no better answer to that but just simply - go for it. Is there one thing you’ve always wanted to try but never dared to? Or maybe a hobby that you’ve had (dreamed of) for years? There’s no better time to explore this than now. Things are slow anyway these days so you may as well explore something new and exciting.

This is how Laurence was born. I had taken hundreds of photos on my travels and I was wondering if I could do something ‘artsy’ with them. I’ve opened photoshop and, uploaded the first photo and started experimenting. I’m not an expert at photo editing but just like that, the first print was born!


Step 3: Go Slow But Have A Goal In Mind

Free yourself of expectations about what will happen and just enjoy the process as a child would. When you are savouring the moment, that’s when the magic happens. Only when you let go of preconceptions you are able to perform that kickflip, stay in headstand and say the first sentence in Chinese.

The thought that one day my love for photography and art would materialise into a fashion and accessory business seemed like a crazy goal. Yet it evolved naturally. From designing the first print to placing it on a prototype backpack to sourcing manufacturers  - it has been a fantastic ride and I’ve enjoyed every moment, especially the learning along the way.


Step 4: Surround yourself with shoshin mindset

As soon as you get a bit of progress in your new adventure, it’s easy to fall into a comfortable lul again. That’s why I encourage you to surround yourself with those who champion the beginner's mindset. If not physically then in the virtual world. I follow hundreds of young photographers, street artists, roller skaters and art school graduates to keep myself on my toes.

Here are some of my favourites: