In praise of the “child’s mind” …

One of my current summer reads is “Presentation Zen” …

Theme of the book is that great slide presentations contain appropriate content arranged in the most efficient, graceful manner without superfluous decoration.

In Zen-speak, the key principles are: Restraint in preparation. Simplicity in design. Naturalness in delivery.

Now, to today’s point …


Recently, one friend said of another friend : He’s like an “infant-adult”.

Nothing derogatory intended.

Just observing that the guys seemed to derive a “wow” from practically every experience.

That makes life a lot more enjoyable (I think).

And, it’s very Zen-like.

According to the book, Zen teachings often speak of the “beginner’s mind” or “child’s mind.”


From Presentation Zen:

Like a child, one who approaches life with a beginner’s mind is fresh, enthusiastic, and open to the vast possibilities of ideas and solutions before them.

A child does not know what is not possible and so is open to exploration, discovery, and experimentation.

If you approach tasks with the beginner’s mind, you can see things more clearly, unburdened by your fixed views, habits, and what conventional wisdom says it is (or should be).

One who possesses a beginner’s mind is not burdened by old habits or obsessed about “the way things are done around here” or with the way things could have or should have been done.

A beginner is open, receptive, and more inclined to say “Why not?” or “Let’s give it a shot,” rather than “It’s never been done” or “That’s not common.”

When you approach a new challenge as a true beginner (even as a seasoned adult), you need not be saddled with fear of failure or making mistakes.

If you approach problems with the “expert’s mind,” you are often blind to the possibilities.

Your expert’s mind is bound by the past; it is not interested in the new, different, and untried.

Your expert’s mind will say, “It can’t be done” or “It shouldn’t be done.”

Your beginner’s mind will say, “I wonder if this can be done?”

Let’s hear it for all infant-adults …



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