Beginner's Mind

“It often happens that two students can solve difficulties in their work for one another better than the master can. The fellow-pupil can help because he knows less. The difficulty we want him to explain is one he has recently met. The expert met it so long ago he has forgotten.”

C.S. Lewis

When I was supervising a team of engineers, I would often train new hires but also bring in a recent “graduate” from a previous training session to sit in with these new hires. The concepts were still fresh in their minds, while I may have taken for granted what should be common knowledge because it was “basic.”

While learning how to sketch and paint here recently, I grabbed a couple of books such as “Beginning Watercoloring” or “Learn to Draw” that was absolutely worthless. I am drawing stick figures but the examples shown in the book were full on portraits in pencil that would take years to master.

If I were to ask an artist right now how do you do this or that, they may not be able to convey properly what I need to learn. No, I need someone who is at the same level to learn with and challenge each other to become better. I am ignorant and sometimes don’t know what to ask, so how can I effectively learn from a “master?”

This is a great time to document what you are doing and learning right now because eventually you can look back on it and see your progress. As opposed to making something crap, then posting for everyone to see and offer fake kudos or “likes.” This doesn’t help. The expert takes for granted all of the fundamental concepts needed because they’ve moved on. They’ve built their knowledge and their foundation and have put their own flair on it.

This applies to utility engineering, to drawing, to photography or everything else. Innate talent will only take you so far. Embrace your beginner status and learn to have fun. Document your progress and appreciate the journey.