14th July, 2022
In this Guru Purnima week, let’s continue with the concept of learning.
To grow, it is far better to adopt a beginner’s mind.
In martial arts, new students wear a white belt.
It symbolizes that the wearer is an empty vessel ready to be filled.
Georges St Pierre, one of the greatest mixed-martial-artists of all time, credits thinking like an eternal beginner for his success, “I keep the white-belt mentality that I can learn from anyone, anywhere, anytime, everything is knowledge, all must be learned.”
Having a white belt’s mentality means that you treat every day as if it’s day one of your learning journey. It means thinking everyone you meet – from the meanest street sweeper to the wisest business leader, has something new and interesting to teach you.
This transforms even the most mundane interaction into a learning opportunity.
Everybody wants to be seen as a wise man, as proud and all-knowing as the mountain, but paradoxically, it is only in the deepest valleys that you find sweet fruit and fertile soil.
Even Jesus concurs, saying:
“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and everyone who humbles himself will be exalted.”
The act of growing is the delicate balance of opposites.
To elevate yourself, you must first humble yourself. To go forwards you must first go backward.
To become an expert, you must adopt a beginner’s mind.
See the world through the bright eyes of an eternal student.
A major part of being a white belt includes the fact that everybody has knowledge and experience to offer.
However, along the line, people tend to lose that mentality. As someone gets better at something, it can be easier to allow his or her pride to keep him or her from seeking other people’s advice.
The important thing to note about the white-belt mentality is that the mentality is not conditional to your level of experience.
The mentality should remain the same despite your degree of knowledge. Everyone has a unique approach to things as well as unique experiences that allows them to have a unique body of knowledge that they can share with others. The fact is, if you aren’t learning new things, you’re going to remain stagnant.
If you are only seeking knowledge from a select group of people, then you are severely limiting the amount of knowledge that you can gain.
Approach your craft with the mentality of someone with a white-belt.
Everybody has something they can teach you!
Adopt the ‘White Belt Mentality’ and stay blessed forever.