Do you remember how curious and apt learners we were in our childhood? We were genuinely surprised even by familiar things, and could learn things like a poem or a song in a few hours which are still stuck with us now, for better or worse.
We may be adults but do we really have to lose the curiosity of our childhood?
This condition of curiosity became the basis for the definition of the "beginner's mindset", which was first described by the journalist Tom Vanderbilt.
According to Vanderbilt, the thinking of a beginner, or just "beginners" as he terms these individuals, is a skill where a person is open to new things, but also curious and interested in familiar settings.
This skill is especially useful not only in learning but also in how we work. Usually we learn something with a specific purpose for a specific goal: to get a promotion, start a new business, maybe to show off how awesome we are, and so on.
But what if you try to implement a "beginner's mindset" into your life and work without any specific goals in mind? Then the learning process becomes much easier and more engaging, and even life can be brighter and less stressful, it’s like a “seize the day” mentality with a side order of “learn from your mistakes”.
Tom Vanderbilt identified various criteria for effective learning, such as:
— it is more effective to learn from your own mistakes and experiences;
— practical application and training of new skills should be varied and regular;
— productivity and dedication are greater if you need to share new knowledge with others.
All of which probably seem obvious, but aren’t all valuable tips and tricks just what we already know just being retold to us when we are ready to hear them. So the point is, we should all remember that the pleasures of learning aren't reserved for the “young”, but available for us all to enjoy and benefit from, so get out there, wherever that may be and embrace being the newbie, the beginner.
One way companies can help encourage this mindset is to nurture the curiosity of new remote hires and not let it die by leaving these employees only to pre scheduled meetings and doing things exactly as they were done before. We at Teemyco usually recommend creating a "Welcome Bob" desk, if Bob is the new joiner, and then colleagues swing by, whenever they have a second, to get acquainted with their new co-worker just like in a traditional office. But, of course, standard features like asking a quick question, dropping in on someone when you are stuck, co-working side-by-side, and, using the walkie talkie features also are of huge help for beginners too.