How to Break Your Old Thought Patterns and Be Truly Innovative

Your expertise is getting in the way of your creativity. Employ these tools to embrace a beginner's mindset

Source | | Aytekin Tank

Fifteen years ago, I spent about half of my time doing work I considered myself an expert in. I was an experienced software engineer building a product that people actually liked and used. When I was working on the product, I felt confident and competent. I knew what to expect and how to deliver.

The rest of the time, though, I felt like I’d been thrown in the deep end without a flotation device. I was doing marketing, operations, finances and even some ad hoc design work, none of which I’d ever done before but was now my responsibility. Even though JotForm has grown into a bona fide tech company, at the beginning, it was just me on a laptop trying to figure stuff out. 

If you’ve ever started a company, this will sound familiar. 

At first, I felt like a failure. But, I was more energized than I’d been in years. Every day felt like an opportunity to try something new. That’s the joy of being a beginner. 

Beginners see possibilities where experts see problems. We can all benefit from a beginner’s mindset, even — maybe especially — in areas where we’re experts.

The benefits of a beginner’s mindset

beginner’s mindset can feel counterintuitive, especially if you’re highly accomplished in your field. Isn’t it your job to be an expert?

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