Bruce Lund on the Beginner’s Mind

 John Ruh  Continuous Improvement, Leadership, Professional Development

Bruce Lund is the owner/founder of Lund and Company Innovation, a toy design (Inventors of Tickle Me Elmo) and product invention company ( dedicated to the proposition that toys are profoundly important. Great toys teach, entertain, surprise, inspire and invite inquiry. He began the business on his back porch 25 years ago and now works out of a beautiful new building at 344 Lathrop Avenue in River Forest, IL.

Bruce wrote this blog that I thought you might find it useful. In today’s business climate, many people have become discouraged and this concept (really a model or paradigm) can be useful in helping to break out of the doldrums. I welcome your comments.

Posted March 26, 2009

On the Beginner’s Mind – (Thank you, Mr. John Ruh)

In our work, as John noted yesterday, we have to have the ‘Beginner’s Mind,’ that innocent state of mind – a way of thinking and believing that all things possible. He was right. I had forgotten that term. The Beginner’s Mind does not know what cannot be done, and thus all things become possible.

Typically, as we age and learn we develop this acute sense of what can’t be done, what is impossible. We become clever, logical, and incisive in our thinking and we begin to start demonstrating to others how smart we are at perceiving what won’t work. Most all of the designers I have worked with over these last 25 years have been keen to explain to me why ideas I suggest will not or cannot work. I am always entertained by their explanations and often frustrated, I will admit. But of course, they are on the threshold of discovering the processes of invention. These processes make the unlikely possible, and on occasion, the impossible possible. But only if you can approach the work with the Beginner’s Mind.

When we take on a project that we do not believe can work, we will always be right – and it won’t work. It is a tribute to the designers, inventors, and tinkerers who have been successful contributors to our team that they have been able set aside their inborn, natural critic to undertake projects without pre-judgment of the likely outcome. In doing so, they are often surprised at what they accomplish.

There is a special joy in making something that one didn’t think could be made, in doing something one didn’t believe could be done. We do that time and again because we are willing to believe all things possible with the innocence of thought, the absence of doubt, the suspension of disbelief . . . the Beginner’s Mind.