I write a weekly column about business for a newspaper in Southern California, and this past weekend my column was about the valuable insight I felt I had gained from the concept of “Giving Everyone an A” from the book The Art of Possibility. The concept of removing false competition and instead helping individuals develop into their best possibility selves resonated deeply with me and mirrored the observations of my own experience.
Shortly after it was published I received notes from two readers. Neither of them were praise. Both pointed out that the concept had been floating around for 10 years and had already been disproven.
Had I written about a new insight I derived from reading the Bible or some other ancient religious text, I doubt that anyone would have said to me “What? You’re just discovering that? That text has been out for a few thousand years.”
This got me to thinking about the importance of giving others space for discovery.
There are plenty of books that were published 10 years ago, 20 years ago, and before I was born that can provide me and anyone else who reads them valuable insight. When I share how those books have helped me see the world a bit differently or have pushed me to question whether our assumptions about how we do things are correct, I’m not questioning other people’s experience or their own discoveries, I am simply illuminating mine in the hopes that my insight will spark someone to go off on an exploration of their own.
Beginner’s mind isn’t just about how you approach things, it’s about how you let others approach things as well.