Twice within twenty four hours, I heard stories referencing the idea of a young child’s experience walking down the street.

The first was during a conversation between the record producer Rick Rubin and podcast host Krista Tippett. They remarked about how wonderful – in the literal sense of the word – a child’s walk down the street is compared to ours. They have no concept of time and hence aren’t in any rush. They stop and pick things up – even if we wished they didn’t. They are curious and present. It was used as an example of a beginner’s mind – the idea of seeing or doing something as if it were the first time.

The second child walking story popped in my email box this morning, courtesy of Fast Company. This detailed a new tool for urban planners that uses virtual reality to take you on a walk as if you were a three year old child. Seeing from this vantage point can offer opportunities on how to design our cities not just so they are more safe for children but more lovely and – again that word – wonderful. 

A beginner’s mind is a beautiful and powerful idea. It involves seeing the world or doing something with humility and attentiveness. It requires us to suspend prior judgment or knowledge and approach things as if for the first time. 

It makes me wonder if the whole idea of beginner’s luck is rooted in this idea. That this luck is actually a byproduct of a fresh perspective that dismisses  ways things are normally done or seen.

Rubin makes the point that this can be a practice that can be developed and nurtured regardless of whether you’re three, thirty or ninety years old.

One example is to just commit to watching the sunset. Whether you do it everyday or once a month, the idea is that a sunset is one of those things where two are seldom alike. So by spending just a few minutes you will see it as if for the first time, increasing your appreciation for their brilliance but making you feel small – in a good way  – relative to the wonder of the world. 

As we get older, so too does our perspective and appreciation. We can become set in our ways, certain tasks become “second nature.”  Yet so much of our breakthroughs and joys are derived from embarking on new paths or seeing things in a new light. 

Last year, my oldest daughter was given a science project where she had to go outside everyday and look at the night sky to notice patterns in the phases of the moon. She invited me to join and I happily obliged. Each time I would look up in wonder and just imagine what it must be like to be an astronaut who had traveled to or even landed on the moon. It was beyond my comprehension – which I loved.

Her project is long over but each night, as I take our dog out for one last bathroom break, I always look up – as if seeing that sky for the first time…again and again and again.

I could use more of those moments or practices in my life, perhaps you could as well.  Here’s to our beginnings – and a new way to see, appreciate and improve our worlds.

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