I’ve Seen It Before

It's a mistake I see quite often. A person assumes that because they've already read a book, already been trained in a particular area, have a diploma or degree in a subject, they've “seen this before.”

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I've experienced it myself. I've gone to a conference, for instance, and listened to a talk about goals, and thought to myself, “I've heard all this before.”

There's a danger there.

I once heard Bill Johnson say, “When you decide you already know everything, you've chosen where to level off.”

I  recently decided to stop thinking that I knew everything, that I had “seen it all before”. I decided to approach every environment, every book, every seminar… with the mind of a newcomer, of a beginner.

So now, when I hear a sermon or a speaker at a conference, or read a blog post, and catch myself thinking, “I don't need this. I've seen it before”,  I immediately take that as a signal to ask myself a different, better question: “What part of this have I not seen yet? What can I still learn? What new revelation is in this old passage for me now, today?”

Not surprisingly, I found my progress in many areas of my life has accelerated exponentially. That is what tends to happen when you approach everything with the mind of a beginner.

I haven't seen it before. Have you?

Ray Edwards is a world-renowned copywriter and communications strategist, writing for some of the most powerful voices in leadership and business including New York Times bestselling authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Tony Robbins. Ray is a sought-after speaker and author, hosts a popular weekly podcast, and blogs at RayEdwards.com.

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  • Excellent reminder Ray. Even if we “think” we have heard it before, every person explains things in a different way and they bring different life experiences to the discussion. You may have heard similar content from a different presenter, but the new presenter will have a different perspective that can trigger new ideas for your own life (or business).

    One of my mentors early in my career told me, “The day you stop learning how to improve your skills is the day you should retire!”

    • Steve, great points, and I love the quote from your mentor.

  • I’m not a Hindu, but I resonate with their concept of a “beginner’s mind.” It’s the mind of a child – questing, questioning, welcoming, learning. It’s supple and receptive. Instead, too often we get proud and dogmatic about things. In our family systems. Current relational network. Our geography. Jesus spoke about this: “You must become like a child to enter my world of possibilities.” Great focus on this post! Thanks.