An experts ending is a beginners…

I posted the quote below as a comment over on Wisdump the other day.

If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything; it is open to everything. In the beginners mind there are many possibilities; in the experts mind there are few.

– Shunryo Suzuki

I have been thinking about the above quote off and on ever since posting it, and it’s relevance to blogging. The beginners know they need the experts to learn from but do the experts know they need the beginners just as much for innovation and inspiration? Once a beginner learns the basics they move on and away from the experts if they are creative. They begin to trust themselves, make decisions and above all else if they are smart, remain a beginner testing their limits in theory and in practice. Knowing only about one thing in this day and age can lead to complete failure if that is all you truly know, studied and have practised over the years. Knowing a lot about that one thing and recognizing that one thing leads to another thing that in turn connects to many other things aids in perpetual learning. As technology evolves we only learn to adapt to and improve upon pre-existing ideas by being a beginner.

Once upon a time an expert said the world was flat. Today the world is digital. Tomorrow?

There are always two sides to an idea but the possibilities in-between those two sides are endless. Maybe that is what the long-tail is.

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  1. says

    you mean the world is NOT flat? Oh man, you’re messing with my mind :-)

    “Once a beginner a learns the basics they move away from the experts” – that’s great food for thought there – and I’ve been thinking about it and it’s totally true.

    I recall many blogs that I used to visit religiously when I first began blogging that I rarely visit these days – they’re still in my rss reader.

    I see the whole blogosphere as one big long tail – the mass of “experts” followed by millions waging the tail.

  2. says

    Years ago there was a design firm called Kioken. They had people like Joshua Davis on their staff (,, etc.) and they said the reason they were so successful is because they didn’t know anything about the web.

    They did sites for Jennifer Lopez, P Diddy, etc. Tons of people in the entertainment industry. Since they didn’t know anything about usability or load times or browser compatibility they produced really cutting edge Flash stuff that the entertainment industry loved because it looked a lot like TV and allowed tons of user interaction and sound.

    I thought it was interesting – because they knew very little and had open minds they were very successful in the end.

  3. says

    We reviewed Shunryu Suzuki’s book over on Syntagma, linking it to a Steve Job keynote, in which he said much the same thing. All experts should read “Zen Mind, Beginners’ Mind”. Mandatory for bloggers ;-)

  4. says

    Martin – I had the same experience when I began blogging. Experts seem to write about the same thing. I read them to learn from just as I sat through school for 12 years and learned through each grade from a different teacher. Maybe experts are teachers? So the longtail could be the students?

    – because they knew very little and had open minds they were very successful in the end.

    Ben – That is a wonderful story! Are they considered Experts now?

    David – ha ha. Great metaphor though… everything and anything seems to relate to sex eh?

    John – Truth be told I don’t know who Shunryo Suziki is. I came across his quote in a mini-paperback I have. The wording and message I felt was fairly positive and in turn gave me some hope. I will check out your review of his book, thanks.