I’m not trying to dig the knife any deeper into the wound but I am kind of giving it a little wiggle. Actually, it’s a fact for many of us that sometimes, it seems as though we are getting completely and utterly obliterated by beginners. I’m sure you’ve experienced such an instance and you’re probably wondering how in god’s name they could possibly manage such feats of magical success without much experience or knowledge. Well, let’s dive right into it and find out where that “beginner’s luck” comes from.
The truth is everyone who’s ever done anything worthwhile has been a beginner at one point. There is a specific factor that makes a beginner a beginner. That specific factor is what gives the beginner the sharp edge over you. The great thing about life and living is that no matter how lost you get, you can always find your way back with your roadmap or that of another. A while back, I experienced this eye-drying phenomenon of being “newbied”. I was working a desk job. I had been at this place for sometime and hard learned most of the ropes of getting the job done. It actually became somewhat boring simply because it became way to easy. But the pay was good and I knew pretty much all there was to know about it so I went on my business. Then came this newbie; total beginner. He knew nothing; not even where the bathroom was. Little did I expect, after a week, he could chop more wood that I ever thought possible. Now luckily, I’m not much of a jealous fellow. But don’t kid yourself I was stumped. How could some simple person with no knowledge whatsoever manage to pump out more work than me, knowing less than me?
The first that popped into my head was talent. This person must have some innate talent to push pencils. Must be that, right? Turned out not quite. Without much trouble, you could very well see a lack of neatness in administration. So I checked that off the list. The next thing I thought of was experience. Perhaps he had some experience in this after all that I didn’t know about. I “Sherlock Holmes’d” my approach and prodded further. Turns out it was his first time at a desk. Have you ever felt your face itch with impatience? I really was dying to know how he could completely obliterate my production speed. It wasn’t what you think. It’s probably so simple; you’ve already dismissed it.
This beginner was quite simply willing to know. Permission granted to look confused. But it’s quite simple really. He was simply willing to know. And he had no choice to be in such a position because he knew nothing. He knew he knew nothing. He was conscious of that. With this in mind, he managed to get the upper hand. Here is how. While I had perfected my skills through experience, he had learned a new technology that made my skill obsolete. In a week or so, he had managed to fly past me in high gear. Seems too simple but it’s true. This is what beginner’s luck is. The beginner is perfectly willing to learn about the subject because he assumes he knows nothing about it. This makes him open to learning the new stuff that makes the old stuff look like the dark ages.
“What about my lifetime of experience”, you might scream out. Well experience is definitely an asset. But it must not come at the cost of learning the new deal. And that is essentially why some with insane amounts of experience fall to beginners. They end up assuming they know all about it and lose their willingness to know. New technologies come out but they stay with their old methods and eventually lose the battle to the beginner. Now I’m not saying beginners rule the world and that we shouldn’t care for the professional who’s cut 5000 trees. But one thing is for sure; even the professional must assume he knows nothing about it and be willing to learn. Otherwise, he risks becoming obsolete. Perfect example of this: Kodak. Kodak (the company) was so sure about its film, it kept producing it even after the digital camera came out. It seemed they knew film could never go out of style. Fast-forward 4 years into the digital era and Kodak was going bankrupt. They did realise at one point that film was leaving the consumer’s eyes and they did try to catch up in the digital side, but never did make it out alive. They knew all about photography and it cost them their market share.
Take the beginner’s attitude towards your subject and pair it with your experience and existing knowledge. And may you never get beat by a beginner again.
A & R at Father & Son Records
© Photo by Atul Bhat