Solving Problems By Becoming a Newbie


What is a newbie? Someone who basically doesn’t know much, or lacks experience.

And sometimes, having the mindset of a newbie can help solve problems. And the first step is to learn how to unlearn the things you know.

What does that mean? And why do you need to learn how to unlearn?

Because of one main thing…

Think about this for a bit – some of the stuff you know about your business seems common sense.

A web designer knows that serif fonts add a bit of authority to text. Developers know that fewer queries to a database means faster websites. Salespeople know that desire is the key to closing sales.

But more often than not, those at the other end (i.e. the client who’s hiring these people), they wouldn’t know any of these seemingly simple ideas. Nor would they care, since what’s important to them is for their want or need to be delivered.

To truly understand your customer, you have to look at your business from their point of view. Sometimes this means stepping back from your position as CEO or owner. Often this means throwing away everything you’ve learned so far in your job and think like a newbie.

For me, this is how I do it:

  1. Pause.
  2. Keep my mind blank.
  3. Act as if I’m stepping into someone else’s shoes, sometimes walking myself through their motivations, goals, life situations and so on.

It seems unremarkable but trust me, it’s harder than it looks. After all, knowledge isn’t just something you can turn off. But like all things, this can be learned through practice.

Let me go back to my initial question… why do you need this?

Like it or not, some problems actually rely on you not knowing anything to get to the solution, rather than knowing everything. If you don’t believe me, just count the number of amateurs who have created global businesses in the past decade.

So as the monk says, empty your full cup if you want to solve something. Look at your business from a fresh perspective and you might be surprised with what you will learn.

Photo credit: woolmarket100

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