I met with a specialist. An expert in her field. Her field is a big one, many experts like her running around inside of it. Each of them with a certain area of expertise. Some of these experts overlap a bit, some of them are pretty far removed. No one knows everything.
I’d been looking forward to our lunch, intending to pick her brain. I’m interested in her field, and not uninformed. But my eagerness to discuss things faded quickly, almost immediately, as she boxed and labelled my interests as patently incorrect and ill-conceived.
And she suggested she’d rather not discuss work outside of work.
It wasn’t the best lunch.
When I got home, I picked up a book I’d read. I felt I now understood something I’d only ever thought about:
In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities. In the expert’s, there are few. ~ Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind
A mind that was once open and inquisitive, eager to explore, to probe, to understand, to challenge, was now closed. In a field where I’d thought no one knew everything, here was someone with nothing left to learn.