How many times have you started from scratch? Only once, at the start of your career? Or perhaps you’re one of those types who keep starting things, but lose the initial flame soon after?

Planting seeds, starting afresh, new beginning

Photo by D. Sharon Pruitt

Perseverance. Discipline. They are important. Society drills this into us from a very early age.  But isn’t there a place for starting afresh which carries an irreplaceable enthusiasm that only newfound passion provides? We tend to forget our initial reasons and the excitement they gave.

Being a beginner has many advantages:

1. Openness to learning

2. Willingness to experiment

3. Passion. Drive. Enthusiasm. Optimism.

4. Fresh perspective

5. Proneness to hard work

6. Pleasure in doing, rather than enduring

7. Happiness from small successes

Being a professional translator, a few years ago I was responsible for checking other people’s work. Often, I would stumble upon such a bad performance that it was easier to rewrite it altogether rather than to correct it. In other words, start from scratch.

As much as it is recommended to keep pushing toward your goals, sometimes it’s wiser to just let go. To know when it’s not working out. Begin anew. Change perspective. Be brave by knowing when to draw the line. You may be nicely surprised.

What do you think? Should you always be stoic with the projects you’re working on or is it sometimes better to quit and restart? 


4 thoughts on “The Benefits of Absolute Beginners

  1. You have a point. In fact, Freakonomics radio did a whole episode on “The upside of quitting.” People fetishize perseverance even in situations where you’re clearly better off doing something else. And you’re right. There are lots of benefits to starting over. Steve Jobs said that being fired from Apple freed him in ways he couldn’t have imagined.
    Nice post.

    • Thanks Bharat! It’s good to be disciplined and patient, but if it’s not working out, it will only lead to wasted time, energy, and ultimately suffering. Although, often it can be hard to see whether and when you should quit altogether. I remember that Steve Jobs’s speech – he said it all!

  2. That’s one of the biggest challenges with being an editor: fixing it without starting over. The way that writer wrote something is not how this write would have written it. That doesn’t make it wrong, just different. And hard to edit.


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