How to Have Beginner's Luck

Photo by Rusty Clark

Written by Raymond Salas

At one time or another, most of us have experienced what is commonly referred to as “beginner’s luck.” This phenomena happens when someone with limited experience achieves better than expected results.

For example, I can remember joining an office “fantasy football” league, not knowing too much about the current players or teams. At the time, I didn’t follow pro football and rarely watched it. However, I ended up winning the league; despite playing against much more experienced and better informed participants. I definitely had an experience of “beginner’s luck” here.

Is it possible to create “beginner’s luck” in any situation?”

I believe that it is.

How to Have “Beginner’s Luck”

For me, the key to having “beginner’s luck” is to have a “beginner’s mind.”

In Zen Buddhism, there is a concept called “Shoshin” or the “Beginner’s Mind.” It refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner in that subject would. 

As Shunryu Suzuki wrote in Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind:

“In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's mind there are few.”

How to Have a “Beginner’s Mind”

Here are some of my key elements for cultivating a “Beginner’s Mind”:

  • Stay open to possibilities.

As I once wrote:
“I am one who always believes that anything is possible at any time. I do not try to ever limit the Universal Source in any way. As a result, seemingly wonderful, incredible, and sometimes miraculous things consistently happen in my life.”
Although some may say that I am lucky or have some type of “Midas touch,” I feel that it really just comes down to thoughts and intentions. I notice that “beginner’s luck” always seems to happen for me as I remain open to all possibilities.

  • Stay in the present moment.

In order for me to stay open to all possibilities, I must try to keep my attention and focus on the present moment, preventing the filters of my previous experience to influence or cloud it in any way. As I remain open to all possibilities for good to happen, they will.

  • Stay innocent.

I have also observed that “beginner’s luck” has an element of innocence to it. With a “beginner’s mind,” I am responding to the present moment innocently. In other words, there is no prescribed or specific way that I should be acting. Therefore, my actions will be more spontaneous and pure, free from any of the influences from my past experiences.

  • Listen to your intuition and “gut feelings.”

When I can remain fully present and innocent in my mindset, my actions will usually follow my intuition and “gut feelings.” As a result, I will become a clearer “channel” for this inner voice. Of course, the value of listening to this voice will come only when I can trust and follow what I am hearing within. When I can successfully do this, my intuition will become clearer, stronger, and more accurate for me.

A Famous Example of “Beginner’s Luck”

  • Ashton Kutcher

Ashton Kutcher is a great example of “beginner’s luck.”

Ashton was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and later moved near the rural town of Homestead, Iowa. He had a childhood described as “rugged, outdoorsy, and Midwestern.” After graduating from high school, he attended the University of Iowa to study biochemical engineering, so that he could help find a cure for his fraternal twin brother’s heart ailment.

But, Ashton also had a secret desire to be an actor. In his wallet, he carried his hand-written intention: “I want to be an actor. I want to live in Hollywood.”

While in college, he was recruited as a model for the “Fresh Faces of Iowa” competition, where he won a trip to New York and later decided to drop out of college and become a model. This was a new possibility for him because he said that he didn’t know that men could be models. (Beginner’s mind, beginner’s luck.)

After success as a model, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue his dream of becoming an actor. In his very first audition, he was offered (and asked to choose between) roles as a surfing cowboy for NBC and the role of Michael Kelso in the “That’s 70’s Show” for Fox.

Ashton said that he didn’t know that TV shows could be canceled. (Beginner’s mind.) He just decided to go with his “gut feelings.” He said that his instincts told him to select the Michael Kelso role, which proved to be the right choice for him. The “That’s 70’s Show” aired on Fox for eight seasons, 200 episodes, and successfully launched his career as an actor and producer. (Beginner’s luck.)

The Formula for “Beginner’s Luck”

So, what is the “magic” formula for “beginner’s luck”?

Beginner’s Mind = Beginner’s Luck

Simple, right?