The naïve mind

New Thinking 23 February 2015 Andrew Robins

A few years ago, I was quite a serious student of the martial art Aikido. Serious enough to say that the things I learned while exploring the art have had a huge influence on me personally and professionally.

The concept of ‘the naïve mind’ is one that I have carried forward with me. At first glance, it might seem like an odd thing for an experienced testing professional to value. But I consider maintaining a naïve mind to be critical to my continued testing success.

The best way I can explain the concept of a 'naïve mind' is to describe it as a state of confident openness. When I have a naïve mind, I am truly open to what is going on around me and I am not distracted by any kind of internal dialogue.

As an Aikido practitioner, when I achieved this state, my technique felt joyous and exuberant – at least from where I was standing.

I try to test in the same way. Open, confident, joyous and exuberant. I don’t try to channel my testing into a preconceived pattern. I maintain a naïve mind. I do not discard or discount my previous experience, but I am ready to do this instantly if I need to. My experience is ‘on notice’ and constantly being re-evaluated based on what I am currently seeing and currently doing.

It is a hard thing to do well, and it is a concept that I am still working on. But I think it is worth the effort.