Your post touches on one of two qualities that I deeply respect and admire (and aspire to). Both come from the zen of bushido.

The first – shoshin – is "the beginner's mind": To never become an "expert" but to always be learning, open to new ideas and questioning and wondering and doubting. Individuals who embody shoshin are always studying something new. They deliberately put themselves in positions where they can raise their expertise by being an eager beginner in a new challenge, rather than ossify into just being an expert.

Your post reminds me of the second – fudōshin, "the immovable mind". It's that rare quality of switching from openness, wonder, and doubt to an immovable determination to achieve what you have decided to do, overcoming any obstacles with the skills you have at your disposal (including the skill to rapidly acquire new skills!). Fudōshin brooks no doubt or distraction. It is pure calm execution.

I have only encountered true expression of both in some of the most talented persons I've met.

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This reminds me of an article I've read not long ago. It is called "What it's like living without an inner monologue". I am not sure if I can post links here but if you google it this should come up as first hit.

The self referential thoughts are connected to a brain area known as the Default Mode Network. The practice of meditation will change this area as studies have shown and my own experience as well. It helps a lot with focus. I can basically mask out any internal distraction and put all my concentration power at a certain problem or topic.

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