The curious child

The curious child - image for article by Greg Alder

Kids wonder. Kids imagine. Kids ask questions. Lots of questions. Questions we adults can’t imagine asking.

“What happens if you throw a tomato at the sun?”

“Why can’t I see my eyes?”

“Why did swear words get invented if we’re not allowed to use them?”

“Why doesn’t the sky fall on us?”

“How high do I have to jump so that I don’t come back down?”

“Where does the light go when you turn it off?”

You were that kid. I was that kid.

Where has our curiosity gone? And why do you need to get it back?

To answer the first question, it was stolen from you. Throughout your years at school, your curiosity was never encouraged nor rewarded.

You were tested on your ability to anticipate the expected answer and memorise facts and formulae. Exams favoured critical thinking over creative thinking.

So successful is this brainwashing that by our mid teens three-quarters of us no longer believe we’re creative (whereas at kindergarten age every one of us considered ourselves creative).

Through our teens we travel in small groups of friends who think, talk and dress the same.

If we don’t understand something, we don’t admit it for fear of looking foolish.

When we join the work force, most of us get jobs where procedures, rules, processes and habits are entrenched. We’re shown how to perform a task and we’re expected to perform it that same way without question.

With time, we become expert in our field. We mix with other experts. Our individual and, worse, collective expertise prevents us from trying something new.

“We tried that before. It doesn’t work.”

“We’ve always done it this way.”

Often the resistance is silent. We are experts, so we ask only knowledgeable questions. Not naïve ones.

If an outsider or a novice asks a naïve question, our response follows a predictable sequence.

First we dismiss.

Then if the upstart continues, we actively resist.

If the disruptor still won’t go away, we discredit and undermine.

Ultimately, however, history shows that the new idea usually wins.

Why do we need to reconnect with our curious child?

First, because curiosity is part of the creative process. Creativity breeds happiness.

Curiosity breeds innovation.

All of the great inventors of the past and entrepreneurs of today have kept their curiosity alive. Every one has looked at the way something is done and wonders if it can be done differently.

Reconnecting with our younger, uninhibited, naïve, creative and curious selves isn’t as difficult as we might think. No matter our age or profession. In just 2 hours, we can learn one of the creative thinking techniques that inventors use naturally and perpetually. We can free ourselves from the shackles that stop us asking, “What if?”.

We will learn to think again. We will find unexpected, creative solutions to pressing problems. We will generate unexpected opportunities. We will put our businesses, our lives and our selves in a better place.

Want to be in a better place? I do.

Curious to learn how to get there? Curious to learn what you’re capable of? Curious to unlock your dormant genius, your inner Leonardo da Vinci? Get in touch.

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