Rediscover & Use Your Childlike Curiosity

Children have the capacity to dream…

What did you want to be when you were a child?  I have listened to childish lisped wishes to be an astronaut, ballerina, a dragon slayer (my favourite), fireman…. Adults tend to smile indulgently and think they’ll grow out of it when real life hits.  But why should they? Why not dream and then set out to realise those dreams?

Children don’t seem to question their dreams.  The practicalities are immaterial to them and self-doubting questions such as ‘should I?’, ‘could I?’, ‘can it work’ just do not occur to them. True, most of these ambitions may not be realised (I think you need dragons in order to slay them) but remember that some people get to do what they dreamed of.

Why children ask why and adults try to give reasons instead of embracing why not?

Children start life with a very limited repertoire of communication; basically different decibels of crying. A close friend recently became a grandmother and her grandson has now progressed to strange noises in an attempt to communicate. Thus, cat is signified by a strange ccccccccccccccccccc rasping sound accompanied by much excited hand waving. The feline in question is smart enough to take a wide detour around the excited infant. Pursuing the cat has encouraged said infant to learn to crawl.

His next communication step will be one many parents become exasperated with; the incessant “Why?” …is the sky blue, beetroot yukky, do I have to go to be? Eminent paediatrician Dr Alan Greene explains that answering these “whys” with logic is a waste of time. The child simply wants communication, interaction, with YOU the parent.

“Our young scholars are curious and eager to explore the world, but they are still asking for you. They want to explore this fascinating world with the people they feel the safest around and love the most.”

This curiosity about the world is a lesson most adults could learn from. Why is a great question when it provokes debate rather than explanation, but “Why not?” is an even better question.

The power of why not

Children are not born with the adult baggage of fear and disappointment, they learn that. Until their hopes are doused by the cold water of reason they feel invincible. Yes, they can slay dragons and fly rocket ships. To them life is full of possibility, hope, dreams, magic. It is sad that in a world so full of technological advances we are still fearful of change, adventure, risk and having a go.

It is bad news for business too. If we only ever look at the downside of an action, we will not move forward. The “Why Not” approach is the very stuff of innovation and sorely needed in a competitive environment. Why not, encourages people to go for a promotion, raise their hands at marketing meetings, suggest a new customer service approach. As a development tool for entrepreneurial thinking, “Why Not?” is up there with the most profound of Dale Carnegie’s utterances.

D Carnegie quote

Man cannot fly, unaided that is. Why not? We don’t have wings but we have the brains and the motivation to build ourselves aircrafts because we desperately wanted to fly. The Wright brothers had a dream and dared ask, why not?

Tell yourself why not…and live a fuller life

The next time you are faced with a challenge, a problem, a fear, ask yourself why not? Learn from children that curiosity is its own reward.  Allow yourself to dream of a different outcome and you may find yourself able to create that outcome. The trick seems to be to never give up on your dreams. Adopt the attitude of ‘why not’ and give it a go.  You might end up falling out of your particular tree but worst case, it’s just a lesson to either change your tactics or learn not to try it that way again. Best case? You may achieve your dream.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the answer to the question as to why is a raven like a writing desk? “Because it can produce a few notes, though they are very flat; and it is never put with the wrong end in front!” – Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

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