I remember my youngest son Luke, when he was five, following me around our garden asking one question after another.
We’re born curious. We want to know about the world we’re surrounded by and everything in it. It’s about wonder.
We’ve so many questions when we’re young but then something happens. I’ve mentioned before that it’s been suggested that our curiosity wanes as we go through an education system bent on teaching us the answers to questions we are not asking.
While psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi provides us with hope that we can learn to be curious again he also warns is that our curiosity won’t last long if it isn’t pursued.
People are always telling me interesting things I want to ask another question about. One of the simpler strategies of the design company Ideo is to ask the question Why? five times – only when digging deep do they find their getting to what is really important.
I’ve mentioned the neon-lit words on the side of a hostel in Edinburgh “NOT ALL THOSE WHO WANDER ARE LOST.” Many are simply curious and want to see more, and when they get curiouser they find they get even more curiouser.
SOMETHING TO DO: When you want to find out more about the art or work someone produces why not try asking Why? five times. Make a mental or written note on the increasing depth of the answers. It may be a good idea to explain what you’re doing otherwise you could simply end up annoying them, or ask it in a different way each time so it doesn’t sound like the same question.
RESOURCES YOU MAY ENJOY:
A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s TEDtalk: Flow, the secret to happiness (notice what Csikszentmihalyi becomes curious about at such an early age).
Ken Robinson’s TEDtalk: Do schools kill creativity?
Stop Stealing Dreams by Seth Godin (a free pdf).
Seth Godin’s TEDtalk: Stop Stealing Dreams.