I have two kids. 7 and 5. They start conversations like this…
Kid: Why is there traffic?
Me: Because it’s 4:47pm in a highly populated area.
Kid: Why does that make traffic?
Me: Because lots people drive home from work and school right now.
Me: That’s how it works.
Kid: Why does it work that way?
Me: Ummm… I think it always has.
Kid: Why has it always?
Me: Probably because some person decided a long time ago that it was a good idea. And then a lot of other people agreed. Then everyone else just went along with it. And then we all went along with it, forever, without really asking these great questions that you are asking now. So ya, all this stuff was just made up by other people who probably aren’t any smarter than you.
Kid: Why did that person decide that?
Me: Since I’m driving, I can’t check Wikipedia now, but let’s do a little googling when we get home, ok?
Kid: Ok fine. Why can’t our car fly over this traffic so I can have ice cream right now?
Ok I’ll stop. You get it 🤩
Now imagine what would happen if more people did that in meetings?!
Recently I’ve been obsessed with Walter Isaacson’s books. My favorite was Benjamin Franklin. I also enjoyed Einstein and Leonardo da Vinci. Isaacson goes ridiculously deep into each biography, so he’s able to call out some common themes.
One theme he highlights: How exceptional thinkers maintain a sense of childlike wonder. From Einstein:
“Throughout his life, Albert Einstein would retain the intuition and the awe of a child. He never lost his sense of wonder at the magic of nature's phenomena-magnetic fields, gravity, inertia, acceleration, light beams-which grown-ups find so commonplace.
When we’re young it’s natural.
As we get older, we have to strip away a lot of BS, fear, and assumptions to let our curiosity drive.
Can’t say I’ve figured this out, but hanging out with kids helps a bit.