Monday, January 16, 2006

A Short Tangent: Where Do Grown-Ups Come From?

Every child is an artist. The Problem is how to remain an artist once (s)he grows up.--Pablo Picasso

Art Meets Business

Who should attend to the challenges listed in last week's post? After all, how many people are born curious to begin with?

For Those Who've Just Tuned In: Some Context

Here's a summary of past thoughts relevant to this discussion:

1. Creativity is the ability to learn continuously across contexts.

2. Creativity and effective thinking are synonymous and require a combination of disciplines.

Learned persistence, for example, and practice at observation and analysis are essential, but none will effectively sustain creativity without relationship to the others.

The question that generated this tangent is this: can even those who master the skills one can learn be expected to have the capacity for curiosity as well?

The Particulars

A business executive in Communications couldn't get her desired results, and she wanted to know if only some people are capable of questioning ideas rather than just accepting them.

When I asked the opinion of a financier in a separate conversation, he told me emphatically "some people are born that way and some just aren't."

I've heard the latter response too much to pass it by without comment. Could these people possibly know any small children?

What Do You Expect from Toddlers?

The trademark of a small child is the tenacious tendency to explore, test, and push boundaries. When children are old enough to speak, the first question is usually "why?"

Infants and toddlers knock things over, touch things that are hot, push objects from high places, crawl through small spaces -- just to see what happens.

In fact, if children are identified as uninquisitive and unresponsive to new stimuli, it's considered reason to consult a specialist. Clearly, in the normal range of human beings, the desire to learn is hard-wired from birth.

So where does this voracious wonder disappear to? Have grown-ups’ simply got nothing new to learn?

As discussed last week, blocks to discovery seem at least as much emotional as intellectual.

Strategies for fresh thinking in the next post.

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