Why are these letters above separated like this?
Most young children come up with the answer to this within a few seconds. Adults? Most of us don’t even get it at all. Why? We look for patterns, we look for things that aren’t there, we ignore the things that actually are there and we overcomplicate. Children get it because they do what adults often fail to do – appreciate something at its simplest level, at face-value. (The spoiler to this riddle is below.)
Sometimes to really learn, you first have to unlearn. With all of the barriers created by our often unfounded certainty, creativity and curiosity can get blocked. It’s important to ask questions of the world.
How about these choice gems that for many years, a large number of people accepted that they “knew” these things?
How about these so-called facts that many people today (including me before doing some research) still believe?
There are no universal truths, just ways of viewing the world. If you are fixed in one way of thinking and don’t open up your mind, you may not come up with the best solution or generate the best idea.
Over time, as we “grow up” (except for you Toys-R-Us kids), we are often taught in ways that shut down our creativity and encourage us to only seek knowledge which confirms our beliefs. In fact, we are naturally built to do just that, it’s called the confirmation bias – we are all guilty of doing it.
Put on your Kid Goggles
Here are some ways you could help yourself unlearn and put on your Kid Goggles, even temporarily, to nudge your mind to uncharted territory and see the world in a different way:
Spoiler alert: By the way, the answer to the riddle above: The letters below the line have curves and the ones above the line don’t. Simple, and now, obvious. Admittedly, I didn’t figure this out, and I felt pretty dense when the answer was revealed. It’s not my fault. I’m an adult!
Constant Questions: What have you learned that may prevent you from learning more? Can you think of other ways to put on your Kid Goggles? How has seeking opposing views and information helped you channel creativity and innovation? Are you a Toys-R-Us Kid? Do you not want to grow up? If you did grow up, could you still be a Toys-R-Us Kid?
The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.
– Alvin Toffler