Becoming Child-Like

Children are naturally adaptable because that is how humans are born– flexible and curious.

As we grow up though, we become inflexible and rigid in thought. Why isn’t it the opposite?

Here’s my thinking: We should provide a training regimen to keep our minds flexible. It’ll make us better business people and human beings, and will make our world better.

Creativity Training

Edward de Bono taught us that routine thinking destroys creativity. We need tools like Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies cards and de Bono’s Po to keep us on our toes.

Humans tend to solve problems the same way over and over again, so we need to teach people that the best answer isn’t always the one that comes first. We all need to learn that, once we get one solution, there can (and often is) a better one further along the path… if we keep trying.

Rewarding Adaptability

Those who stay adaptable despite their age need appropriate reward mechanisms that show others that staying flexible is a valuable goal. I don’t know if we can do this financially, but in some ways we’re often doing the opposite– media calling those who change their views flip-floppers, for example, does nothing but start unneeded controversy.

The faster a workforce and a company’s executives is to adapt to a new environment or situation, the faster they can thrive when things are turned around on them. Companies need to incentivize those who move fast.

Overcoming Fear

Humans are naturally submissive in a lot of ways. We habitually look away from people when they look at us, and we shy away from leadership because we fear making mistakes. But mistakes are the stuff of life– it’s how we learned not to touch the burner on the hot stove.

This actually deserves its own post, now that I think about it, but there’s a real problem with the way we’re brought up. We learn by making mistakes, but those mistakes also teach us to fear a lot more than we need to. We need to find ways to absorb the idea that the worst will usually not (or never) happen. How can we do this?

Anyway, those are three ideas to start you off, but I want to hear what you think next– write a post about this and link me, this needs to be talked about.

(Hat tip: Bob Goyetche)





3 responses to “Becoming Child-Like”

  1. tomrau Avatar

    Some quick and incomplete thoughts on your post:
    To find a good solution we need to be creative. But, once we found a solution for a problem we go with it. Although I agree that this is not exactly good for creativity matters, this is the best way to reduce complexity to things. If you need to find a new solution to a known problem every time you won’t get anywhere anymore. What I love to do in some cases is to talk about certain problems I’m currently confronted with with people that work in a completely different area. They sometimes come up with so simple ideas, I haven’t even thought about because I could see them anymore.
    This already brings me to the next point: Adaptability. Once you have a new and creative solution to your problem you need to be able to go with it and accept new ideas. This is in my point even more important. Of course this is much easier as an individual than as a company where a certain inertia slows down changes.
    And inertia is often times directly caused through people’s fear. Change is equal to uncertainty. For many people uncertainty is equal to bad. If you have accustomed yourself with your company’s culture and hierarchy change will seem as threatening to your position and maybe power.
    I agree with you that it should be possible in a company to remain employees creativity and adaptability by overcoming fear.
    For small companies this will always be much easier as they can communicate and socialize much easier and faster. Individuals are directly connected and personalized. In big corporate companies you only know a couple of people form your department and communication is slow and impersonal. There is no real WE feeling but more an US or ME.
    Internal social networks and media tools might be able to help overcome and personalize communication again.

  2. Georgy Avatar

    Hi there,

    I had a reaction to your post and shared my thoughts here:



  3. Roxy Avatar

    Hi Julien, I’ve added my two pieces of advice here:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *