Over the summer I took my 5 year old goddaughter to the zoo here in Singapore. She asked various questions that had me trying to recall my school Biology lessons. The simplicity of a child’s curiosity is brilliant. My favourite was on the topic of evolution. She knew that humans had evolved from chimpanzees but wanted to know if that was the case how had this happened and how come there were still chimpanzees as well as humans. I’m not sure my answer was textbook and I didn’t get into the finer details of Darwin’s theories, however we decided there must have been at least 2 humans that evolved for the human race to have started.
My friends with young children say this kind of challenging question is a regular occurrence and makes you question your own wisdom and how often we just accept how things are in the world.
It made me wonder when it is that we lose this curiosity to want to understand the world around us? When do we stop questioning its contradictions and just accept that things are the way they are?
I’ve seen it many times in the corporate world. New joiners to a team or organisation will ask a lot of questions and challenge why things are done in a particular way. It is refreshing and is something we should harness more rather than allowing our cynical “because we’ve always done it that way” response to take over. It challenges us to consider if we do really have the right approach or should be adjusting as the world has changed around us.
If we ask questions to challenge our own assumptions then we can come up with new ideas on how to approach problems. Curiosity is an eagerness to learn and understand that can bring fresh insight. This can lead to new opportunities such as new products, better way of serving customers and improved ways of working.
I’ve found being open and curious when moving to a new country has helped me learn so much more about the culture and really get to understand the place I am living. It also helps to build relationships as people are keen to help you appreciate their world.
My aim is to continue to take a leaf out of my goddaughter’s book and continue to question things and learn about the world around us rather than judging or assuming things before you understand them. This leads to a deeper understanding and a greater likelihood of finding new ideas to make things better.