“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”—Albert Einstein
“Adults are fools. Children are wise. For children everything is new. The adult hasn’t seen a new thing in years.”—Kapil Gupta
Curiosity is a motivational desire which has been said “to stem from a passion or an appetite for knowledge, information, and understanding”.
All of us are born curious. If you see kids, they are one of the most curious kinds of species in the world. Even the smallest things are so fascinating to them. We were all once like that. Some of us (me, maybe) are still like that. And that’s what I believe, one of the best traits we could have in today’s world. The character of a child. Always questioning everything.
If you’ve ever had a conversation with a child you’ll know how many of their sentences are just questions. You answer their first question and they’ll follow up with a “why does that happen?” again.
“Why are kids so curious?” you may ask. Well, it’s simple, it’s just that they want to know what they don’t know. And when they’re born, they don’t know anything, everything is new for them and they view life from a fresh perspective. The amount of information a child receives is enormous, just enormous from the span of 0-5 years of age. The child learns so much, and changes, gets exposed to countless perspectives and learns so fast . They’re incredibly fast learners, not just because of the fact that they are “children” (and as we grow old, our brain gets older which is completely not true) but because they have an intense desire to know more, they’re curious about everything, that’s it. That’s why it’s also so easy for a child to learn how to speak. When they’re born, even the language spoken in their respective houses are novel to them, like Spanish for a Chinese, or French for an Indian. If, in a new born baby’s house, there are three languages spoken, it’s very much probable that she’ll learn all of the three languages in pretty much reasonable time. The same, maybe for an adult will take much longer (or even) forever to learn if done by the traditional learning way.
Children understand questions by asking questions to the questions. I know this may sound skeptical to a few but that’s what they do and that’s a good alternative to look at a problem. Unlike in the traditional school and universities where we’re required to answer the question with an explanation, not question the question. If you look for a question for a question, it’s likely that you’ll further understand the question better and solve or “answer” the question in a more practical way. Kids love “new” things. If you tell a word to a child which he finds unique, different and new, he’ll repeat it over and over until he believes he has understood the new discovery of the word.
It’s amazing really, the advantages and effects of being curious and open-minded. We don’t believe it but our learning power can improve with age if we just awaken our curiosity from sleeping since the time we transitioned to a different stage from being a “kid”. We are all curious. And no one has an advantage in the magnitude of their curiosity. We are all equal in curiosity levels. We just need to think a little about what we find curious and awaken the curiosity.
The best questions bring the best solutions. If you ask good questions, you’ll get better results and understanding of how, what, when, where and most importantly why things work?
For an exercise, try this:
List down 10 questions (after giving much thought) of which you want to get a better understanding of. They can be anything. Whatever makes you use your intellect and is driving you to find out more on. Choose one question/theme and just stick to it for one day. Throughout the day make observations on the topic. (For example: if your question is how do birds fly? Watch closely and try to observe the way they fly.) Then get to the bottom of the question by asking more questions (Why do birds fly in formations? Why do they glide? How do they come to a stop?). It may sound counter-intuitive but bear with me for a moment. Keep observing them throughout the day. Some days you may have questions of which it’s not possible for you to make real life observations. Those days try researching and watching videos on the subject. Don’t attempt to answer the question yet, just question the question. Make notes of your observations. Try gaining as much information about the topic through your own observations, then look for knowledge on the internet and other sources. With your observations and research try putting all your questions and information together and attempt to solve the question you had started out with.
This isn’t hard at all. In fact, you’ll like the process of the whole thing too, because you’re actually finding out an answer to a topic which you find interesting.
Stay curious. Keep questioning.