Inquisitiveness—putting the quest in question

thinkoutsidetheboxI happened to see a short movie the other day about creativeness.  It was exploring just what is within each of us who might be an artist, musician, poet, writer, etc… It got me thinking about the ability to teach someone to be creative. Creative people have a certain inquisitiveness about them.  They are always asking why?  They march to their own drummer…

Remember, when our children were small?  They would always ask, why?  Our usual answer was because I said so.  We were stymieing their creativity and inquisitiveness.  All the creative folks mentioned above see things in a different light and have a different way of perceiving things.  Maybe with much more vision than you or I.

I had a friend comment on my LinkedIn site that I think “outside the box” and that was a huge compliment. Later he told me” that you see the box, you just refuse to go near it”, an even better compliment. Can we teach people not to see the box or better yet teach them to ignore it?  Will it prepare them better for success?

The definition according to Webster of inquisitive is given to inquiry, research, or asking questions; eager for knowledge; intellectually curious: an inquisitive mind. Robert Fuller in an article entitled” Somebodies and Nobodies (2009) Quests and Questions—A  path to yourself, says that the best gifts he ever got were questions he couldn’t shake off.

He tells us, referring to Isidore Rabi,  “Every other mother in Brooklyn would ask her child after school: “So? Did you learn anything today?” But not my mother. “Izzy,” she would say, “did you ask a good question today?” – Isidore I. Rabi, (1900-88), Nobel-laureate in physics”.  What a gem to teach your children.

“Today, quests come to us as questions. They first make themselves known as tiny discrepancies between our felt experience and the conventional wisdom, and end only when we either abandon ourselves or join the prevailing consensus or we manage to bring conventional thought into alignment with our personal truth.”

“The best gifts I’ve ever received have been questions I couldn’t shake off. Good questions are better than good answers, in this sense: they give us purpose, whereas a good answer stops our exploring and makes us a teacher. Catching a good question-and most questions come uninvited and whispered, not shouted-is a skill to be cultivated, as Izzy Rabi’s mother knew. Those who learn to notice and follow their questions, never get old. When I taught physics at Columbia, I knew Rabi. In his sixties, he was as playful as my own children. I ran into him at a conference a decade later and he announced, “Today I am three score and ten plus ten percent.” Do the math and you’ll see it was his way of letting me know it was his 77th birthday.”

Never lose your sense of inquisitiveness, question everything that does not make sense to you and it will enhance your creative side.  You will “think out of box” and like the guy from Men’s Warehouse,  I guarantee it.