How being childish pays dividends

I love children, I find them particularly entertaining when they’re aged between about 4 and 7. Have you noticed how they’re just beginning to get a good idea of how the world works and yet they haven’t quite got a grasp of it.

Here are a few of the little darlings’ interpretations of how they see the world around them:

“Helicopters are cleverer than planes. Not only can they fly through the air they can also HOOVER.”

“If you marry two people you are a PIGAMIST, but MORONS are allowed to do this.”

And my all-time favourite:

“Sir Walter Raleigh CIRCUMCISED the world with a big CLIPPER.”

Ah bless, bless them all.

But there is a childish behaviour we should all practise and yet most of us don’t; for some reason it’s been knocked out of us.

I recently had a gardener do some landscape gardening for me; his knowledge was supreme, quality of work five star, manner very warm and the work was carried out cost effectively.

And yet, I was saddened that a man with so much talent could have been running his business much more effectively and efficiently. To be fair I’m not a time and motion expert, it’s just that I could see that if he were to make a few small changes, they would make a big difference to the effective use of his time and improve his bottom line.

I tried dropping hints, engaging him in conversation about his business, even asking HIM for his opinion and advice in the hope that he’d pick up the hint. Alas, he was not interested.

Then I realised…, there have been times when I have done exactly the same. Often because I’m comfortable with where I am and afraid of making a change, even though logic says the change will make a big difference for the better.

Over the last couple of years or so the childlike quality I’ve been developing is… curiosity.

Listening can be a far more powerful and beneficial tool than talking.

Even if somebody has told me something before, I’ll listen to them tell me a second and third time. I won’t assume I know something; if someone says “do you know about such and such a thing?” I’ll state that I may do, but will ask them to go over it anyway.

Why would I apparently waste my time covering the ‘same ground’?

Because I might have missed something in the first place. Also information is better absorbed by my little grey cells after it’s been repeated a few times. Most of us are the same.

The thing is, we now have an opportunity to either learn something new, teach something useful or be reminded of something we’ve forgotten. Providing action is taken we’ll move forward, grow and succeed.

One more thing, if help is being offered, don’t be proud; accept it and be grateful.

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