For people in their teens and 20s, society puts so much emphasis on learning new things. We are told that THIS is the time in our lives when we will best learn, and any hope of learning beyond our 30th birthday will be dashed by our aging brains. Mark Zuckerberg famously said (while still in his 20s) that people in their 20s are the smartest in the world.
Yet in this journey to learn more and more new skills and bits of knowledge, we often forget what we have already learned. And these lessons that are forgotten first and quickest prove, in the long run of life, to be the most valuable and therefore the most missed.
These lessons are learned in childhood, and are some of the most basic and powerful anyone can ever learn. But how did we learn these, without studying in school, reading textbooks, or listening to podcasts? It’s simple: A sense of curiosity.
Children are curious, and so they get their heads into all kinds of situations, whether it be watching Winnie-the-Pooh or playing with toys. They have no idea how the world works, and so they make up their own rules. Santa brings gifts on Christmas Eve and the Tooth Fairy takes away our baby teeth.
With such curiosity, children are wrong about things all the time. Even more so, they get hurt trying new things. They fall off bikes and get lost exploring for new adventures. But children haven’t been taught to be afraid of being wrong, so they just dust themselves off and get right back to it.
As young adults, we are told not to be so curious, but to concentrate in getting good grades, finding a good job, and excelling at it. We are shown examples of other young men and women who have done the same, and are put down if we show any sign of weakness. We have to put on blinders, and so lose our sense of curiosity.
Although now, companies are starting to recognize the benefits of curiosity. CEOs at a number of major companies report that one of the biggest things they look for in new recruits is a sense of curiosity. This is because curiosity leads to creative thinking, and that’s something that is very hard to learn in school.
So don’t be afraid to be more curious! You have time. You can make mistakes now and learn from them in the future. Be curious, learn new things, and don’t block yourself into the niche that was carved out when you were still too young to buy a drink.