I was reminded of the wisdom of children again last week when someone brought up an article I wrote several years ago. Here it is again for your reading pleasure:
My youngest child was going over her previous week’s grades with me — all very good grades until we got to a math test. She simply stated, “Dad, I got an 80 on this test and would have done better, but they didn’t give me enough problems, so that’s ok.” I must admit, I loved her logic.
One of the more popular speeches I give is called “Fortuitous Mistakes: How Thinking Like a Child Can Give You Exceptional Marketing Results.” I cite very successful marketing examples that happened by accident. Think back to when you were young, daring and a little, (ok, a lot) less gray. You were fearless, or at least bolder. Kids are not afraid of making mistakes. Everything is new to them and not getting something right is a journey of discovery. Failure is a big, accepted part of their lives.
That’s the way it should be with all the emerging media — be brave, try lots of things and fail often. You just may succeed. Failure is only bad if we don’t learn from our mistakes. Kids don’t think with boundaries or rules attached, they just move ahead.
One more story to illustrate my point: When selling a house, I removed an old round pool and had to replace the non-existent grass with sod. Sod is rectangular. I dropped off the sod and asked my 10-year-old son to fill in the area with sod as much as possible and told my wife I would complete the job that weekend. I was wrestling with how to fill in the oval as I did not have a sod cutter or large snips to use. The next morning, I woke up to find the entire circle filled in. I called my son outside and asked him how he filled in the sod around the circle. He looked at me like I was nuts and replied, “What are you talking about? I ripped the sod and put it in place.” Like a puzzle, I thought, but he created the missing pieces! To him it was so obvious; and to me – someone trained to overthink things – it was pure genius.
Embrace childish thoughts. Think like you’re 2 or 3 again. Or at least 11 or 12. You’ll be surprised how many times people tell you how smart you are.