Sunday, May 15, 2011

Keeping your sense of wonder alive

Gabriel expressing his sense of wonder with life when he was a little kid.  He's a big boy of 3 now!
Because philosophy arises from awe, a philosopher is bound in his way to be a lover of myths and poetic fables. Poets and philosophers are alike in being big with wonder.
Thomas Aquinas 

Many, many years ago when I was a neophyte copywriter and occasionally creative person, I was invited to conduct a seminar on creative writing.  Being just sufficiently wet-behind-the-ears and insufficiently self aware, I agreed. 

It sucked.

No, really.  And not just a little bit.  It was the presentation equivalent of a gaping, sucking chest wound.  The only worthwhile outcome was  my ability to recognize it's suckedness (sic).  

It didn't take me long to understand why either.  I had fallen prey to the entrancement of process, to the false comfort of policy and procedure.  I had ensconced myself in a huge financial corporation that rewarded the commonplace and eschewed out-of-the-box thinking.  God, it was about as close as I would ever become to being assimilated by actuaries!

The childlike sense of wonder that is the life's blood of creative thinking.  The ability to suspend disbelief and contemplate approaches that veer far off the road to mediocrity.  The kind of free-wheeling yet disciplined problem solving that generates genuine breakthrough results.  The sometimes silly inspiration that prompts deeper consideration.  You know, kind of similar to the thinking that the following quote from comedian Steven Wright can produce:

Sponges grow in the ocean. That just kills me. I wonder how much deeper the ocean would be if that didn't happen.

How much deeper would the rewards of our work, our family, and our life be if we were able to keep alive even a small percentage of the sense of wonder we witness every day in young children.  Children who have not yet been submitted to the crushing standardized approach to commonality that our education system is dependent upon and who are years away from drinking the corporate KoolAid that says promotion and financial reward and security (as if there is such a thing) are vastly superior options.

This sense of wonder can be brought back to life if only you pursue it with vigour.  It can be found when you surround yourself with brilliant people, when you open your eyes to the daily wonders we're all too often too busy to notice.  When you hear your child proclaim on a late-April morning "Oh BOY!  SNOW!"

I just want to thank my Muses and Masterminds group for helping me recapture this and by showing me that solopreneurs are just as dependent upon communal support and spirited conversation as those who choose to follow a more well-defined career path.

At least, that's what I think.


Lloyd said...

Its that famous saying, as we age we become more cynical at the world and to the way the game is played!

carole said...

Here's to keeping all of sense of wonder and curiosity alive and well!