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Put on your kid goggles

publication date: Nov 14, 2016
author/source: Rickesh Lakhani

Rickesh Lakhani

Most young children come up with the answer to this within a few seconds. Adults? Most of us don’t even get it at all. Why? We look for patterns, we look for things that aren’t there, we ignore the things that actually are there and we overcomplicate. Children get it because they do what adults often fail to do – appreciate something at its simplest level, at face-value. (The spoiler to this riddle is below.)

Sometimes to really learn, you first have to unlearn. With all of the barriers created by our often unfounded certainty, creativity and curiosity can get blocked. It’s important to ask questions of the world.

How about these choice gems that for many years, a large number of people accepted that they “knew” these things?

  • The sun revolves around the earth
  • The earth is flat
  • Cigarettes are good for your health

How about these so-called facts that many people today (including me before doing some research) still believe?

  • Thomas Edison invented the lightbulb – A series of others started it off, he just improved and popularized it
  • People only use 10% of our brains – Actually it takes a lot more to do any complicated functions
  • Nothing lives forever – The jellyfish Turritopsis nutricula reverts back to being a baby once it reproduces
  • The chance of getting heads when you flip a coin is 50/50 – Actually it’s 51/49 if the coin started heads up, according to those wonderful eggheads at Stanford University

There are no universal truths, just ways of viewing the world. If you are fixed in one way of thinking and don’t open up your mind, you may not come up with the best solution or generate the best idea.

Over time, as we “grow up”, we are often taught in ways that shut down our creativity and encourage us to only seek knowledge which confirms our beliefs. In fact, we are naturally built to do just that, it’s called the confirmation bias – we are all guilty of doing it.

Put on your Kid Goggles

As you venture through AFP Toronto Congress next week, here are some ways you could help yourself unlearn and put on your Kid Goggles, even temporarily, to nudge your mind to uncharted territory and see the world in a different way:

  • Imagine yourself in someone else’s shoes. Cliché as it may sound, it can really work if you embrace the process.
  • Challenge your own views. Actively seek information that goes against your current outlook. You will either reaffirm what you already know or build some exciting new perspectives. Nothing to lose, plenty to gain.
  • Don’t assume you know everything. It may take a bit of humility to admit you’re not a mega-genius, but you really will be opening yourself up to learning new information.
  • Assume you know nothing. It’s different than the last one I swear. This is more about channeling “clean slate” or white page thinking. How would you do something if you had to start from ground zero?
  • Don’t fall prey to being a Fableweaver. In this other post, you can see how cognitive dissonance can make you avoid being honest with yourself in an effort to make your brain comfortable.
  • Ask yourself what you already know (or think you know) that’s getting in your way. Then imagine how you might think if you didn’t know that.
  • Ask a lot of questions. Then be quiet and listen. Really listen.

Spoiler alert: By the way, the answer to the riddle above: The letters below the line have curves and the ones above the line don’t. Simple, and now, obvious. Admittedly, I didn’t figure this out, and I felt pretty dense when the answer was revealed. It’s not my fault. I’m an adult!

What have you learned that may prevent you from learning more? Can you think of other ways to put on your Kid Goggles? How has seeking opposing views and information helped you channel creativity and innovation? 

On Wednesday morning at Congress I will be presenting a session with Kimberley MacKenzie. We will discuss these and other important issues to help you move from survival to “thrival”. We would love to see you there!

Rickesh passionately believes that every donor deserves to feel excellent about giving, and that the duty of a fundraiser is to bring passion towards enhancing the donor experience every day. He is adamant about always putting people first, then process, and that fundraisers, charities and social profit groups should not be afraid to have a personality. Rickesh is the Executive Director at Future Possibilities for Kids, where they provide leadership and life skills development programs for children and youth from underserved communities. Prior to this, Rickesh was the Director, Campaign at United Way York Region, leading an $8M annual fundraising campaign. He is on the Board of Directors for the Association for Fundraising Professionals of Greater Toronto and is the lead organizer of Be Good Be Social York Region, a conference promoting social media for social good.





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