Dropping my daughter off at martial arts after dark, my 4-year-old son said from the back seat, “All the lights have lines.” It took me a good 5 minutes before I realized what he was saying. He was squinting his eyes to diffract the lights in the night through his eye lashes. I was such a cool observation. As I was talking to him about the lines in the lights he said, “There’s a lot of lights in the world.”
The perspective of kids is so raw and unadulterated. If we can find the same open perspective within ourselves, it has the capacity to become the impetus of creativity. Their ability to observe without judgement is something we can all do better at as adults. The world is what it is and they ask questions to learn about what they observe. They build their mental models of reality out of the answers we give to their questions.
As adults we can so easily get stuck in our singular perspective. We get comfortable in the mental model we have built over the years interacting with our environment. It is painful to find that our perceptions are not entirely accurate or that our work is not as good as we thought it was. However, if we are open to the feedback that our environment gives us, we can update our models and allow ourselves to adapt to our ever-changing environment. The model that we use to filter the world around us can become brighter with fewer lines obstructing our sensations. Our perceptions become clearer and more attuned with the world around us. We become brighter by receiving the light that shines on us from our environment.
Perhaps the metaphor is over-extended. The point I’m attempting to make is we better ourselves making an honest effort to understand the perspectives others share with us. This is true whether the other be a 4-year-old, a stranger, our petty tyrant or one of our long-lost friends. You improve the business of you by exchanging with the business of others.