September 25, 2020
This week, in the Indianapolis shop, a fire truck was brought in for service. It’s been fun to observe grown adults react to the thing. It seems that one never outgrows the childhood sense of wonder and curiosity that goes along with being near a hook and ladder. There’s just something about the things that elicit smiles, and set imaginations ablaze. In those moments, the constraints of reality seem not to matter, who we’re “supposed to be” is less of a concern, and the limits of possibility seem a little wider and a little longer than before. Because with curiosity and wonder come unimagined, and often better ways of doing things.
And that’s the point for the week.
Curiosity and wonder are often associated with childhood. I suppose that’s because we lose these things as we get older. Or they are lost for us, by well-meaning adults who drum them out of is in the name of maturity and serious thought. Curiosity and wonder are the purview of dreamers we’re often told, not of those with both feet firmly planted on the ground. To the industrious go the spoils. To the dreamers go whatever’s left.
But I don’t believe that. I believe that every great advancement in the history of mankind came about because someone curiously thought about some better way. I believe that every great team ever was full of people who dared to imagine a better alternative, a picture of winning that was different from the reality that painted their past. I believe that those who refuse to let go of that child-like spirit of wonder are those who win – those who boldly lead others to new, different and better places, places where lives are improved.
It matters not to me whether we’re talking about a team of folks in the fleet service business, or a family, or a group of people intent on making their community a better place to live. When curiosity and wonder replace an obsession with the worn-out, the staid, and the status-quo, progress becomes possible – and not until then. Something else happens as well. Those who are part of what’s happening start to resemble those who just saw a fire truck; they start smiling, they begin having fun again, they open their own eyes and minds to the possibility that things can change for the better. And maybe best of all, their own sense of curiosity and wonder takes over, and new ideas begin coming from all corners, propelling the group to heights never imagined – all because it became OK to wonder again…to be curious again…like a child again.
So pretend you just saw a fire truck. And wonder.
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