Small Wonders

Why is it so hard for adults to be creative?

Matt Paolelli
Mar 27, 2018 · 2 min read
Photo by Kelley Bozarth on Unsplash

I’m not sure I ever really understood the concept of child-like wonder until I had a child of my own.

Every day, my daughter Maddie is blown away by her surroundings.

She discovers something new and is fascinated by it.

She tries something different and absorbs the results.

She attempts to understand something’s purpose through experimentation and trial and error.

These characteristics — wonder, discovery and curiosity — are all innate in human beings, but they begin to be beaten out of us by the realities that we impose on our existence.

We blame our schedule and lack of time. We fret about potential outcomes and inherent risks. We take things for granted and adhere to the status quo. We worry about the opinions of others.

My daughter doesn’t do any of that.

I’ve often engaged in a thought experiment about how different our lives could be if we as adults more regularly adopted even a fraction of a toddler’s approach to the world.

If we could look at everything with fresh eyes, what problems would we solve and what new ideas might emerge?

If we could try new things without worrying so much about the risks to our reputation, what new experiences might we have?

If we appreciated all of the glorious people, places and things that we encounter every day on their own merits, how much happier would we be?

As I attempt to write more frequently, I have so often been stumped about what topic I could possibly tackle. My mind swirls through the same six ideas, until I realize that I’ve pretty much already written about that one. Quite honestly, that’s tragic. If my daughter had a blog, nearly every second of her life would be ripe for the riffing. Why is it so hard to see the world that way as an adult?

How do we recapture that wonder?

I’m trying to form a daily routine of writing at least 100 words every weekday. Subscribe here if you’d like to read them.

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Matt Paolelli

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The Ascent
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