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Avoiding Shortcuts

Avatar_DavidBentleyThe father of the 4-year-old in the flower bed behind the patio bench asked her what she was doing. She instantly replied that she was swimming in lava. Unfazed by her comment, Dad asked what she saw in the lava. The little girl immediately answered that she saw lava sharks. When her father asked what they looked like, she excitedly said they were red and had big teeth. Then, suddenly, she jumped onto the patio, sipped some lemonade and said, "I got away, Daddy!"

Shortly after the lava swimmer and her father moved on to other adventures, a woman my age sat down with a young boy. I asked if he was her grandson, but the boy replied, "No!" Thinking I'd made a mistake, I overheard the woman ask him who he was. Without hesitation, he stated, "I'm a giraffe."

Small children, like these two, are almost never bored. They are stimulated by curiosity and imagination. Unfortunately, adults often put a lid on such creativity with their need for children to be calm, accepting, and controlled rather than stimulated by imagination and inquisitiveness. Yet we humans are stimulation junkies. If we don't get our stimulation through curiosity and creativity, we find it in other ways.

If you doubt this, then how much coffee or other caffeinated beverages have you consumed today? Did you eat any chocolate or other sugary treats? Perhaps you overindulged with alcohol, cigarettes, or other drugs. How many times have you checked your cell phone for messages, or logged onto email or social networks? Maybe you've had your radio, television or iPod on non- stop since you woke up this morning.

We all find ways to stimulate ourselves. Perhaps we'd be better off pretending to be giraffes or lava swimmers from time to time than letting our desire for stimulation lead us into taking self-destructive shortcuts. Heck, we might even solve a problem or two in the process. Aren't most inventions the result of curiosity and imagination?

Let's see, now, where did I leave my jet pack? I'm late for my next appointment!

  • How do you stimulate yourself? 
  • Are those methods creative or just well known shortcuts? 
  • Do you ever allow curiosity and imagination to put you into "the flow"? 
  • What will you do differently today?

 

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About David Bentley

Avatar_DavidBentleyDavid Bentley, M.Ed., is an avid observer of people, places and events. He uses his storytelling and questioning skills to help himself and others think outside the box in an ever-changing world.

Comments about his column can be sent to davidbentley@sanjuanislander.com

© 2014 David Bentley