Scott’s Thoughts: The Child’s Mind

“We are all children in various stages of growing up.”

Doug Marlette, (December 6, 1949 – July 10, 2007), Pulitzer Prize-winning American editorial cartoonist.

The Child's MindJust as you only have one chance to make a first impression, you only have one opportunity to see something for the first time. As children, our entire world is composed of “first time” experiences. At times it is enchanting. In other ways it is terrifying.

As we gain experience, and our collective library of “first impressions” changes our ability to see the world with fresh eyes. This is helpful when it saves us from mistakes, but it can be a hindrance to perceiving new opportunities or solutions. Once lessons have been taught, they are enormously hard to unlearn.

We often have to rely on others for a new perspective. The practice, however, of trying to see the world from the child’s mind by yourself can be enlightening if you cultivate it. Try to strip down your storehouse of knowledge and look at a situation as though you’re a complete novice. As your biases and accumulated knowledge resists, acknowledge them and set them aside.

Attempting this can help you develop empathy for people who do not have the same level of familiarity with a subject as you do. It can teach you patience and remind you that the root of communication depends upon true mutual understanding. It helps you remove assumptions and thwart miscommunication.

You sometimes hear people invoke the child’s mind with phrases such as, “let’s reduce to the ridiculous” and “explain it to me like I’m a third grader.” Listen for these cues, especially with new clients. Can you remember a time when you didn’t know what a title search was? Can you honestly recall the first time someone explained a mortgage to you? You may not, but there are people out there who come to you with zero understanding of the home buying and selling process.

The child’s mind not only protects you from your biases, but it helps discard half-truths, rumors, and assumptions you may have held (but don’t recall their origins or can’t vouch for their accuracy).

Cultivate this state of mind–one filled with curiosity and useful ignorance–to help you become a better listener, problem solver, and intuitive professional.

Photo credit: notsogoodphotography

Here’s to your continued success,

Scott Levitt

Scott Levitt
President, Oakley Signs & Graphics

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