I should first mention why I have only put up 1 blog entry in past month. I was in the process of switching website hosts and ran into some issue that wouldn’t let me access this site. It was a hassle trying to fix it, but it seems the issue has been fixed now. I still cannot access my other website harshshukla.com, but I will get to it later as it is not as important.
This entry is not complete, but next part will be next week or the week after at the latest.
This time, I am expanding on the notion I made of being a kid for life in one of my previous entries I wrote back in January on treating life as a game.
Disclaimer (haha!): And by being a kid, I am not telling you to scream & cry when you don’t get things your way. Don’t jump off a bench raging when it’s time to go home from the park (when you don’t get things your way in life). Don’t rage & scream for some ice-cream on the way home. Don’t run around showing your fist at people or a cop if you get pulled over. Don’t refuse to get flu shots because you’re scared of the doctor’s office or too full of yourself. Don’t run around in the library screaming with books on your head or talking loudly (to get attention). Obviously, don’t be spoiled.
There are other aspects to being a kid that I’m referring to here though.
I believe there is almost a stereotype that people have of children (ages 1 to 18). When they are not seen as immature brats, they are often seen as innocent bystanders and naive as if they don’t understand life & things that go on. I am going to flip that around and accuse many adults of being bystanders & naive, and they are the ones that truly don’t understand. I grew up with my brother, sister, cousins, and also classmates/friends in school. I remember many of the discussions they/we had. Children know & understand much more than they let on; they may be innocent but sure are not stupid.
By being a kid for life, I am referring to characteristics like curiosity.
When I was younger (5 years old maybe), my dad used to have a work office where he used to fix electronic things for clients. One day, I sneaked into his work office when I saw he had left the door open by mistake. He was busy in his work and did not notice me enter. I saw a little open box (radio maybe?) and saw something flickering shiny. I reached in and touched the shiny flickering magical thing. My hand got stuck to it, and I began screaming. My dad quickly unplugged the box and pulled me back as I cried and cried. I learned years later that the magical thing flickering was electricity flowing. I never touched anything in that room ever again, and it took my curiosity to teach me to be careful.
That example is the first thing I thought of. On a grander scale, curiosity is truly magical as it can help push us to learn new things that we may not learn otherwise & help drive us to seek for knowledge. Kids have that drive and instinct to be curious. We tend to lose some of that curiosity drive as we grow older and as other responsibilities & things pile up. Unfortunately, as we grow older and lose our curiosity drive, we begin to take life for granted with moments, days, months, years just flying by. Occasionally, there might be instances when our curiosity snaps back into place, but it often may only be for short bursts.
Too often as people grow older, I have seen them say things like “That’s a kid question”, “That’s not an important question”, “That I don’t care about”. I believe asking questions of how something works or what something is, etc is never truly unimportant or stupid. Understanding things (regardless of how menial it may be) is the first step to progress and developing our thought processes. Getting away from that is truly a lose to society. Without curiosity, you are not learning anything new, and you’re just allowing life to drift by — sadly too many people are like that.
Fortunately, not everybody is like that — curiosity is why we had people like Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Nikola Tesla, Stephen Hawking, Galileo, etc change the world. You can also throw in philosophers like Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Rene Descartes, Confucius, etc. Curiosity is one of the things that drove every single one of these people. These are the people that changed how we see and understand the world. This is what we ought to hold onto from childhood; we CANNOT lose our desire to learn new things.
Ask Big Questions
Kids also are the ones that tend to ask big questions of the world. “Why is the sky blue?” “Why do nails grow?” “Why do older people’s hair turn white?” “Why does the clock tick? (what is time?)” “Why are the moon and sun round?” “Why do people die?” and small-scale questions such as “What will happen if I pull that dog’s tail?” “Why do we poop?” “Why do our hands make cool shapes on the wall next to a light?” “Why do boys and girls sit on the toilet differently?” “Why can’t I say the ‘F’ word?” on and on.. Most of these questions can be easily answered and there are many questions we have no answer for, but it’s good that they asked. What is important is they ask questions of the world they are not sure of.
Most people, as they grow older, don’t wonder about these sorts of things that they observe. Even if you don’t ask questions to others, you can still search for answers yourself as there are so many different sources available including the internet. As I mentioned in previous section, life ends up being taken for granted as you stop caring or searching for answers. It is not good enough to just accept whatever others tell us (media especially), which makes it very easy to be taken advantage of. That’s also being gullible, and I fear a large fraction of society is like that.
Without asking questions and searching for answers, we stop progressing as a society.
Intricacies of Curiosity
I believe curiosity is a habitual thing. It’s not a switch you can flip one day, and all is well. You must build on it over time. The old proverb “practice makes perfect” applies here as well. The more questions you ask & the more answers you seek, the more questions will come up. At least, that’s the way I think about it.
The adult that is always serious or in bad mood is the one you must be concerned about more than one that is always joking or busting chops of people in a humorous manner. The child that does not ask questions or do mischievous things, such as play with utensils and pans, is the one you must be concerned about more than one that is always running around and playing with anything he/she can play with.
Another way to work on curiosity is through building your imagination. Read a fiction book of an epic story. Learn something new, imagine a brand new world that is different than the one you live in. Get into the minds of people that wrote those books and wonder about what makes them tick. What can you learn from that that you can carry into your own world? That is curiosity in practice!
You must always keep your mind occupied to avoid boredom. For me, one of the things I do to keep my mind occupied is blog. I write, write, and write as much as I possibly can. I used to get bored a lot when I was in school and college, but now I keep myself occupied in thoughts. I use twitter (@harsh_mode) for random thoughts I think of or post quotes I find cool and/or inspiring.
Whatever you do in life, don’t lose your curiosity. Find ways to keep it flowing, keep learning, and keep asking questions – you never know when it will come into use!
More on this later as I explore other things that kids have to teach us.