One survey found that four-year-old girls ask a whopping 390 questions. Every. Single. Day.
When I heard Christina Rosalie mention this in her Creative Mornings talk on curiosity, it made me smile. I love knowing that kids, particularly girls, are so curious, so genuinely inquisitive, so sincerely fascinated by everything around them. And I love that they don’t hesitate to ask.
It also made me wonder, How many questions have I asked today? Questions that go beyond day-to-day logistics and errands and bills (of course those are important, too). Questions about my surroundings, my soul, someone else’s soul.
The precise number of questions doesn’t matter. That’s not really the point. The point is, were you curious today? Did you take a moment to contemplate the bigger picture? Did you take a moment to step out of autopilot and savor and wonder and daydream? Did you take a moment to connect to your imagination?
Questions bust through assumptions. They connect us with others, because they help us to hear what’s truly going on—instead of assuming what’s going on. What could be more powerful than asking someone: How are you feeling? Really feeling? How can I help? How can I support you today? How can I help you to feel loved?
Questions lead to interesting insights. They remind us of the magic that surrounds us, of the magic inside our minds. Why is the sky blue (and orange and lilac and popsicle pink)? How does wifi actually work? Why does it rain? Why is the ocean salty? What kind of birds, plants, trees, flowers, squirrels are those? Why are computer keys arranged the way they are? Why is ______ done that way? What if it was done a different way? What if I write a book about …. ? What if I explore these two seemingly disparate topics? Why do I want to? What percentage of my brain do I really use? Why do we dream? Why do we blink?
Questions are an opportunity, and an open door (countless open doors). They’re an invitation to explore, to experiment, to unearth, to use your senses, to delve deeper and deeper.
Consider dedicating a notebook to just questions (and maybe their corresponding answers). Carve out time every day or every week to jot down what you’re curious about. Or pick one topic, and challenge yourself to write a list of 20, or 50 or 100 questions about it. That topic might be everything from writing to cooking to creativity to 18th century artists to the smallest countries in the world to yourself.
Marine biologist and explorer Sylvia Earle once said: “The best scientists and explorers have the attributes of kids! They ask questions and have a sense of wonder. They have curiosity. ‘Who, what, where, why, when and how!’ They never stop asking questions, and I never stop asking questions, just like a five year old.”
What would you ask, and explore and wonder about if you were five years old? What are you curious about right now? What if you followed that like bread crumbs on a trail, beckoning you to come along for the adventure?