Edward De Bono, in his writing on Lateral Thinking, believes that our creative potential is crushed at an even earlier age. He refers to the Three Stages of Childhood –
The What?, The Why?, The Why Not?
We start by indentifying the objects we find in the world. “What is this, what is that?” And usually we get the answers. Then we question the meaning and purpose of things. “Why is this, why is that?” And we get some answers, some but not all of them satisfactory.
Then we question the rules. “Why not?”
And the answers we receive at this early age are, for most of us, wholly unacceptable. Some family favorites: “Because that’s not the way we do it”; “Because I say so”; “Go and ask your mother!” And so on. De Bono would assert that, at this early age, “We are strangling our primary resource for creative thinking – our curiosity. Without it, we’ll never ask questions and undercover the hidden potential of things. We’ll accept the status quo”.
As a university student, you shouldn’t stop with the why-questions but if possible – ask also the why-not-questions. Rules are good, but not all. Some are just simply nonsense. Thus, you need to break the barrier, the status quo and ask hard-deep-questions. Keep your curiosity alive. For examples, if you an arts student you don’t have to stick to one way of seeing thing, you must think of other perspectives and ask, ‘why not I see it this way?’ Or if you’re an engineering student you should think of many possibilities and keep on asking, ‘why the designs have to be this way, why not like this?’ Or if you’re a business student, you ought to think of many other alternatives on how to marketing your products and ask, ‘since we always marketed it this way, why not we try other way?’ You know what I mean.
Robert F. Kennedy once said, “Some men see things as they are and say ‘Why?’ I dream of things that never were and say, ‘Why not?’” Be a university student who thinks differently, who continue to have curiosity, who love to uncover the hidden potential things or ideas and who never settled for status quo – no matter what. Friends, remember: Ask…
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.