On Naïveté

On Naïveté

We live in a culture that, for the most part, shames naïveté. We laugh at people who ask silly questions. Make fun of those who have accents. And intimidate people so that they stop “wasting our time” with innocent matters.

We live in a bubble. We expect everyone we know to speak our language and know everything that we do.

Rarely, if ever, do we stop and wait and make sure that everyone is caught up to speed. More importantly, we rarely surround ourselves with people who are very different from ourselves.

Different in look. Different in thought. Different in every way.

When we surround ourselves with “only experts” — people that are highly specialized and really good at one or two things. We tend to get caught up in the hype of whatever it is we are talking about.

In that world, we lose our touch of humanity. We lose our innocence. And we stop asking questions.

I’d say that naïveté can be a really good thing.

I think that surrounding myself with people who ask questions often is a really good thing. We must create environments were asking questions, no matter how silly or “easy” they may be, is acceptable and actually encouraged.

When you live in a bubble, you never think twice about explaining simple concepts. Instead you glaze over them. But when you take a moment and actually analyze what you are saying — sometimes only triggered by one of those stupid questions — you’ll find yourself giving an insightful answer.

That exercise is really important. Especially for the “elites” of the tech world who live in that whole other world. Not everyone knows what an IDE is. Not everyone cares what an IDE is. Maybe try explaining what it is to someone who has never coded before and get their reaction.

Try it with self driving cars. Go to the middle of the country, to a Farmer’s Land (with his or her permission). And tell them that you have a self driving car. Get their reaction. Explain it to them — what sort of “naive” questions do you think they will ask?

I bet they’d wonder how it works. How safe it is. But I bet, as well, that they’d have different concerns that I have never thought about before.

As we grow up, we are often trained to stop asking “stupid questions.” We are too far down society and we have lost our touch. Few people still ask those questions often.

Babies do. Children do.

Sometimes the silly stupid questions are the best ones.

The purpose of this post was not to say that babies are geniuses. Though some may be.

The purpose was to say that as a society, and on a personal level, we should open ourselves up to talking to more people. Especially those different than us. It is a breath of fresh air. Youthfulness. Teaching can be just as beneficial for you as it could be for the mentee. You never know what you are going to learn, so long as you hold an open mind.

Originally published at Jordan Gonen.

By jordangonen on January 3, 2017.

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Exported from Medium on February 17, 2018.