There are many admirable qualities found in kids. Their exuberance and curiosity for life among others are worth modeling. However, they possess another characteristic that adults truly need to emulate. They don’t censor their instincts or filter out insights that arise when facing new situations.
As adults, we’ve learned to expect things to unfold a certain way based on our knowledge and experience. We engage an automatic process of filtering information to speed up making choices and taking actions. However, our filters can also be limiting, as a means of self-censorship.
Look, Mom, woofs
For example, the Shen Life Pack has spent many hours loitering on the sidewalks of countless towns and cities across the USA. A pattern has emerged. When passing a family, the kids shout, “look, mom, they look like woofs (wolves).” Inevitably, that youngster’s intuition gets revised by the adults, “oh no those are Huskies. Aren’t they pretty.”
This picture was taken on the winter solstice 2017 thanks to a passerby saw us loitering and she said, “now, that’s a Christmas picture…let me take it for you.”
Now, for anyone who has had the good fortune of meeting Bella, China and/or Atlas, it is relatively evident that they are NOT Huskies. It may not be natural to declare them wild, but their size alone rules out the Husky option. Even people who own Malamutes recognize that there is something different with these pups.
When presented with something that doesn’t fit into their learned box, the adults correct the children with a scenario that is more realistic according to their knowledge. Besides what are the chances a couple would be walking down the main street with three wolf dogs? Ha…that’s us.
Filtering Is Self Censorship
With repeated correction, the child learns that their instincts and intuition are not worth listening to and the adult closes the possibility of a wild new experience. This happens in countless areas of life.
Sadly, it is easy to override our intuition. Quickly categorizing information with related subjects serves a logical purpose. Yet, it is also the path to close-mindedness. Though subtle, eventually this habit can turn off our intuition that prompts us to take action.
A good way to crack the seal of closed-mindedness is to start a self-inquiry practice. Ask yourself tough questions. Challenge and expand your knowledge base. Assume nothing.
How do you know that information to be true?
What if you are wrong, then what?
Is there a blind spot in your thinking?
Who really said that quote?
Especially in this Information Age, it is easy to quickly filter and categorize data. In fact, it is a matter of survival that we do so. The sheer quantity of information thrust at us daily is enough to illicit overwhelm, anxiety and paralysis.
However, it is important to exercise flexible filtering. Remaining flexible allows us to catch the adventures life offers. Seeing the possibilities outside of our regular constructs makes room for spontaneity, the spice of life. And, remaining flexible allows our intuition to surface and wisdom to develop.
Wisdom is the combination of knowledge, experience, and intuition…the trifecta. True wisdom requires having strong yet flexible mental frameworks. Such constructs empower us with the discernment to absorb good info and discard the rest.
As Einstein said, “the measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” Studies show that children are more skilled at adapting to change than their elders. So next time a far-out idea falls on your ears, stay curious and flexible as your younger self while exercising your elder filtering intellect and let your intuition lead you to your next adventure.
2. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0010027713002540, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2998793/