Lesson of the Week

Youthful: I have an innocent zest and curiosity

Mission developing?  Even thriving?  Blame it on your youth!

What drives early development is youthful, innocent zest and curiosity.  If this attitude is so successful for youth, why isn’t it lauded in adulthood?  Well, it is!  Being child like not childish is the secret to a successful mission  — the key to unlocking doors.  Being youthful requires that you think both inside and outside the box you’ve been given.

Inside the box:  Pictured is a child who found an empty box put out for trash pickup.  The toddler put the box over her head, hesitated, and in that quiet, dark place determined this box would make a great toy.  Thinking inside the box provided her with hours of fun.  She took something old and made it vital and useful.

Nick Sheridon exemplifies the concept of thinking inside the box.  In his “box” were polyethylene spheres, a silicone sheet, and voltage, industry known items.  He put them together to create electronic paper.  This type technology was later used to make the displays of the Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook, and Sony readers.  His mission was to take conceptually old parts and use them for a new purpose – electrophoretic displays.

Outside the box:  Pictured here is a baby who found the box boring, so she went out and found things to improve her box.  Getting outside the box means going beyond your sphere of knowledge and finding something new.  When your mission stalls and you seem to have depleted all the ideas “inside” the box, be like the curious child looking for a route out of boredom.  Go out with youthful zest and curiosity.  This is not about being childish or irresponsible, but child like and impressively creative and innovative.  One example is the invention of 3M’s Post It Notes.  An American chemist, Spencer Silver, developed an adhesive that seemed to have no profitable, marketable, or useful purpose.  Arthur Fry noticed the product and wanted to use it for hymnal bookmarks.  He was thinking outside of Spencer Silver’s box.  They put their ideas together and 3M’s Post It Notes were born.

The concept of thinking outside the box may have originated in Sam Lloyd’s Cyclopedia of 5000 Puzzles, Tricks, and Conundrums (with answers) 1914.  You can test it out by clicking on the link.  Nine dots were drawn and the participant was asked to draw a continuous line through the center of all the eggs so as to mark them off in the fewest number of strokes.

Life will hand you a lot of dots to connect.  Use your youthful, innocent zest, and curiosity to discover how to connect these dots or show you how to connect with someone who can connect them for you.  Let your youthful attitude drive you to develop and maintain a mission you love.


Youth is a quality, not a matter of circumstances.

- Frank Lloyd Wright, American Architect, Interior Designer, Writer, and Educator


Activity:  Inside and Outside the Box

Materials:  Paper and pencil or pen

Time: Ten minutes to write and ten minutes for each person to discuss answers


1.  What was a time in your life that you had an unresolved problem that is still, today unresolved?  Write down a short description of what happened, how you were involved, and what was unresolved.

2.  Now think inside or outside the box about how you can resolve this problem.  Inside the box means thinking of all the resources and ideas you already have that will help you resolve this problem.  Some of these internal resources are your own gifts and talents.

Outside the box means going outside your comfort zone and getting help resolving this problem.  This does not mean getting the exact outcome you had hoped for, but it does mean resolving the problem in some other way so you can move forward, develop beyond this problem, create a new, evolved outcome, and have a wonderful life and mission.

3.  Write down how you can -- will, or now have -- resolve this problem.

4.  Discuss your thoughts with the group.  Having a new perspective about the problem can result in an instantaneous resolution or healing to a problem you have had for many years.  Another outcome can be to cease believing this is a problem that needs to be resolved or change the expected outcome that would have resolved the problem -- to an outcome that is acceptable or might even be a better.  (See example below.)


A woman’s mission was to be happily married.  She got married and soon after divorced.  Thirty years passed and the rejection and abandonment left her with disturbing dreams and anxiety.  The emotional trauma had never been resolved.  Two impossible resolutions:  recovering the marriage or resolving the issues with her ex husband.  All her resources for resolution had been used up.  Her mission to be married and have a wonderful life had failed.  Her heart was aching.

Suddenly she was smitten with youthful zest.  Thinking inside the box, she became aware of her own potential.  She became her own good companion recognizing within herself joy, wonder, intelligence, and compassion.  Can you imagine being your own best friend and always having that best friend around?  Never being abandoned by that best friend – yourself?

Then she thought outside the box.  What was her mission?  Being alone all day?  Sleeping too much?  Being anxious?  No!  Was there life after trauma?  Yes!  Certainly!   She embraced a healthy child like boredom, a zest for life.  Her curiosity led her out of her box, out of home, and out of her comfort zone.

The resolution or healing came when after years of being homebound and single, she found herself “married” to the community.  Her “family” became the check out clerks at her local coffee shop, the librarian who always greeted her with compassion, the exercise gym manager, and many other community citizens.  She first however, had to think inside the box and realize her own worth (be “married” to herself) and then think outside the box to be “wed” to her community.  In fact, this new marriage seemed even more abundant with love than her original one.

In essence, after the divorce she was in solitary confinement and her home was a prison.   As a youthful thinker, she broke out of prison and found her mission – to love and be loved by a whole community.  What is the first thing a child does when it discovers its own abilities?  Escapes the crib!  This woman saw her own individual potential and escaped her crib!  She is now wed to her community and her community loves the marriage.


I am youthful and curious so I can .... We'd like to hear your story about being youthful. Write your story below.