A child doesn't think outside the box. A child’s mindset doesn't even consider a “box” to think out of. In a child’s mind anything is possible. They don’t even need an explanation to believe why something is possible and when you tell them something isn't possible they don’t even care about anything you’re saying. The best way I can explain this is with a quick story.
A few months ago I was having a conversation with my 3 year old niece when I asked her if she wanted to be a cheerleader when she gets older like her sister. She replied no and that she would rather be a football player like her brother. I spent about 5 minutes explaining to her why she can never be a football player when I realized she did not care what I was saying. In her mind, being a football player is very possible. The problem here was not with her, it was with me. Being an adult, I lived within boundaries. But, with the way she thinks, there were none.
Now of course the chances of my niece being a football player is very slim but it’s the mindset that even something like that is possible, that I think is dope. There’s this Picasso quote that says something along the lines of we are all born artists, and then society tears that down and turns us into who we are. I think that is one of the dopest quotes ever. I actually think that all innovative/genius ideas come from a childish mindset because to do something great, you have to completely ignore precedent.
Think of when a kid is in the middle of doing something seemingly ridiculous and you stop them and ask why they are doing that. Usually they just stare at you because they honestly cannot give you an explanation of why they’re doing what they’re doing. They just think the outcome will be cool. Now think of all those moments in history where something innovative took place. Let’s take something as simple as Michael Jackson’s moonwalk. If you asked MJ in the middle of trying it for the first time, he probably wouldn't be able to explain it to you. Instead, he followed his gut and could only show you at the end when he finished. This same thing can apply to almost every innovative moment ever.
You ever think of when you were a kid and you thought adults were so lame and boring and that you would never think like they do. Well chances are; if you’re reading this, you are much closer mentally to that lame adult than you are to that open-minded kid. Here’s another story.
I was at Macy’s with my brother and nephew shopping for my nephew when, while in the kids section, my nephew decides now is a great time to play a quick game of tag. He asks me to play and I join him in this light game of tag, of course, because I’m the coolest uncle of all time. While playing around, an old black lady that works at Macy’s walked by and said to me “Aren't you too old to be playing around in a store?” My nephew kept on playing because he could care less about this lady or her opinion but I stopped. Eventually he realized it was over and found something else to amuse himself with but later on, I apologized to him. My nephew is 3 so he doesn't really care much for apologies but I apologized because I let the old lady turn his cool uncle into a lame adult.
There was this Kanye interview I once watched where he referenced this same idea I'm talking about here. He said when you're a kid you run around shouting your ideas and what you believe in because nothing is preventing you from having that mindset. You're free mentally. But, when you're an adult you move slower and pick and choose when you want to let your ideas be known and are almost help back by limits society placed on you as you got older.
I’m not saying we should all act like children or even think like children all the time. I’m saying that from a childish mindset, great things can happen. If you are thinking everything that is possible has already been done, and live within the limits currently placed, how is life ever supposed to get better? You know how society tells kids growing that anything is possible? The truth is kids already think anything is possible. We should be saying that to the adults.