Out of the mouth of babes..!

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION -

THE other day I watched a fa mous psy­chi­a­trist in deep con ver­sa­tion with an old man. The old man was do­ing the talk­ing while the doc­tor was lis­ten­ing. I met the doc­tor later and told him mis­chie­vously, “No so­lic­it­ing busi­ness doc!”

“On the con­trary Bob,” said the psy­chi­a­trist se­ri­ously, “it was the old man who was giv­ing me ad­vice!” “You lis­tened to him?” I asked sur­prised. “Out of the mouth of babes,” said the doc­tor, “came words of wis­dom!” I thought of that doc­tor to­day and won­dered if you my dear reader have a prob­lem and it doesn’t seem like it’s go­ing away, per­haps what you need to do is to start lis­ten­ing to peo­ple who are to­tally un­re­lated to what you are go­ing through:

Thomas Edi­son in­vented the in­can­des­cent elec­tric light bulb. But Edi­son’s bulb did not burn for long; it gave off lit­tle light and it was too ex­pen­sive. A man named Wil­liam David Coolidge spent seven years im­prov­ing the light bulb to make it more prac­ti­cal. Largely be­cause of his work, elec­tric light even­tu­ally came into com­mon use.

When Coolidge fi­nally suc­ceeded in his ef­forts, he was ques­tioned about how he was able to make tung­sten work. He said, ‘It was be­cause I was not a met­al­lur­gist. Had I been a met­al­lur­gist, I would have known that the task was im­pos­si­ble!’ Henry Ford, too, built his suc­cess largely on his abil­ity to ‘think out­side the box.’ He used to say that he was look­ing to em­ploy a lot of peo­ple who were be­yond be­ing just engi­neers, ‘who have an in­fi­nite ca­pac­ity to not know what can’t be done.’Very of­ten un­con­ven­tional think­ing is re­quired to solve prob­lems.

You may not be set­ting out to build a huge com­pany or mar­ket a new in­ven­tion, but you still face dif­fi­cult prob­lems that beg for cre­ativ­ity. Per­haps you are wor­ried about fi­nanc­ing an ed­u­ca­tion. Or you are car­ing for a loved one with a long-term ill­ness. Or maybe you sim­ply can­not seem to get along with that dif­fi­cult per­son you work along­side ev­ery­day. These prob­lems, and count­less oth­ers, just don’t seem to go away. Start lis­ten­ing to peo­ple whom you’ve oth­er­wise thought of as ‘stupid’: Your chil­dren, your aged par­ents, an old aunt or un­cle or even that job­less hobo who turns up un­ex­pect­edly for a meal; you’ll be sur­prised at the kind of ad­vice they give!

I re­mem­ber my psy­chi­a­trist friend that night, he was in a thought­ful mood and sud­denly he broke into a grin, “Can you imag­ine Bob,” he said, “with an MD in Psy­chi­a­try I’d never found the so­lu­tion, till I found wise words pour­ing out of the mouth of a babe?” “Babe?” I asked. “We shrinks like to think any­one who doles out ad­vice but isn’t a psy­chi­a­trist is a ‘babe’ in the field! From to­day I lis­ten to the babes..!” —Email: bob­s­ban­ter@gmail.com

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