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There’s a lot to be said for naïvety.
It’s just a shame that hardly anyone agrees.
We all have to know the answer – or know that we’ll discover it.
But what if we didn’t know for sure?
Oh, we bluff. Of course we do. We pretend we know the answer.
It’s the same in meetings when someone mentions some piece of jargon and everyone nods their head.
Assumptions. Bad things.
But they’re made all the time.
The clients wants X, the consumer only likes Y.
No one wants to appear to not know, to be naïve.
Because then people would think they were stupid, right? Especially if you’re in the business of telling people you know what’s best.
And so nothing changes.
I like to be naïve, to ask the obvious questions. People often do think you’re not getting it and so they simplify the problem. They get down to brass tacks.
They cease hiding behind jargon and conjecture and metaphor.
They spell it out. Clearly.
And in doing so, they usually let slip something really important, a truth in which lies the answer.
The job’s not done, not by any stretch of the imagination.
But what you will have is beginnings of the right path.
So don’t be afraid to speak up, to ask the obvious questions.
At worst, you’ll get clarity; at best you’ll put yourself way ahead of the curve.
Steve Jobs famously said ‘Stay Foolish’.
Foolish is a word that connotes stupidity. But he didn’t mean that at all. He meant, don’t accept what you’re told, to play with things, to see the world anew each day.
I say ‘Be Naïve’.
Not to mean inept, but to take its scientific definition: that of avoiding the obvious.
There’s a lot to be said for that.

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