What if countries competed on playing fields instead of battlefields?

OlympicsDid you know the Olympics started with a beautiful question? The question was raised by Baron Pierre de Coubertin of France, who founded the International Olympic Committee in 1894 to tackle this lofty, ambitious idea:

Might it be possible to reduce international warfare by having countries compete on the playing field, instead of the battle field?

It’s hard to say whether the Olympics have lessened the amount of warfare over the years, but they surely have contributed to a spirit of international goodwill. True, we tend to root for our own country’s athletes to win the medals, but we also find ourselves, at various times, pulling for some inspiring athlete or team from a faraway land. And in some small way, this probably fosters greater empathy with places that otherwise would not be in our thoughts. Plus it’s all great fun, of course. So here’s a salute to Baron de Coubertin and his beautiful question.


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About the Author

Innovation expert and questionologist Warren Berger has studied hundreds of the world’s foremost innovators, entrepreneurs, and creative thinkers to learn how they ask questions, generate original ideas, and solve problems. He is the author or co-author of 12 books, including his three books on questioning: A MORE BEAUTIFUL QUESTION: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas; its follow-up THE BOOK OF BEAUTIFUL QUESTIONS: The Powerful Questions That Will Help You Decide, Create, Connect, and Lead; and BEAUTIFUL QUESTIONS IN THE CLASSROOM: Transforming Classrooms Into Cultures of Curiosity and Inquiry. Warren’s writing has appeared in Fast Company, Harvard Business Review, and The New York Times, and he writes the “Questionologist” blog for Psychology Today. He lives in Mount Kisco, New York. Follow him on Twitter at @GlimmerGuy and subscribe to his blog posts