If you wanted advice on being successful, where would you look? Would you read books that have been written by rich and famous business moguls?
Would you find a self help guru and follow their plan? Maybe a life coach would be your best source of guidance.
Any of these options is certainly reasonable. However, have you ever considered that some of the best examples of living a life that is bound to be successful is to look to the children in our lives? It’s true! Children have a way of viewing the world and interacting with one another that is truly inspirational if you really pay attention.
Here are 8 things we can learn from children that can help us succeed:
1. Be willing to show and tell
Go into any preschool or grade school classroom on show and tell day, and you will see dozens of children excited to share their treasured objects and most exciting experiences with others. When a child has an idea, they enthusiastically share that idea with whoever is nearby.
If we could capture that openness and enthusiasm as adults we’d stop letting our insecurities stop us from achieving what we want. We could begin with a willingness to share our ideas and opinions without fear.
“Passion is one great force that unleashes creativity, because if you’re passionate about something, then you’re more willing to take risks.” – Yo-Yo Ma
2. Be honest about your emotions and compassionate about others’ emotions
One of the many wonderful things about children is that once they learn how to identify emotions, they are completely honest about theirs and compassionate about the ways that others feel. They don’t stifle, deny, hide, or put on false fronts. They also don’t judge themselves or others for genuine displays of emotions.
As adults, we often feel the need to hide our emotions, and we often don’t react well to the openness of others. If we could follow the example of children, it might help us to be more open and honest in our communications with one another.
3. View the world through uncynical eyes
That will never work. You know those people always overcharge. That guy doesn’t have a chance of winning; he’s too much of an idealist. How many phrases like these do you find yourself uttering on a regular basis? If your answer is quite a few, you are not alone. Unlike adults, children take people and situations at face value and don’t allow past negativities to embitter them.
Imagine if we could recapture the ability to see through the same hopeful and positive filter that children do.
4. Don’t limit your dreams
Children never tell themselves that they’re being silly. They don’t quantify their dreams with probabilities and statistics. They simply allow themselves to plan and dream without limits. As a result, they are more willing to work towards those dreams.
For example, if you ask a child to draw a dream house, they might draw a palace. This is because they haven’t yet developed the nagging inner voice that tells them that the thought of living in a palace is just silliness.
It would certainly be nice if we adults could dream without these self limiting voices running through our minds.
5. Have boundless curiosity
Kids, sometimes to the frustration of the adults around them, are extraordinarily curious. If they aren’t taking things apart to see how they work, they are mixing them together to see what will happen. They ask questions. In fact there are days when it seems as if a child’s entire existence is driven by a need to know how things work, why they happen, or to answer the question, what would happen if I…?
As adults, we tend to lose that sense of curiosity and become stuck in our ways. When this happens, our minds stagnate and we stop growing. Harnessing that old curiosity could have amazing results.
6. Be spontaneous and have fun
Children are so full of spontaneity and joy that they are able to find something fun and uplifting about any situation. Not convinced? Try watching children playing in the park sometime. Left to their own devices, they will make up games, become their favorite characters, and repurpose ordinary playground equipment into airplanes, castles, and spaceships.
What many adults don’t realize is that if they could recapture this willingness to seize the moment and have fun, that spontaneity can improve creativity, and result in some really great ideas.
7. Build and create things
Leave kids alone with some blankets and a couch, and they will build a fort. Put them at a table with glue, construction paper, popsicle sticks, and other art supplies, and they will make an elaborate art project. It’s as if people are born with an innate desire to create new things, but for many of us that desire is lost. That’s disappointing, because the people who do hold onto that desire often go on to do great things.
If adults were continually carrying out or thinking up creative plans, imagine all of the great things that people would have contributed to the world by now.
“I never called my work an ‘art’. It’s part of show business, the business of building entertainment.” – Walt Disney
8. Eat, exercise and sleep like a child
Health and wellbeing are key to becoming and remaining successful. Unfortunately, as adults we forget that. We eat food that is bad for us, and we overindulge in that food. We go without enough sleep, and we spend too much time in front of the television. Children, especially little ones, run, climb, and play.
They eat small, frequent meals, and they never skip breakfast. Then, at the end of the day, when it’s time to sleep they crash long and hard. Many of us would feel better and enjoy our success more if we followed this healthy lifestyle.