Children are full of courage, curiosity and tolerance — great qualities that sometimes get lost in older people. Is there something we can learn from children? It is often worth taking a closer look, pausing and rethinking our very own behaviour. Quite often, we can learn from the younger ones!
1. See Life as an Adventure Playground
For children, playtime can’t start early enough in the morning. They want to experience the world and discover new things. They want to go out into nature—regardless of the weather. Even after the hundredth “Why?” they don’t tire. This desire to discover gets lost as we age. Probably because we live too much in one system and get the right answers “pre-chewed”—like in school, where only one answer is correct. We also tend to accept boundaries (very often too quickly) without trying to overcome them.
Break out! Consider your child as your role model and step out into the world. Question the things that appear to be self-evident and explore everyday situations. Childlike inquisition might give you a whole new perspective. And hopefully, liberate your curiosity for life again.
2. Take Your Time
Kids love to play for hours and hours—and it doesn’t matter if it’s the same game over and over again. But how about adults? In addition to numerous commitments, we probably have hobbies too. But do we truly take our time for them? Our daily agenda is often far too full. We are continually trying to save time and do as many things as possible at once. Children, however, are in no hurry. They take as much time as they want and think is right.
Find something you enjoy; sport, crafts, reading, chatting with friends, going for a walk, learning a new language or redesigning your room. The important thing is that you take your time; without hovering appointments. Just concentrate on your new hobby, which may require practice at first, but in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it is essential to let go and enjoy these moments for yourself.
3. Allow Imagination
Particularly in our professional lives, many of us have to be creative at the touch of a button; however, it can be difficult. Those who don’t have the opportunity to think creatively all day long and limit their imagination, cannot summon up free thought on-demand. Especially when we feel under pressure, we often find that our creativity shuts down. In contrast, it is far more natural for children. They can fantasize for hours and hours and create whole worlds in their heads.
Next time your child plays dress up, throw on a costume too! The kids get a kick, and you’ll stimulate your imagination. Alternatively, board games are a fun option too. They activate your creativity and ability to communicate.
4. Exceed and Test Limits
Children have little fear of challenges and attempt many things. They climb trees, balance on high walls and jump from airy heights. Even if it hurts sometimes, they prefer to experience everything first hand and to feel it for themselves. Of course, life makes us wiser and, therefore, more cautious. But it shouldn’t hurt us, adults, to have fun and enjoy life now and then. What are your limits?
Just do it! Register for further skills training if you feel like it. Address the person who fascinates you so much. Spontaneously travel if you want to change your perspective. Why not? What have you got to lose?
5. Appreciate Little Things
A roll of paper can bring much joy to a child. A ladybird can make eyes shine, soap bubbles inspire. We adults hardly notice the small inconspicuous beauties of life anymore. What a pity, they are so beautiful and enriching!
Live more attentively! When we perceive and value the little things in life, we generally become happier and more satisfied. Especially on days when everything goes wrong.
6. Dream Big
Doctor, pilot, fireman. Children often know precisely what they want to become later on. But a big dream goes beyond career aspiration. Kids don’t just want a pet; they want the whole zoo. Children don’t need motivation workshops or personality training. They don’t try to set goals and then pursue them; they just do.
Dream big! Why shouldn’t you? What could happen?
7. Meet Strangers with Openness
We all have prejudices, whether you want to admit it or not. Mostly, however, these are unnecessary burdens that prevent us from progressing and developing. We are born completely free of prejudice, with education and experience influencing our thinking and leading us to make hasty conclusions.
Approach other people, new things and changes openly! This strategy may open up opportunities for you in your professional and private life. Who knows? A valuable contact could emerge.
This approach does not only apply to openness towards other people. Also, be open to new views, hobbies or ways of doing something. My favourite example is language learning. For centuries we have been learning foreign languages the way school dictates: Learn vocabulary, learn grammar rules. But there are also other, much more intuitive possibilities, such as the Birkenbihl Approach. The basis of the method is decoding—a word-for-word translation of a foreign-language text into the mother tongue (more information here: www.brain-friendly.com). Only those who “overcome” themselves and try a new way of learning can experience how easy learning can be. For this, you have to show some openness and swim against the tide. It pays off!
8. Enjoy the Moment
Kids live in the moment. They don’t care about yesterday or tomorrow. Us adults brood over the past, worry about the future and waste valuable time in the present. We spend far too many moments, regretting and planning instead of just enjoying the moment.
If such thoughts burden you, take a deep breath and say to yourself: “This may be stupid, but I can’t change it now, and I won’t let this moment pass me by.”
9. Be Honest
When children say something, they mean it. It’s not always pleasant for everyone; however, you always know what you’re up against.
Be honest with yourself and with others. Pretending or covering up something requires too much energy. It’s far easier to speak the truth. Being honest is worth mastering—the whole truth can undoubtedly help you more in the end than a half-truth. Try it out!
10. Lough from the Heart
When children laugh, they do so with all their heart. And they often laugh—400 times a day. We adults, on the other hand, laugh only 15 times.
When was the last time you laughed heartily? One way to create positive feelings is to smile often. Even if you feel stupid, a smile has far more influence over your body than you think. Even a forced smile can help because, along with the positive facial expression, your body releases happiness hormones, and your mood improves.
What we can learn from children has nothing to do with knowledge. It’s a way to live life. Try it for yourself!
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