Kids don’t like being bored. So, when the world becomes boring to them, they find things to make it interesting. They invent, create, imagine – or at least they do this until much of our schooling pulls this desire and ability out of them.
Here are some alarming statistics: Kids laugh and smile more than 400 times a day. Adults – only 15. The ability to see the greatness, awesomeness, and wonder about life is such an incredible trait in kids, and one that we, as adults, have either forgotten how to do or have been trained out of. Though we are each born great, we often trade our greatness in order to fit in. We accept what others do as what “is done” and in the process, we become more and more disconnected from our true talents, strengths and passions. We loose our sense of wonder – we stop being kids.
So what if, just for a moment, we could get back into our “kid thinking” – the thinking that allowed us to see possibilities everywhere, that prevented us from being afraid of standing out, failing or doing anything but loving life? What if we were more focused on all that could happen instead of constantly seeing what can’t happen? Image how our lives would change.
Consider these three ways to reconnect to your inner child to find ways to add more WOW! and wonder back into your life:
1. Reconnect to your memories. Think back to when you were a kid. What did you love to do? What did you dream about? Who were your heroes? Where did you spend your time? When we were younger, we did things that made
us happy, mostly because we were less concerned with what others thought. We tried things and chose to do things we knew were right – or fun – for us. Kids are remarkably authentic and true. So thinking back to when you were
younger and identify what was right and fun for you. Without others telling you who to be, how things are or what to do, you filled your time with the things you loved; you did what mattered to you. Many of these things still matter to you. List them, think about them, reconnect to them. You need this information to do what comes next: action.
2. Act on what mattered to you. From that list of possibilities, select one or two. If you loved to dance, go dance. Take lessons or put the music on when you are home. If you loved to write, use numbers, solve puzzles, cook, build
things, dream, run, play sports, lead others, act or anything else, start it again. These things mattered to us. And for the most part, we were good at them. We have both the interest and the ability to bring it back into our lives in some form. Keep a running list of things you want to add back into your life. Then go do it.
3. Tell the judging committee in your head to sit down and shut up. The greatest reason why we live small (why we seemingly don’t love life like kids do) is that we have a committee in our head that likes to tell us what and how to do things. So if you reconsider doing things you did as a kid, the adult, responsible and serious committee in your head is going to give you a tough time. As an adult, these “voices” tell you that acting like a kid is foolish. Life is serious, dangerous and hard. Though all that is true, life is also ours to invent. A life that is built around play – where play means doing what we love in both work and life – is better, happier, and more successful than a life that is serious, dangerous, and hard. We choose how we see life – thrilled like a kid or stressed like an adult. And the cause of much of our “can’t do” attitude is the inner critic, expert and curmudgeon that wants us to play it safe, stay small and follow someone else’s rules. So in the moment when you feel pulled to put the kids dreams away, practice telling your inner critic and committee to sit down, go get a book and shut up.
We could have a life of WOW – in fact, I personally think that is how it is intended. Life is full of great moments that should appreciated and celebrated. But we have been taught that fun is not responsible. We are taught that hard work is the only route to a good life. We are taught that we are supposed to grow up and act like adults, often defined as serious, compliant and disciplined. But why? Why give up the perspective that life is fun, filled with possibilities that are new, exciting and awesome?
So here’s my challenge for you. When you find yourself in a situation where you feel stressed or manic, ask yourself: what would a kid do (WWAKD)? Because maybe, that answer might be exactly what you need to do in that moment. And in the process, we could add more fun, adventure, and WOW to our lives, allowing us to add more good times, joy and excitement. If we remember what we loved as kids and brought some of it back, we could rekindle our love of life and be impressed with all that it can be.
Now, tell your ‘committee’ to be quiet and go out and act like a kid…