8 Essentials for Thinking Like a Child

 

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“Would the child you were yesterday admire the person you are today? If not, adjust for desired results.” Ziad K. Abdelnour, Economic Warfare: Secrets of Wealth Creation in the Age of Welfare Politics

When a child is born there is an immediate and uncontrollable feeling of awe and wonder and reverence toward some higher power, maybe it is G-d for you, that here in this tiny package of humanity is this amazing miracle of life.

As adults we treasure this miracle and we dote on this miracle and we do all we can to feed the spirit of this miracle as it grows. We take possession without realizing that we possess but at some point all too quickly the child becomes its own person.

Once the identity of the child starts to come through we see in this miracle the only word that can describe a child, determination.  A child’s determination says, “there is only right now in this moment and this is what I want to do, accomplish, conquer, master, overcome, make happen so watch this….”.

So what happens along the path of growth that stunts the natural sense of determination and turns this miracle into a human of sorrow, self-doubt, limitedness, and negativity and how in the world can each of us humans get it back for keeps?

 “Children see magic because they look for it.”Christopher Moore, Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal

Every day to a child is like a first day. Every day is filled with new discoveries, new awareness, and new abilities and with each new thing a child can do the child wants to shout to the world, “hey ma, look what I can do” or “look what I just did.” It’s almost as if the child performed the greatest magic trick ever.

Do adults lose their magical abilities because no one is watching or cares to watch anymore? Oh sure, some adults have the ability to see magic throughout their whole lives, just look at Walter Disney, but it’s more than just seeing magic, it’s also feeling magic and feeling that all things are possible and never being influenced otherwise. When did it become childish to let magic into your adult life?

I remember working in a middle school with kids who got sent to detention a lot . Although it was the policy of the school to make the detention room as somber and negative as possible so that the kids would not want to go back there ever again, I couldn’t help but make the room scream of possibilities and dreams and jokes and riddles and hope. Does that make me a rebel? I don’t think so. I just can’t help imagining what it must be like to have to deal with the thought of feeling like a failure and not knowing what to do with that feeling except to be angry, all the time. I pray I created hope and possibilities for these kids to be able to see beyond the anger they were feeling.

Sometimes as adults we look at children and think to ourselves what can children teach us that we don’t already know now that we are the adults; I mean we’re adults, so we have already been where they are, right? The one thing that keeps coming back to me is that a child can teach us to see what a child sees and what a child hears and the unrelenting, untouched, uncomplicated thoughts of a pure mind on the verge of innocence lost. Sometime it is essential to stop and listen to the words of children:

There is a really good reason why we start out helpless and small and unknowing; so that adults can be reminded of the freedom, joy, un-limitedness of who they used to hope to be when they grew up. I believe children know more than adults do. They are pure, untainted entities that embody every possible person they want to become and they don’t care who knows it or what they each look like exploring all those magical possibilities.

 “I wept because I was re-experiencing the enthusiasm of my childhood; I was once again a child, and nothing in the world could cause me harm.”Paulo Coelho, The Pilgrimage

It’s not rocket science to imagine all the ways in which we can re-capture our innocence and feelings of being a child but just in case your mind is stuffed full of adult mumbo jumbo here is a little list of ideas that just might take you out of the limitedness of adulthood and open the imagination doors of the child’s soul inside of you:

    1. Take the blame with “relish”. As a child you gladly took responsibility for your actions anytime you did something you thought was justified or amazing or fun. Harness that positive energy of owning your actions by finding all kinds of ways to take responsibility for your actions as a grown-up. Only do those things that will leave you feeling proud to own up to something.
    2. Be Dramatic. Sure you might have thrown a temper tantrum or 2 when you were feeling out of control as a kid or feeling like no one was listening. (Perhaps you didn’t but wished you could). It was dramatic to live in your imagination and to act out as a kid. How can you use that dramatic flair of yours to make a point, to get ahead, to add spice to your days? Use your imagination and create that dramatic magic that is still living inside of you.
    3. Ask why as often as you can. How many questions do you ask in a day? Children ask questions constantly because they are not afraid of sounding ignorant. They use the information like Popeye uses spinach. Information empowers them and enables them and strengthens them. As adults we hide our questions for fear of being stared at by everyone in the room or fear of sounding ignorant. Drop the fear, ask the questions. There are no stupid questions. The question not asked is the key not found that could open all the other doors.
    4. Be the cardboard box. According to an article written by Chelsea Greenwood of the website, http://www.success.com/article/think-like-a-child, Alison Gopnik, a professor of philosophy at UC, Berkeley says, “children are designed by evolution to be extremely good learners. They are the research and development division of the human species, and adults are the production and marketing.” How amazing would it be if a simple cardboard box really was the answer to all boredom and limitedness of the adult mind? Get out of the cardboard box adulthood put you into and make something magical happen with it once you are on the outside.
    5. Be relentless. How often do you take your kids to a store to discover that you didn’t even make it passed the welcome sign and you realize you are already counting to 10 just waiting to hear them say, “mom, can we get this”, or “mom, can I get that toy”. They don’t take no for an answer. My youngest has learned a great skill over his short little life, the art of the negotiation. Sometimes when I am feeling weak and overrun I call it manipulation or in today’s terms, bullying, but the truth is he has learned how to negotiate to get what he wants. How many times during the day do you hear the word no when presenting an idea or asking for approval on a project or for a raise? Be relentless in your wants. You believe in what you are seeking so keep seeking until you get that yes. No is not an option.
    6. Be in awe. Too often as adults we are tainted and narrowed by all that we have seen and learned and we choose to put blinders on to all else except what we want to learn and choose to see. Take the blinders off, step way back and be in awe of everything around you. Be the sponge, be the clean slate, be the child that is fascinated with all things unknown and big. Get down on your knees if you have to and look around, look up, look down and change your perspective.

      7. Play : Where did recess go? Public schools hardly encourage recess anymore for fear it will interfere with test taking. The adults of tomorrow are not going to have much to fall back on when they need to harness their imagination because imagination time is being sucked out of their learning. Chelsea Greenwood takes a page from author, speaker and futurist, Jack Uldrich and quotes, “play allows people to practice skills they might need later down the line. Play has consistently been found to reduce stress, increase energy levels, and brighten people’s outlook, increase optimism, and foster creativity.” Start or join the company sports league, start a chess group, bring your guitar to the office and serenade your co-workers during lunch. Play your heart out!

8. Laugh Your Ass Off:: I’m sure you’ve heard this statistic, that children laugh an average of 400 times per day whereas an adult laughs an average of 15 times per day and I must say that the number 15 seems a bit high to me. Have you heard a child laugh lately? You need to because you are missing out on the most out of control, smile inducing, free spirited moment of life, ever. On the website,  http://velutions.com/prankbaskets/zLaughter.htm, it lists several reasons to laugh each day such as “laughter is the best medicine”, not only for adults but for children too. Laughter is good for oxygen intake, reduction of stress, is good exercise, and among many other things is a great bonding mechanism and best of all laughter cuts across all language barriers. Everyone speaks laughter. If you want to learn more about how laughter can increase work flow and be a positive influence at the office please consider reading The Levity Effect by Adrian Gostick and Scott Christopher. If you want to make something contagious, laugh.

It all comes down to this: Kids don’t know to be hard on themselves. They like who they are and they should. Take a page from your own story when you were a kid and BE PROUD OF YOU. Celebrate like the child you still are. That child’s soul is still in there. The only difference is the body got bigger and then therefore so did the expectations. My son was born to a family of average height people. He is 6’2”, which is no big deal except in our family and he always saw his height as a negative. He likes it now, mostly because he can look down on his dad, but he tried to walk smaller and behave smaller because people outside of his family always expected more from him thinking that he was older than his actual age due to his height. That added expectation played havoc on his psyche no matter how we tried to celebrate his individualism. He needed time to grow into all of himself, inside and out, and for the most part so far he has become proud of what he was given and who he is becoming.

Now, repeat after me:

 “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”Edward Everett Hale

It was only you that day when you pulled yourself up from the floor to take your first step. It was only you the moment you climbed those stairs for the first time. It was only you the instant you went from not balancing very well on the bicycle to riding like you were born to ride. It was only you when the puzzle got solved by the thoughts you applied and then made the connection that opened a world of possibilities for more.

Oh, if only we didn’t have to lose so much of the soul of the child inside of us when we grow up. I leave you with this amazing poem by an utterly amazing and talented author who never forgot the child inside, and I wonder: Would any of this poem work for any adult? Perhaps we should take a chance on one of these ideas and just go outside and play, even if it isn’t Saturday…..

“I cannot go to school today”

Said little Peggy Ann McKay.

“I have the measles and the mumps,

A gash, a rash and purple bumps.

 My mouth is wet,

my throat is dry.

I’m going blind in my right eye.

My tonsils are as big as rocks,

I’ve counted sixteen chicken pox.

And there’s one more –

that’s seventeen,

And don’t you think my face looks green?

My leg is cut,

my eyes are blue,

It might be the instamatic flu.

I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke,

I’m sure that my left leg is broke.

My hip hurts when I move my chin,

My belly button’s caving in.

My back is wrenched,

my ankle’s sprained,

My ‘pendix pains each time it rains.

My toes are cold,

my toes are numb,

I have a sliver in my thumb.

My neck is stiff,

my voice is weak,

I hardly whisper when I speak.

My tongue is filling up my mouth,

I think my hair is falling out.

My elbow’s bent,

my spine ain’t straight,

My temperature is one-o-eight.

My brain is shrunk,

I cannot hear,

There’s a hole inside my ear.

I have a hangnail,

and my heart is …

What? What’s that? What’s that you say?

You say today is ………….. Saturday? G’bye, I’m going out to play!”  –Shel Silverstein

 

Call to Action

GO PLAY!!! Find that inner child and kick ass!!

If you would like to explore more about personal growth, building and strengthening your success characteristics, or discovering what more you have inside of you please call for a free discovery session in my Art of YOU coaching program.  Not ready yet? Please visit my website at www.journeyoncoaching.com. You can reach me by calling 203-560-3061 or send an email to: lisa@journeyoncoaching.com.

Feeling Diminished in Your Integrity? 5 Ways to Help You Hold On

 

 

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“If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it.” Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Funny how this pussy willow will never be anything other than what it is meant to be. It’s integrity is in tact and therefore we can count on it to be just as it promised. I like that. Where is your integrity?

What happens when someone you thought was a person of integrity turns out to be someone you instantly learn you cannot trust has no ethical values and doesn’t honor truth?

That is what happened to me recently and it left me with an abandoned, hollow feeling in my gut and in my consciousness. Does this mean that I should put up defenses to everyone in my life? No. It just means that this person I trusted I can no longer trust. Should I stop trusting everyone? No. Each of deserves a chance to start with an “A” and it is up to us to lose that rating.

As a life coach I ask myself how I can affect a moral, ethical mindset if I want to keep this friendship, relationship, workmanship. The quick answer is I can’t. The longer and more introspective answer is to live with integrity myself, always, and be the example. In coaching we call this “walking the walk”.

What is integrity?

Integrity: Adherence to moral and ethical principles; honesty; the state of being whole, undiminished; honorable.

Honor: fairness, distinction, respect, esteem from others and for others.

Grit: firmness of character, pluck, spirit.

“Never esteem anything as of advantage to you that will make you break your word or lose your self-respect.” Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

I love that the word grit lives inside of the word integrity. Grit is hard and specific and energetic and purposeful.  Grit demands hard work and mindfulness. There are no fuzzy lines when grit takes hold of your spirit and actions. If you are by nature a moral, ethical, open-hearted person then integrity and grit are part of your core values. And so is honesty. I don’t think integrity can exist without honesty.

Do you know when you lie or are being dishonest?

Last week there was a story on http://www.today.com/health/woman-journey-quit-lying-1D80070855 about Diane Kaplan, a reporter who challenged herself to tell the truth in every kind of conversation every day. It has now been 2 years and she is still telling the truth.

It wasn’t an intentional decision. I’ve always been a literal person, often to a fault; if I say I’m going to do something, I’ll do it, even if it no longer serves my interests. The reality of doing this (experiment) is that it changes you internally as well. It’s tough to put into words except to say that you feel more pure. You start to like yourself more. You are effectively telling yourself that your actions are motivated by good values.” 

Embellishing and “white” lies are 2 forms of lying and dishonesty and both of those words, when played out mean that you are not living with integrity. I used to embellish when I would re-tell a story simply because by doing so it added “meat” to the story and kept people riveted to what I was saying but I must admit that it didn’t feel very good. I’ve practiced at being more aware of when I feel the need to embellish and for years now I simply tell a story as is, no fancy stuff. Admittedly the story lacks something when told flat out unless something absolutely shocking happened but it’s okay because at least I have lived through something and now have a story to tell.

“Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use your power of your word in the direction of truth and love.” Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom

On the website, http://www.theartofmanliness.com, writers Brett and Kate McKay discuss, in their 4 part series, what it takes to live a life of integrity:

“When a great man falls from grace, we often wonder how he could have ever messed up so royally. The truth is that he didn’t wake up one day and decide to commit an egregious blunder. It started with a little fudging here, a tiny bit of lying there; from there he just kept on sliding down the slippery slope of compromise. Don’t compromise on the little things, and you won’t on the bigger ones.”

So, what are some examples of situations where you find you are feeling diminished or a drain on your integrity? Brett and Kate say:

“Every day we are faced with little decisions that reflect on our integrity.What’s okay to call a business expense or put on the company charge card? Is it really so bad to stretch the truth a little on your resume in order to land your dream job? Is it wrong to do a little casual flirting when your girlfriend isn’t around? If you’ve missed a lot of class, can you tell your professor a family member died? Is it bad to call in sick to work (or to the social/family function you’re dreading) when you’re hung over? Is it okay to pirate movies or use ad block when surfing the web?”

While writing this short post I thought about how I don’t live with the integrity I want to live with. I find that I behave with integrity in most of my life but when it comes to standing up and speaking for myself I am lacking. I allow other people to speak for me in some very important situations. Because of this I find that my goals truly are hard to reach. Just as a side note, yes, I have called in sick to work even though I wasn’t sick. I think the mindset that gets us off the hook for that phone call is called “taking a mental health day.” How we justify our lack of personal integrity is also something to be aware of.

In the face of all of this information now weighing heavily on your conscience (sorry, but I had to write this article), what are some things you can do to start to live a life of integrity?

  1. Along the lines of a pro/con list or a moral code of ethics, create an integrity list or integrity code. Things you will absolutely not do and absolutely will do that honors yourself, others and your ethical and moral veracity. Display this list like you would the Ten Commandments, in a place that you will see it every day.
  2. Where do your personal values live? Finding out your values will act as a guide in helping you stay the course of a life of integrity, honesty, and authenticity.
  3. Get down and dirty. If ever you could practice honesty this is the place, right here, right this minute. Be as honest with yourself as you can be and highlight the areas in your life where you are not living with integrity. Everything about your life and your values starts within you so get to your truth and start to become who you want to see yourself to be.
  4. As the old adage goes, “Tell the truth so that you don’t have to remember what you said.”
  5. Wear your integrity badge of honor for all to see. Just like tying a piece of string to your finger to remind you of something you shouldn’t forget, wear something every day that reminds you of your integrity code.

Is there hope for us mere mortals? There is no such thing as perfect. The best we can hope for is perfectly imperfect with a side of trying like hell. So if you are feeling as if integrity is just too hard to handle here is what Brett and Kate advise:

“Obviously, not everyone who makes one bad choice ends up morally depraved and utterly crooked. Many of us are able to make a single mistake, or even several, but then get back on track again. This is because various conditions not only make it more or less likely that we’ll make that first dishonest decision, but also increase or decrease our chances of turning ourselves around once we start down an unethical road.”

My interpretation of this last statement: Practice makes almost perfect.

“Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.” Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Call To Action: Be honest now…..

How do you tend to embellish when you tell a story? Where is the trigger point?

What does it mean to you to have integrity?

Who do you see when you look in the mirror? Who do you want to see?

In what ways are you a 24/7 honest person? Where else can you improve?

How are you someone others can count on without question or hesitation?

What other ways can you live a life filled with integrity? Please feel free to add to my list; oh and do let me know how you are doing. We can all learn from each other’s successes.

 

If you would like to explore more about personal growth, building and strengthening your success characteristics, or discovering what more you have inside of you please call for a free discovery session in my Art of YOU coaching program.  Not ready yet? Please visit my website at www.journeyoncoaching.com. You can reach me by calling 203-560-3061 or send an email to: lisa@journeyoncoaching.com.