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.

4 Steps to Becoming an AWE FULL Person

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” –W.B. Yeats

I was sitting in a pastry shop with a new friend I had met just a few days before. We were talking about our businesses, sharing war stories about how we got started and where we hope to take our passions in the future.

We had been talking for about 30 minutes and because we were both engrossed in the conversation we didn’t pay much attention to what was going on around us. Out of what seemed like nowhere a man approached our table. Neither one of us knew this man. The man looked right at my new friend and said, “I don’t know why I feel this way but for some reason I just know that if I were to tell you my strife you would be a great listener.”

Have you ever been a witness to deep, pure honesty, open vulnerability or felt such powerful awe toward another human being?

I was awe struck and silent. I just kept listening to this man tell his story to my friend and watched my friend listen and try to help this man.

I’ve had moments of awe in my life; when my children were born, when I see a rainbow, when something I was baking came out right on the first try, when I am aware enough to be able to recognize a miracle. Never in my life had I been in the presence of someone that, without trying or purpose, positively affected a total stranger just by existing in the same space.

The dictionary defines awe as an emotion that varies between inspiring dread, veneration and wonder. Synonyms include admiration, amazement, astonishment, wonder, wonderment. I think I felt all of those things in an instant.

After having experienced that awe struck feeling in such a powerful way I wanted to understand how to be that kind of person. What would it feel like to positively affect another human being simply because I existed or simply because my positive energy was flowing out toward others? Watching my new friend interact with the man, I noticed that my friend did not seem fazed by a stranger approaching him in that way. Being an outside observer I had to then wonder was my friend immune or becoming immune or just not in touch with his own light or his own positive energy?

“A miracle is often the willingness to see the common in an uncommon way.” –Noah Beshea, Jacob the Baker: Gentle Wisdom for a Complicated World

No. My friend was not immune or becoming immune and I do believe he knew something of his own light. He was being his divine self and honoring his purpose to help someone in need. THAT is awesome. It was a moment of purity, humility, clarity for me, selflessness and just plain honor.

I started searching inside of myself to better understand awe. Words like reverence, trust, humility, integrity, curiosity, grace and authenticity came up.

I think reverence was the strongest of these words. Reverence is the outward manifestation of awe; a gesture indicating deep respect. Reverence honors, respects, esteems, and adores a person or action. I definitely felt all of this in the moment of witnessing the honesty of this stranger as he spoke out loud to my friend. I reached out my hand to touch my friends’ arm because in that moment I was not in control of what I was doing. I had to touch that energy and connect with the reverence I was feeling in that moment.

How sad it is that moments like these are so few or noticed so infrequently that when we are struck by it we immediately take notice of the strange feeling it invokes in us and how we also feel humbled. How amazing it is that we are given the opportunity every day to recognize the awesomeness of those moments when they happen and let the experience seep into our soul. I would hate to take for granted reverent and awe struck moments.

“I never wake up in the morning and wonder why I am here. I wake up and wonder why I am not making here better.” –Jeffrey Fry

I wonder both thoughts actually. Sometimes when life seems to be crashing down around me and I can’t find a single thing that makes me feel good about my existence that’s when I wonder why I am here. But I have to say that most of the time I question every day not so much why I am not making here better but how I can make here better. I think, for me, inside of that “how” question is the humility and reverence I am looking for.

So how can someone keep awe and reverence as part of their humanness? Some people will go directly to religion and some people will just do good works. I like to reflect back on something my mom had said to me as I was growing up, “Never forget what it was like when you were….”.

This one thought is very powerful for me. I have often interjected endings like “when I was 13 years old, or when I was a first time parent, or when I was a business owner.” It doesn’t matter how the thought manifests itself, the point is to always stay in touch with the feeling because that is where your energy and your unique light will shine for someone else to grab onto.

Children are a blank slate. Just about everything they experience is an awesome moment; a wondrous moment. Their own wonderment is what helps their brains grow and expand and inspires their curiosity. Their awe moments push them forward. Have you ever noticed that when children experience understanding in an awe inspired moment, such as the telling of a joke or the sudden impact of emotion at all, that children will immediately look to a parent, grandparent or respected older person for confirmation of their understanding? I noticed that very thing while my kids were growing up. They were in the throes of understanding something they couldn’t understand before and the impact it had on them. They looked to me to see if I “get it” and that we were sharing the same wonderful experience together. That is awe and reverence.

How about as an adult? Do we experience awe moments anymore? Sure we do. Every morning that we wake up and have a chance at this new, clean slate of a day we are blessed with the awesome possibilities that day could bring. What will you notice today? What will catch inside of you to set today apart from yesterday? Where did an awe moment exist for you today?

There is a way to keep awe and reverence alive inside of you even in the throes of a difficult life.

  • Define your moments of awe. Is it a sunset or is it the way a newborn baby curls its fingers around your finger? Is your moment of awe a walk in nature or might it be the way your garden flourishes or the way the bird sings? Stay conscious of your awe moments as they come along.
  • Create moments of awe. If your child laughing takes your breath away then create moments where you just know you will hear your child laugh. If watching your child pray is an awe moment for you then create moments of prayer wherever possible. Attract to yourself that which will enhance your attention to magical, mystical, awe inspiring life moments. You attract to you that which you put your attention to, energy to and focus to. This could be negative or positive. Choose your attention, energy and focus wisely and thoughtfully.
  • Slow down. Awe moments happen most often when we are not paying attention to them. Notice when you are “caught” in the majesty of an awe moment. You’ll know it right away because your breath will change, your senses will prickle and your mind will instinctively know that this moment you are in, as fleeting as it is, is something special. Honor it as best you can. Let it sink deep into your soul. Pass along the feeling to anyone who would be interested in hearing the story.
  • Consider the health benefits. Studies are now finding that a sense of awe throughout our lives has a positive affect on our health.
  • Time. It will take time to create a habit of recognizing and celebrating awe moments. Allow the time to work its magic. One fine day you will realize that the miracles and awe you become aware of were not something you set out to recognize. It just became a part of your everyday activity and your life will seem quite miraculous. AWESOME!

Call to Action

Try these 4 tips over a 2 month time frame. Tell me how awe and reverence has increased in your life. What have you noticed, what has been magnified in your view of your life? What have other people noticed about you that make them want to share your new perspective, new energy, or new light?

If you would like to explore more about personal growth, creating awe moments, or discovering what more you have inside of you please call for a free discovery session in my Art of YOU coaching program. You can reach me by calling 203-560-3061 or send an email to: lisa@journeyoncoaching.com.

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