I came across an interesting concept as I was reading Sir Ken Robinson's book The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything. In a chapter he titles Is It Too Late? he discusses the plasticity of our brains and discusses the learning that takes place in our early lives. When specifically discussing language he states,
"Babies don't learn to speak by instruction. They learn by imitation and inference."
This section made me think immediately of my 7 month old daughter and how she is developing and made me realize that the pace of growth that she is progressing at puts my growth to shame. Everything she does is learning - how to function in life, to use her body, her voice, pains and tiredness, discovering new people, and knowing what to do to get what she wants (which she's getting scary good at). She is discovering new things every day.
Taking this concept, I concluded that there are many things that our young ones can teach us about how to have a more fulfilling life. But first, a couple great videos!
Kids are filled with curiosity
Kids are constantly wondering about things they see, think, and feel. For our daughter Gwen, there was about a week where numerous times throughout the day we would see her just staring at her hand. She would move her fingers, move her hand back and forth, then try to gouge her eyes out. As kids get older there are various stages, the get-into-everything stage, the 'why' stage, the ever dangerous boys/girls-are-starting-to-get-interesting phase. Curiosity propels them each and every day to figure things out. These times of discovery last with us forever, popping up every once in a while as nostalgia, remembering what it was like to ride a bike for the first time, or when we summoned enough courage to ask that girl to dance.
Somewhere along the line, we lose (or have taken from us) that sense of curiosity, feeling like our value lies in knowing things. This is a mistake. William Arthur Ward stated, "Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning." By losing our curiosity, we will never be able to gain the kind of knowledge we need to succeed in finding our passions.
Kids aren't afraid of failure
Curiosity leads to all sorts of escapades - some good, some bad, most great if you're able to get them on camera. Kids will try almost anything, say almost anything, and do it over and over again. You only have to observe a child attempting to walk to realize that no matter how many times they fall down, they're going to get up and try it again. Again, as we grow older and start to "know" more about the world, fear creeps in and we stop doing things because we think we'll fail. We are creatures that like to take the easy route. Inside our brains, that easy route spots more obstacles and reasons not to do something. Our kids learn so well because they don't care about how they look or what other people think. This trait would help so many people, and is essential in finding your passion in life
If necessary, cry it out
Many may be thinking, 'But kids get hurt, they cry, they get into trouble, etc.' You are right. However, you are wrong in the fact that this is a negative thing. Children generally get over things quickly, they have a quick cry, they get consolation, and they move on. I'm noticing an epidemic of self pity in our society today and as one who is at times stricken with it, I know very personally how destructive it can be to get into the habit of dwelling on failures. In small doses, a good cry can be beneficial. Prolonged pity, however, creates a cycle of negativity that stops you dead in your tracks. There is nothing wrong with getting hurt because you took a chance, or a small amount of trouble. In our failures we learn valuable lessons that can't be learned by reading, thinking, or any other thing but experience. Sometimes those lessons do hurt, but if we are ever going to be fulfilled by our passion, we must learn to get over things quickly and keep moving forward.
Be curious, don't be afraid to fail, and if necessary cry it out and move on. These are things I'm trying to do in my own life in order to increase my rate of my learning. Going back to the quote that started this all, Brian Tracy reenforces this entire concept and brings is full circle. Our curious, not-afraid-to-fail mindsets will allow us to imitate with just as much success as our kids.
My name is Brian and I have a voice and something valuable to say. I'm on a quest to discover myself and the world around me. Join me and together we can do good in the world.