Let’s be honest. Sometimes we all wish we could think like a child, forgetting our responsibilities and stresses of everyday life. I’m talking elementary school days, where our biggest worries were what game to play at recess and how to do our addition homework. I was looking back at some of my old academic masterpieces from first grade, and wondered where the time had gone.
It was then that I also asked myself, why can’t I bring back some of those qualities and attitudes to my life today in college? We are always told to “act our age” – whatever that means – and be more mature. We have to start thinking about big life decisions such as where we’re going to live after college, what kind of company we want to work for, and how to start a 401k. Isn’t there more to life than that? If you think about what made being a child so great, you can easily find ways to bring some of that childlike happiness, and even productivity, into your own life.
1. Children are creative.
Think about how creative kids are. They have very few inhibitions and none of the tunnel vision of reality that we develop as adults. They think that it’s as easy to be an astronaut as it is to be a professional Lego builder. For our own projects in school and work, if we let ourselves, for a few moments, imagine that anything is possible, we could come up with the most outrageous, unbelievable ideas. We could then start to whittle them down to create products that we never could have if we just “acted like adults” the whole time.
2. Kids are curious.
Kids, as we all know, ask crazy questions. From encouraging this kind of inquisitiveness at a young age, they are told to push boundaries and reality. If adults started asking more crazy questions, they might get weird looks, but they’d probably be more likely to end up with an idea that is out-of-the-box.
3. They’re not afraid of failure.
Children are also not as afraid of failure as much as, say, college students. Granted, failure results in more losses at stake as you get older, but the originality and confidence that comes from not being afraid is incredibly valuable. If you don’t think these concepts are useful, take it from some of the most successful companies in the world, like Google. There’s a growing mentality toward “work hard, play hard.” Sometimes, these two things can happen in the same place. Bigger companies are branching out into smaller, start-up like environments and innovation labs to push their own boundaries. This doesn’t happen without some childlike curiosity.
4. Children know how to play hard.
There’s a reason the Google office is one of the most fun, exciting, and innovative places to work. It’s because they understand that boxing yourself in to your work isn’t as productive as taking some time to chill in a nap pod, race down a slide, or play outside. They also allow twenty percent of their employees’ time to be reserved for side projects.
Even in our personal lives, taking the attitude of a kid can help in so many ways.
5. Kids keep an open mind.
Kids don’t take race or religion into account when they decide who to play with, and they’re not scared to tell someone that they like them – or don’t. It’s not that we should all be totally unfiltered, but we should take a second to think like a child and realize that the things you think are complicated and really important may actually have very simple solutions.
And if you ever think you’ve totally forgotten how to think like a child, go spend time with one! Climb a tree with them, offer to babysit, engage in an intense game of hide and go seek. You’ll not only feel energized, but also ready to take on your challenges at college with, if nothing else, a little bit more optimism and simplicity.
So no, you don’t have to throw tantrums, eat dirt, and fight with your siblings to think like a child. But you can start to think like a child and re teach yourself how to get mad, ask why, be silly, and have fun to get real-world results. Make your class presentations funny, tackle your research projects with weird questions, and go make friends with that girl who doesn’t talk much. And the next time someone says, “act your age, not your shoe size,” you don’t always have to listen. Kids rarely ever do.
Can you think of any other ways it’s beneficial to think like a child? Comment below!
Featured image source: mishmish.org
Comments, Questions & Rants
Anu is a senior at Georgia Tech, studying Economics and Business. Anu loves music, writing, travelling, laughing, learning languages, and being outdoors. At any given time, you can find her watching The Office or laughing at her own jokes. She is super stoked about sharing her thoughts with other college students on Society19!