Archive | February, 2011

Why thinking and living like a kid can lead to a happier, more successful life.

25 Feb

Last week, I was confronted by the identical challenge I face every time I attempt to make pasta sauce. 

No, not the fact that I would need to bury the empty jar deep in the recycling bin, to avoid the meaningful looks directed my way by cheffy husband – who can never understand why I don’t just whip up my own sauce.  Pfft.It is the dance of trial and tribulation that ensues every time I attempt to take the top off the jar.  Bloody impossible!! 

I twist it both ways, wringing until my hands are as pink as my face. I then use a tea towel in an effort to assist sweaty sore hands, run the jar under cold, then hot water, bang it on the granite bench and as a last resort mutter a few not-so-niceties about the jar making machine having been designed by some puny-female-hating mean man!

As my efforts become more desperate, I notice one of my darling twin daughters silently observing me.  Approaching me quietly, she places a reassuring hand on my leg (being far too mini to reach my shoulder) and speaks to me with knowing calmness –

“It’s ok mummy. You can do it. I know you can. You just have to believe in yourself.”

How cute is she?  The cutest. Of course.              

I couldn’t help but recognise the familiar words of positive persuasion, borrowed from Winx Club.  Winx Club is an animated Italian television series which we discovered in Canada two years ago.  It follows the adventures of a girl Bloom and her fairy friends, on earth and the Magical Dimension.  Our whole family loves it.  We have taken on individual fairy personas (yes even daddy) and like to spout the theme song, regularly –

Close your eyes,
and open your heart.
Believe in yourself,
that’s how it starts.
Dreams will come true,
just wait and see
Cause the Magic’s in you,
and the magic’s in me!

 Anyway, it got me thinking (in addition to the fact that I really must increase my weights in pump class); about the magical way children view the world.  More specifically, the manner in which their behavior is a timely reminder on how to be more relaxed and present in our lives. 

And so, I present you with the following list of tips for successful living that I have garnered from my children.  Yes, although my girls are aged 4 and 6 – they are budding experts in the area of positive psychology.  Just ask them.   

The list is in no particular order but I dare you to live like a child for a day, or a week, and see how things pan out.  If you don’t feel like you are experiencing more fun, passion, learning and connection with the important people and priorities in your life, you are quite welcome to come and kick my ass!  Well, not mine actually, but my girls.  This is their list after all and I am merely the messenger.

  • Believe in yourself.  Children don’t place limits on themselves the way adults do. They live in a world where anything is possible and nothing cannot be conjured up with a little imagination.  They are fearless and like to take risks.  Tell them they can’t do something and you know they will attempt it, just to prove you wrong.  Don’t doubt yourself before you have even started. Just do it! 

 

  •  Children are passionate, curious creatures.  Be hungry for knowledge and learning like your children.  Ask questions and research the answers in books or the internet. Learn something new every day. Even if it’s a new word or an idea you have been pondering for years.  Knowledge is power and just imagine how powerful your brain will be in a year after absorbing 365 new words or ideas.  You then get to share that knowledge with your kids – plus you will feel a whole lot smarter.

 

  •  Be authentic and genuine.  Children generally see the best in you. They love you unconditionally.  The only masks they wear are those adorned by princesses and super-heroes.  Be yourself. Like yourself.  Respect yourself.  Easy to say and sometimes difficult to do but in the long term, you will feel better inside and people warm to what’s real.

 

  •  Children are open to, and great at, forming relationships. Take them to the park and when you leave 30 minutes later, they are frantically waving farewell to their new ‘bestie’.  Be friendly to the people you meet. Chat with the cashier at your local supermarket and mean it when you say “Have a happy day.” Make eye contact with the other parents at school and smile at your neighbours or people you pass on the street.  Yes, some will think you are a bit of a weirdo but so what….Even if they don’t smile back the first time, I guarantee they will have a better day. Smiles are infectious and they feel good for all parties involved.

 

  • Start your day early and with the gusto of a kid!  Exercise and be energetic. You are allowed to have a cup of coffee first but as you do, smile and ponder over something fun you intend to do today and then make sure you do it!         

         

  • Persist!  Kids are persistent and tenacious. They don’t give up easily.  “Mummy can I have this? “Mummy can I have this? Now can I have it?” Yes, it’s annoying sometimes, but also valuable in a world where after a while, we just start accepting “No” and stop asking for what we really want.

 

  • Children like to touch, explore, observe every detail and inspire connection.  Stop seeing things from the same old and tired perspective.  That’s how our work and personal lives get in ruts – we only see what we are accustomed to and ignore the rest. Remember how you took in every aspect of a new building or face the first time you saw it as a child?  Try and do that as much as possible. You will undoubtedly feel more alert and alive. You may even regain appreciation for something or someone you have been taking for granted.

 

  •  Finally – Celebrate your successes no matter how small.  Every step you take towards learning, creating a positive environment, or mastering a task that has been eluding you for months, indicates growth and progress.  “You learnt how to catch a ball today?  That’s freaking fabulous.”  Tomorrow, world domination!

It’s not only children who grow.  Parents do too.  As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours.  I can’t tell my children to reach for the sun.  All I can do is reach for it, myself.  ~Joyce Maynard

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