As children, we envied adults and thought we couldn’t grow up fast enough. Adults praised us when we behaved a bit more mature for our age or dazzled them with precocity. And as we transitioned into adulthood, we had to repress many of our childlike traits. It was the toll demanded.
As adulthood introduced bills and responsibilities, we gradually abandoned our childish ways in response. Due to that, many adults lost some of the childlike qualities required to improve their lives as they grow older.
Unless discouraged by adults, children will exhibit traits like curiosity, imagination, openness, tenacity, honesty, receptiveness, experimentation, kindness, playfulness, humor, etc.
Children ask questions and are open to learning. They make up complex stories and invite others into these fictional worlds. They spend hours tinkering and are not afraid to ask for help when attempting to figure something out. They are kind and honest to a fault. They find many things funny and seek out new experiences. They accept changes without getting defensive.
Very few adults keep these traits. We give them up out of fear that others would perceive us as naive, weak, or incapable. We become inflexible and often defend our views even in the face of disconfirming information. We do not ask enough questions and avoid situations that might expose our ignorance.
Children relish taking things apart and sometimes they manage to put them back together. They want to know how things work. Innovation requires experiment and those who are intolerant of mistakes won’t flourish.
Adults are too frightened to say they do not know and eventually end up not knowing. Oftentimes, people will go out of their way to help you if you show an eagerness to learn. Ignore people who, instead of pointing you in the right direction, will shame you for not knowing.
To thrive in tomorrow’s world, we have to live like children again.