Put yourself in the mind of your six-year-old self. What happens is that your imagination comes to life, coloring outside the lines becomes the norm, and you even see the world from a different perspective, both physically and mentally. Now, when someone at work asked you to help them brainstorm or solve a problem, invite your six-year-old self to the table.
Yep, I tap into my grade-schooler self quite often. Here are four traits on how he benefits me:
Albert Einstein said, "The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing." Children aggressively take this advice like they do full-sized candy bars on Halloween. Kids question everything. A bit rough for the adults in their lives, but good for them!
It was curiosity among other things that sent our United States astronauts to the moon, and keeps us intrigued about the workings of our brains, the creatures at the depth of the oceans, and the yet unknowns of deep space. Even the discovering of America was a result of the curiosity and boldness of Christopher Columbus and others.
Curiosity begets inspiration, which in turn produces insights; insights lead to ideas and then on to inventions. In short, curiosity is the catalyst to invention.
As a kid, I used to run around barefoot in the sunshine, build forts, climb trees, and come home only when dinner was ready. Since I was so active, it made me healthier. I rarely got sick, I healed quickly, and I was in many ways a tougher version of my current self. If I met myself today, I couldn’t keep up!
Physical exercise comes naturally to many kids, so, in the mind of my six-year-old self, I get out there more often. I ride my mountain bike through the dirt trails, I sign up my non-runner self for 5K runs, and I climb trees with… well, my wife won’t let me climb trees anymore. Fine, I’ll play in the snow with my daughters when the season hits.
In one simple study by Jubilee Media, they asked adults and children one question: “If you could change one thing about your body, what would it be?” The individual adults mentioned things like, having smaller ears, wanting to be a bit taller, shrinking the size of forehead, and help to correct their walk.
The kids were asked same question, but answered quite differently. Some would like a mermaid tail, a shark mouth, legs like a cheetah, wings to fly. Cool huh? One little lady said she’d like to have teleportation. TELEPORTATION! Me too! And a couple of them said nothing. Meaning, they wouldn’t change anything, because they liked their body the way it is. Talk about confidence!
Kids are brilliant brainstormers. Why? Because they challenge normal thought and they are naturally creative and solution-driven. I challenge us to invite our inner-kid into the room more often. We may just find that cure or solve that issue or invent that product, much faster than if we let only the adults weigh-in.
Vegas, baby, Vegas! When was the last time you played it by ear and just hopped in the car and took off? Imagine leaving the house without plans, like neighborhood kids do - the wonder that might develop in our adult minds. I’m intrigued just making that statement. I did that quite often, especially when I was in my teens and twenties. I lived moment by moment.
Today, I often weave within my storytelling, some of those moment-by-moment examples from my youth. I do still live like that, only in much smaller doses. And those doses are some of the best experiences in my life. The memories are beautiful - getting lost with my wife on a hike, taking a new road and two days across multiple states rather than flying, and challenging myself to write a thriller novel. These are some that come to mind.
That six-year-old will always be with you, and he’s brilliant in many ways. Personally, I make sure he shows up often in certain situations at work, on the weekends, when I’m exercising, and when I’m with friends. Although the kid needs to be tamed at times, because he’ll periodically move into the conversation when I’m with my wife, clearly defining for her that there’s now a third child in the house.
Every now and then, let’s invite our six-year-old self out to play, to explore, and to ask crazy questions - and we’ll be surprised how fast she can build a rocket ship that’ll take us to the stars.
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