What if acting like a baby was the way to success?
I spent the day with my 10 months old nephew today. Actually I did not spend the day WITH him, I spent the day OBSERVING him. And I learned quite a lot. The way he lives his life is amazing. He is at the top of his world. He is so successful in his world. What if we applied in our own world what my nephew does in his?
He does not ask, he takes.
Babies do not wait for life or people to handle them stuff. They take it. Are you talking on the phone carrying the baby? He takes it. Are you reading the newspaper with him next to you? He grabs it. Did he saw something on the floor he wants to explore? He gets down, go and look for it.
My nephew does not care about what people around him feel about him taking what he wants and exploring. He does not care if people are looking, if they will get mad or be proud of him. He does exactly what he wants to do. He explores everything around him without seeking permission from anyone.
Let’s transpose this situation into our adult life. What if we did not seek permission or approval from anyone before doing what we really wanted to do? What if, just like babies, every time we see something we want to know about, we get down from our pedestal made of fear, pride and laziness to go and learn from it/about it? We would have been shameless encyclopedia, great adventurers, people of no fear.
He will make you listen when he has something to say.
Have you ever tried to watch something or listen to anything with a baby around? It is absolutely impossible. Today is Sunday. I wanted to listen to Archives d’Afrique on RFI’s podcast. I do so every Sunday. What I was planning to listen was particularly interesting, it was about the Nigeria-Biafra war.
Impossible to get a full sentence. My nephew was talking. He is not even talking yet, so he was babbling. And I had to listen. I tried everything: I asked him to shut up, I tried to bribe him with toys, I gave him my phone… nothing worked. NOTHING. I had to listen. And I eventually did. I shut down the tablet, sat on the bed, faced him and listened attentively. At some point I even started answering him, and we had a great conversation.
Adults shut their mouth when they are asked to do so. The level of importance of what they have to say does not matter. If a superior/elder asks us to shut up, we automatically and systematically shut up. Why? We end up frustrated, with a heavy heart, just because we did not have the courage to tell the person in front of us “I listen when you have something to say. Now it is my turn. Sit down, listen to me, do not hesitate to give your opinion, to answer, and let’s have a great conversation”.
Life with our entourage would have been so much better if our ideas and opinions mattered enough to us for us to communicate them no matter what.
He learns from experience.
Babies do not care about advice, about people telling them what is dangerous for them. They do not care. They try and get burnt. All the time.
I told my nephew he should not hold my phone up when lying on his back because it could fall on his face and hurt him. I told him several times. I even took the phone but he insisted (screamed at the top of his lungs) I should give it back to him. So I did. He held it up and it fell on his face. He cried. And he stopped doing that.
Most of the time, when someone tells us not to do something, we just don’t. Is “don’t do it” enough reason to give up on what we really want to do? We may get burnt if we try, but is it not a good thing to be hurt by failure for a few minutes rather than regretting for the rest of our life the fact that we never tried?
My nephew did not stop holding and playing with my phone after he got hurt. He held it a different — safer way for him. He never stopped doing what he wanted, he adapted. That is something else we lack as adults : the resilience to adapt. We abandon everything that seems dangerous without exploring ways to benefit from it some other way.
He knows when it is time to rest.
Babies do not care where they are, who is watching, and what can happen. When they are tired they sleep. They could be in the middle of a game, a meal, or a “conversation”: they do not care. If they are tired they sleep, and when they get up refreshed, they resume their life exactly where they left it before shutting down everything.
Adults think they will loose something precious if they sleep. They think they will loose time, minutes or hours they will never get back. But resting is essential, and life can be resumed when we get up. Nothing will change or collapse. Babies know that, we should learn from them.
The list could have been longer since I learned so much from my nephew today, but I will stop there. 4 points are enough for a post. I invite you guys to spend a few hours around a baby. I am sure you will notice more interesting stuff than I did.
Reach me on Ask.fm, I am ready to answer each and every question asked to me.
Hello, my name is Befoune, and I talk about citizen participation and empowerment in my country, Cameroon, on the platform Elle Citoyenne. My dear friend Tchassa Kamga and I created the publication Self-Ish to share our experience in self improvement, content creation and what we call human relationships.