Being Like a Kid Again: Opening Yourself Up to Unlimited Possibilities
I recall Randy Pausch, of “The Last Lecture”, describing how his parents let him unleash his creativity as a child. They let him loose onto their home, including drawing on the walls and building whatever he wanted in his bedroom. He said that because of this, he was able to grow into an adult with the same mindset and take more risks, even if he failed. He truly lived his childhood dreams.
I wonder how many people have lived their childhood dreams.
As most people grow up, they’re told to start acting like an adult and stop dreaming. And to stop living. Yes, I was one of those kids. When that happens and we’re told “no” over and over, it affects our self-esteem. And no, self-esteem can’t be given. It has to be earned by the challenges we face, including allowing ourselves to fail. Parents, teachers and others in society have taken this away from children. Even the so-called self-esteem movement of the 1980’s failed to understand true self-esteem. Telling a child how special he or she is does not produce self-esteem.
Recently, I went into a Toys-R-Us store in Porter Ranch, CA. I watched as young children were happily engaged in play. Their eyes opened wide as they went from one toy to another. And guess what? I started to do the same thing. I went to different toys, including some of the building stuff and thought about getting one to play with. I recall the movie “Big” starring Tom Hanks and how he was a child trapped in an adult version of himself. He acted like a kid, especially when he was in a toy store. I also remember how the adults loved watching him as an adult act like kid and wishing they could as well.
This got me wondering. The magic in life is really in the dreams we had as children and were too scared to bring them forward falsely believing we would look silly.
Through the years I would teach my clients and those in my audience to live their life like a child would, except with adult responsibilities. This included taking more chances and more risks. As an adult, we can calculate the level of risk and learn to minimize them. Yet, risking is part of us in order to grow. Much like our 3-year-old selves did.
Think about it, when we were babies and toddlers, our brains at the time was taking in a tremendous amount of information. Our younger selves didn’t think that when we fell that we were risking anything. We simply just explored and learned. We grew. We kept learning and learned how to thrive because of the feedback. We kept going and challenging our boundaries.
So what the heck happened?
Well, society happened. Our well-meaning parents stopped us because they thought we would hurt ourselves. They told us “no” many times over. They explained that we should do this or that. It was the same thing with our schools and politicians. Vishen Lakhinani, founder of Mind Valley and author of “The Code of the Extraordinary Mind”, came up with a great word for this, “brules” or “bullsh*t rules.” Our parents parroted what they were told and parroted their brules. Even religion spouted out brules. As children, we followed along and soon learned that to be the person we were truly meant to be was wrong. So we stopped growing and conformed to these brules. We adopted these brules. As we grew older, we learned more brules from the companies we worked for. We kept conforming.
I’ve seen too many people, including some of my friends and family stuck in their life. I know that they had dreams that went unfulfilled. They still go by their brules to this day.
I talked to a client and mentioned about unleashing oneself in the best way and then it hit me. Being a kid again was the way. What I mean is not being childish and throwing temper tantrums (as we did in our “terrible twos”). The focus is to be more childlike with all the wonder and amazement that comes from what we once had.
Imagine being a kid going into a toy store and being allowed to explore, express and do whatever you want. This includes being as creative as possible or more. Heck, being unlimited and going past the boundaries that mentally exists in your mind. If you were a 3-year-old child, what do you think you would do in that toy store and there were no one telling what you can or can’t do?
Here is the truth, right now you have that. Right now you have a world of unlimited possibilities. You can live your dreams from your childhood or even your dreams right now. Want to know what stops you? Those darn brules! Yes, they are embedded in your subconscious mind. Filed away and telling yourself that you’re not good enough or our family has never done that or you don’t come from the right environment or you’re woman or too old or too young or the wrong color. Those are freaking bullsh*t rules folks!
What can you do to start living your dreams?
1. Replace brules with your own rules in life. Create a list of rules that will help to govern your actions towards your dreams.
2. Take action every day towards a worthy mission. Keep taking action, because movement keeps you from succumbing to brules.
3. Surround yourself with supportive people who are also living their dreams.
4. Allow yourself to make mistakes. Mistakes are how we learned as a child and its how we learn as an adult. Keep taking risks and stop caring what others may think.
5. Read more, including biographies of those who defied brules and created their own path.
6. Get mentors who can help guide you and keep you going, even when the going gets tough.
7. Believe in yourself!
I wish you a life of fulfilled dreams and one of a worthy mission. Dream big! Go live yours now. And don’t let others dictate how you should live your life (except when it comes to illegal activities, which you won’t do).
Be like a kid again! Be silly! Allow yourself to play! And dream!