I woke up so pumped!!
It was Christmas which meant one thing, Santa had been, Santa had gone but more importantly, Santa had left presents! This was going to be such an awesome day!
OMG!! A new rugby ball! YES!! “Yo! Let’s go play touch outside!” The day went by in a blur of fun, food & wander. It starts raining later in the afternoon and as mum calls us in we pretend not to hear her. Can she not see there are puddles to jump in!
Life could not be any better and as the day winds down I can’t help but fall asleep with a smile.
I dream throughout the night. Dreams of one day becoming a pilot, an astronaut, a firefighter, a fashion designer, a president or a famous writer. Dreams that I intend to live with my eyes open. As the sun creeps above the horizon and strikes my still face, I hit snooze on my alarm and hold onto any last feeling of hope.
I wake up disappointed, my dreams are not my reality. Immediately I feel that creeping sensation of anxiety. I have so much to do today, so many deadlines to make, so many emails to send & not too mention Beccy still hates me. It’s not my fault her husband kissed me at the Xmas party!
The day goes slowly as I spend my time wishing I was someone else & dwelling on past mistakes that had led me to this depressing state of affairs. The only thing that keeps me going is the thought of binge watching Game of Thrones while cramming my face with ice cream.
What happened? Just 10 years ago the world seemed so exciting and so promising! What lessons did I fail to carry with me as I became an adult? What have I forgotten from my youth?
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What changes as we get older? Why do we feel as if we need to give up the sense of wander, excitement & freedom we treasure so deeply as children? Why do we feel driven to avoid our dreams and pursue money and power?
At what point do we stop believing in things just because they have no scientific backing? When do we start blaming the world instead of taking control of our own destiny? Why the f*ck do we stop jumping in puddles!?
Just like you I gave up a lot when I finally decided to put on my adult pants. As I learn more about life (the lesson no school wants to teach us) I find myself re-learning many of the lessons I gave up when my childhood came to a close.
Here are 10 life lessons we can learn from children. My challenge to you… don’t just read them… Apply them to your life.
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01 - Nothing Is as Important as Today!
Kids have this amazing ability to just live in the moment. So what if I had a fight with Pete yesterday? Who cares if tomorrow is the most stressful day of the year? Right now it’s sunny and I just arrived at the beach!
As we grow older we struggle to enjoy the present, we consider the outcomes of a future that has yet to play out. Anxiety about what may/may not be cripples our ability to just enjoy the simple fact that we are awake and alive.
As adults we replay moments in our past over and over again focusing on the mistakes that occurred rather than treasuring the moments we had. Depression of our past failings prevents us from taking control of the day in front of us and achieving the tasks that really matter. The tasks that will one day help us reach our true goals and give us a real and lasting sense of purpose and happiness.
Remember that nothing is as important as today!
02 - Dream a Little Dream. Live it With Your Eyes Open!
When do we exchange our true dreams for the invisible contract of life? When do we decide that money is far more important than purpose and passion? When do we decide that decades of uninspiring, soul crushing work is worth the juicy pay cheque?
Why do we wait until it feels to late to pursue our dreams?
As children we dream of the things we truly want to be as an adult. These dreams are often big ambitious ideas that we see as achievable. When adulthood strikes we are scared away by those who aim to drag us down. That will cost to much money? How will you be able to save for a house if you travel the world? What if you fail? Your Dreaming mate get a job that pays the bills!
Kids don’t let that bullsh*t drag them down. Who has time for people who say no when there are dreams to see with your eyes open?
Dream a Little Dream. Live it With Your Eyes Open!
03 - Tell it How it is! Express How You Truly Feel.
Ever had a conversation with a kid and felt yourself taken aback by how honest they are? Why are you so stunned? Do you find it odd that as we become adults we decide to stop telling others how we truly feel?
Kids don’t care if there feelings may temporarily make others uncomfortable. Kids understand the importance of being honest with how they truly feel. Adults choose instead to hide true feelings to avoid momentary conflict or to hide any potential weaknesses.
The more we lie, the more we hide our true feelings and the more we worry about how we may be perceived by others. The further we get from achieving our goals & the more we distance ourselves from the people we want to attract/the experiences we want to have.
Tell it How it is! Express How You Truly Feel.
04 - Why So Serious?
The Joker is a famous villain in the DC comic world and Batman’s arch nemesis. While Batman plays the role of a brooding, depressed adult trying to find his purpose in life the Joker chooses instead to laugh at his failures, triumphs, limitations or grand misfortunes.
Now let’s not forget that the Joker is a murderous psychopath hell bent on destroying the lives of others! Please don’t go Joker level crazy. The lesson I am trying to draw out of this comparison is to stop taking life so damn seriously.
There are moments when we need to be serious but there are far more moments where laughter is appropriate. We worry about everything as adults! We worry about buying a house, settling into a career, making a deadline, having enough money to retire or finding someone to love.
F*ck! We even worry about worrying too much! Kids choose instead to worry less & laugh more.
Why So Serious?
05 - Get Over it! Forgive and Move Forward.
Kids don’t have time for grudges and meaningless feuds, after all there are dreams to be created and of course… puddles to jump in and laughs to be had!
Stop reliving past wrongs and stop holding onto hatred or anger for those that have wronged you in the past. If someone brings you down then just stop interacting with them.. Simple. Forgive whatever it is that was done and choose to move forward with your life surrounding yourself with people that build you up.
Get Over it! Forgive and Move Forward.
06 - Stay Curious. Find Pleasure in Learning.
If you have kids of your own then you have probably noticed how curious they are about everything. How does this work? Why did he do that? Where do baby’s come from? Children manage to associate great pleasure with learning and have no fear asking about something they know nothing about.
Two lessons can be drawn from staying curious:
-Don’t let your adult ego get in the way of asking about something you know nothing about. You are weaker for not admitting weakness.
-Keep your mind engaged and never stop discovering new things!
Stay Curious. Find Pleasure in Learning.
07 - Don’t Let Fear Hold You Back!
Kids do crazy sh*t! They hurt themselves, they eat dirt & they experiment with new things. Along the way they learn valuable lessons but they still don’t let fear stop them from attempting the things that spark their curiosity.
Social media, negative ‘friends,’ the internet & death slowly destroy our sense of adventure, wander & curiosity. We allow our fears to control our lives & most of the time these fears are based on bullsh*t.
Why not travel to those countries that spark your creative curiosity? Why not pursue your passion and work as a janitor on the side while you start your dream business? Why not tell that girl you love her? Why not tell your friends your gay? Why do you stay in that relationship with a husband that no longer inspires you?
Fear! Fear of having no money. Fear of what others might think of you. Fear of being alone. Fear of failure or even a fear of success.
Fear crushes our hopes and dreams faster than a fly swat disintegrates an unsuspecting bug! Kids don’t let fear get in their way, and neither should we. Acknowledge your fear, face it & then push forward!
Don’t Let Fear Hold You Back.
08 - Be Silly and Play!
‘Ahhh!! I have to go to the gym.’
When did being active become a chore? Didn’t you used to love running around chasing your friends? Wasn’t wrestling with your bro fun? How funny was it when you chased Harry across the field because he was afraid of girl cooties?
Oh ok.. So your an adult now.. You can’t play because adults don’t play, it’s way more fun to be serious all the time and run on a treadmill while watching kids run around outside. BULLSH*T! Being silly and playing is always fun & it makes us feel young at heart.
It seems that we re-discover this at 65 when retirement is looming. Here’s an idea - Just stay silly and play your whole life. Play games, giggle about stupid things, be your own version of weird & jump in that damn puddle!
Be Silly and Play!
09 - Get Your Nails Did Gurrrrl!
‘Hey mum… Can I have an ice cream?’
Kids love treats, especially if they are well deserved (all depends on good parenting of course). If a kid sees a triple scoop banana split on the menu then they are 100% not going to think twice about getting it. As adults we seem to question every decision we make based on what other might think of us.
Life is all about balance but it is definitely OK to treat yourself and it is 100% OK to be happy with the body you have and the person you are! If you feel as if you deserve that ice cream then f*cking get it! Don’t for one moment care what others may think of your choice, just enjoy that treat!
Feel like you need some me time? Then book that spa, go out for that drink or say yes to a date with that sexy Colombian guy you met at the bar. Feel like buying a new toy bro? Then take this as a sign and go treat yourself.. it’s OK.
Get Your Nails Did Gurrrl!
10 - Get Outside and Wander!
As a kid you are never too busy to get outside and climb a tree or get lost with your head in the clouds as you explore a new section of the city. So why should that change as an adult?
Oh right… Your too busy. May I ask, busy doing what? Stressing about what you need to do? Scrolling social media and wishing your life was like John & Rita’s? Sending an email about an email that still needs to be emailed but you haven’t sent the email yet because you have been writing this email about sending the other email! Phew! Take a breath after that sentence!
Here is the point - You are not to busy to get outside from time to time and just wander & explore. Go travel to a crazy country or spend three days hiking in the mountains. If that still seems like too much time then simply walk through the city and look up at the amazing feats of architecture.
Put your phone down. Shut out all the noice and get outside. Chances are you will return in a much more productive state & achieve all the tasks that actually had to be done. You might also realise that being ‘busy’ all the time is just an excuse you have constructed in your head. An excuse to procrastinate and avoid the tasks that actually need to be done.
Get Outside and Wander!
Embrace your inner child!
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Life is Great. Travel is Better.
Paulo & Jacques.