01 Jan Children Look Up and Ahead…
Isn’t it amazing how rapidly children grow?
I don’t mean just physically, but developmentally. In only ten short years, they go from having no clue how to tie their shoes to building the robots that might do it for them (did your high school have a sick robotics team like mine?).
They (hopefully) learn to stop being selfish toddlers and transform into gracious gift-giving volunteers.
They go from clumsily tripping over themselves in a fit of tears to standing in the face of adversity to win championships in complex sports.
They may learn how to cook, speak for themselves, travel independently, and work a grinder of a job to become a functioning part of society.
And in just ten years, they do all of this simultaneously.
What have I done in the last ten years?
I’m sure there are a few things you’re proud of, but are they countless? Have you forgotten most of them because they’re as abundant as the lessons from ten years of childhood? The neighbor’s high school kids might have you beat…
What differences exist between adults and children, and could we learn from them to apply strategies to improve our own lives?
First Difference: Authority Figures
Children are surrounded by potential coaches and mentors.
Parents, teachers, friends, friends’ parents and siblings, their own older siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, sport/dance/music coaches, tutors, etc. Basically anyone older than them. The list is extensive!
Children seem to always be accountable to someone else, someone higher than them. They always have a guiding light.
How many adults maintain such relationships deep into their adult life? A special role in adult life is that of an employer, or more specifically, a boss. Unfortunately, I hear more about people hating their bosses than loving them and looking up to them. No longer wearing the student hat, many of the other potential mentor roles in children’s lives simply do not exist in adulthood.
This is precisely why I believe adults need coaches. Lots of them.
Business / career coaches, financial coaches, relationship coaches, leisure hobby coaches, fitness coaches, lifestyle coaches, and happiness / fulfillment coaches all have great potential to enrich your life and hold you accountable and on-track towards wherever you wish to go.
Second Difference: Forward Thinkers.
Children are the best dreamers out there. They look forward to losing their baby teeth, Christmas, their birthdays, first day of school, playing with the big kids, their first kiss, first relationship, entering high school, graduation, going to college, turning 18, turning 21, their first car, their first this…their first that.
The corollary to this is that with all this forward-thinking and anticipation, children have less time to focus on the past. This is facilitated by the simple fact that children really don’t have a past. With a big imagination at five years old, the world beyond age five is just so much bigger than the world behind it. Ages 2-5? Booorrriiinnnggg. Unless of course you’ve only been here a year.
Children are innately excited about the future. They don’t have time for the past. This mentality is one of growth and positive abundance. They’re always looking to “level up.”
How many adults look forward to the future?
It’s all too common for people to dread their birthdays and the passage of time that comes along with them. Plus, with a growing catalog of past experiences, it becomes easier and easier to focus on your history more so than your future, to the detriment of your future development. As an adult, it is natural to know the past better than you know the future, a time and place previously drawn by the colors of your imagination. Maybe adults just stifle their imaginations along the way somewhere…
Here’s one way these differences could play out in an adult’s life.
Many adults leave behind activities their younger selves absolutely loved in the process of “growing up.” For me, I just recently began taking gymnastics classes again, something I loved when I was a kid. For others, it might be music, a particular sport, or doing/learning about something that was special.
From the context of fitness, people often place barriers in front of them when looking to enrich their lives or improve their physical wellbeing. Soccer was a popular sport in my town growing up, and plenty of kids loved to play. Many of them have since stopped playing, but plenty of those kids miss playing and would play again! Unfortunately, when prompted to join an adult league, an all-too-common reaction is to focus on how much time has passed, how out-of-shape they’ve become, and how rusty their skills may or may not be.
Note the focus: it’s pulled magnetically both to the negative aspects, as well as emphasizing the past with no consideration for the future.
A much better mindset would be to think about how many new friends will be made, how much fun it will be to play the game again, how great of a change from the droning monotony of daily life it will be, not to mention how much fitter they will become as a mere consequence of doing something that enriches their lives!
Consider the importance of a coach in guiding you towards your ultimate growth, and focusing your efforts and imagination into the future with positivity.
This is the only way you’ll ensure a tomorrow that makes you forget yesterday.