What is to be Child Like
A friend sometime back remarked that I am a child who wants to try everything:) I reflected deeply on this, in my usual way.
How often we forget a childlike sense of wonder, excitement about learning something new, sense of exploration, willingness to trust, love, play and discover. Easy and frequent delight in how things and people are.
Life and its stressors catch up and we forget what it is to be childlike. We try to stifle our childlike traits as we grow and step into different phases of life. Either we think they will make us seem immature or people in our environment plant this in our head that being like a child is immature. Society defines how we behave and act.
My last 10 years have been transformative and my growth as a person has been phenomenal. I have faced many challenges during this growth phase, battled things on my own with little outside support. One thing that made me win one challenge after the other has been my childlike curiosity, imagination, sense of excitement and never giving up spirit. Being more childlike helps us to be more creative, imaginative, innovative, and open to worlds of possibilities.
We can learn a lot from Children and based on my learning, sharing some childlike traits which I exhibit often 😊
1.Curiosity. Be curious. Try waking up to the sunrise, wonder about the ever-changing colour of the sky. How sunrise is different every day. Look at things with a child’s eye, and ask questions, even if you think they are mindless. Check with my seniors in Faith. How much I torment them with mindless questions about faith. Their non-response doesn’t deter me 😉
2.Explore. Explore the world and your surroundings with a beginner’s mind. More you explore, more clarity and understanding will emerge. Don’t be afraid to ask why, and what if, and why not? I love travelling and exploring. I carry this beginner’s mind and love to connect with people from all walks of life, explore other cultures, see different ways of life. If one can afford or plan well, I highly recommend investing in travel. It teaches you much more than any textbook will teach you.
3. Live in the present. A child has no worries. They live in the present. Experience joy in simple things. During summer breaks in my time, there was no Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, to entertain us. Simple things like playing in mud, making mud houses, cycling, reading, making school projects used to give me high and keep me happy. When I was playing, then I was fully into playing.
4.Be Imaginative. I have always been a creative person and my school activities ensured I hone my creative skills as I graduated from one grade to another. Whether it was making my newspaper like Times of India or writing imaginative micro essays for a school magazine, writing a visual story with dialogues in German or making periscope.
This trait of mine has helped me immensely in my professional journey, especially my solopreneur journey. Out of the box, ideas couldn’t have been possible without creativity and letting my imagination run wild.
Food for thought: The amazing video games we see or gadgets which we use daily to make our lives easier wouldn” have been possible without this inventive spirit and imagination.
5.Accepting people as they are. As a kid, I embraced people without judging them. I could walk to strangers and say Hi. Of Course, as I grew, judging came easy and accepting that each one of us is unique like Cherry, Plum and Peach became a challenge.
6.Generosity. This is something my mom taught me. Whenever we used to travel, we would buy souvenirs for our Neighbours/family friends. And that’s how I got into the habit of getting small Knick knacks for school friends. Till date whenever I travel, I make it a point to buy souvenirs for my friends and neighbours. The circle has just expanded 😉 This is my way of conveying to my friends and people in my environment that I love them, and they have a special place in my life and heart.
Apart from it, my dad very early on taught me to allocate at least 1% of earnings for supporting a charity of my choice. I saw him donating to Lok Kalyan Samiti for eye surgeries every year around Diwali, year on year without fail.
As I became Financially Independent, I started donating my time also to support causes closest to my heart, like volunteering with Greenpeace and Goodwill tribe. Greenpeace fights for environment and Goodwill tribe writes letters of encouragement to the vulnerable population who needs human connection. Time, for most of us, is a scarce commodity, donating our time and skills is great for showing generosity.
7.Being Believers. I was born 2 days after Christmas; Christmas is a very special 😊 to me. Till date I believe in the magic of Christmas and Santa Claus. Today I am the Santa to many people in my environment and like Santa I love to spread joy, hope, happiness… make feel loved and appreciated.
As a kid I used to believe in magic, mystical creatures, had imaginary friends. As I grew, I tried rationalizing all this. We know there is no Santa. Should it stop us from believing in miracles or Santa? Look around, magic is in the surrounding nature. I find sunrise so mesmerizing and magical. We don’t always need an explanation for everything. Sometimes we should just accept it as supernatural and magical and stop trying to reason everything logically.
8.Expressing Love. As a kid, my favourite way of expressing my love for my folks, teachers and friends was making cards and gifting flowers. Thankfully, I haven’t let life’s stressors take away from me this special trait. Though I have observed as we grow, we try to suppress our feelings and stop being expressive. We complicate things and hesitate to tell our loved ones how much we love them.
9.Dream Big, regardless of your Age. Age is just a number. Be fearless and dream big, however audacious it may seem. Life is too short to dwell on past mistakes and worry about failing again. If you fail again today, try again tomorrow. Failure and life challenges are the best Teachers. Hoping for the best and deciding to be fearless will help spur you to dream big regardless of where you are in your life now.
Over the years I have accepted none of my friends are like me, Childlike 😉, share same enthusiasm. My advice to them on how to be childlike is something like this:
- Acknowledge. Change is hard. Take baby steps. Start by identifying the qualities of children you like to emulate curiosity, play, living in the moment, imagination, creativity, pure joy.
- Observe children. Have friends in all age groups. I have a lot of friends in age group of 7-14. I encourage my friends to make friends in this group. They will teach you a lot about life.
Watch how they play, how they live, how they create, how they ask questions. Play with children. If you have some of your own, great. If not, play with children of friends and family. Lose yourself in the play. Have a joyous time. Make them squeal in delight and do the same yourself.
My Nano junior friends Kyraa, Vihaan, Akshitie and Advitie have seen this side 😉
- Play by yourself. Go outside and run around, jump, take a swing, kick a ball around, pretend. Don’t worry about what people would think 😉
- Create like a child. Don’t limit yourself to people’s expectations. Be wild and have fun. Imagine that things can be different, that there are no limitations, and see what happens. Worst-case scenario, people will toss your childlike doodles into the bin.
Childlike Sense of Wonder can help when life throws curveballs, be it loss of a job in my case, financial ruin, or health issues. When going gets tough, thinking of living a bold life is far from our mind. A childlike wonder can go a long way in finding the bright side in challenging times. I always find hope and positive things in such times when others would see nothing.
I read somewhere how Albert Einstein, throughout his life, kept intuition and awe of a child. He never lost his sense of wonder at the magic of nature’s phenomena-magnetic fields, gravity, inertia, acceleration, light beams-which grown-ups find so commonplace. Because Einstein maintained his childlike sense of wonder, he developed his curiosity and ventured into the unknown that yielded his most notable discoveries in science.
“To be more childlike, you don’t have to give up being an adult. The fully integrated person can be both an adult and a child simultaneously. Recapture the childlike feelings of wide-eyed excitement, spontaneous appreciation, cutting loose, and being full of awe and wonder at this magnificent universe.” –Wayne Dyer
I am happy that even in my 43rd year, I can live in the moment, have fun with small things like the new gadget on my desk, or experiment with my camera to click every angle in my room, showing the same naughtiness as I used to exhibit as a kid. My childhood friend Aditi, even after all these years, maintains that Salt &Pepper Rashi still has that twinkle in her eyes as Rashi 30 years ago 😊 I like to remain that way. Age is just a number. I won’t let age define me 😊