As Bill Cosby taught us, kids say the darndest things. But they also offer wisdom well beyond their years. As adults, we have had years of filtering, of being politically correct, of literally learning to shelter our opinion. We’ve learned not offend anyone or worse, make a fool of ourselves. We focus on what we are good at and what we can do, unlike a child who literally believes they can be anything. And while many of us won’t end up being or doing what our five-year-old version wanted us to, there are lessons to be learned from the innocence and wisdom of a child. Here are six things we can learn from children’s views on success.
1. When I grow up, I want to be an astronaut.
What we can learn? It’s okay to shoot for the stars. There’s something to be said for taking on big, huge goals. While being shot to the moon in a rocket most likely isn’t in the cards, there are other big, audacious, hairy goals that you can accomplish. Take the chance and do it. Your six-year-old self will be proud.
2. When I grow up, I want to be a princess.
What we can learn? Love, magic, and the storybook ending may not be overly realistic, but there should be a romantic quality to your life, no matter what the age. Finding and pursuing your passions is an important part of being a truly successful, happy person. So maybe you realize you can’t be a princess anymore, since, well, that job is being masterfully handled by Kate Middleton, but you can find and embrace your passions. Your seven-year-old self will appreciate the storybook ending.
3. When I grow up, I want to have a lot of friends.
What we can learn? Relationships matter. And not just the romantic type. Being successful isn’t just defined by the career you choose, but rather the relationships you forge and the people whom you love and who love you. It’s easy, as adults, to focus only on your career and family, but having friends you ‘choose’ is one of the most important parts of a healthy, balanced life. So keep in touch with your friends from high school, have dinner with your co-workers, and reconnect with your best friend growing up. Your 11-year-old self will love catching up with old friends, and you will too.
4. When I grow up, I want to be big and strong.
What we can learn? You’re body is a temple. Treat it like one, or your success can be cut short. Stay active and take care of your body. Whether you exercise 30 minutes a day, eat healthy, or better yet both, you’ll improve your health, live longer, and be happier. And you’ll make your three-year-old self quite proud.
5. When I grow up, I want to be like Mommy/Daddy and make them proud.
What we can learn? It’s okay to be like your parents. The 15-year-old version of your self is likely cringing at the thought, but your parents have taught you much. Whether it’s lessons as simple as how to ride a bike (persistence), how to act in public (respect), or how to run a company (ethics), those lessons were vital in your upbringing. Taking these lessons and applying them to your adult life can help ensure you maintain your personal moral compass and make your parents proud. Your eight-year-old self will approve.
6. When I grow up, I want to fly.
What we can learn? There’s no challenge that you can’t overcome. Wanting to fly seems like an incredibly naive request, but often looking past what something seems to be and getting to the root of it can help you uncover a world of possibilities. We know you will not grow wings anytime soon, but one can certainly fly. Whether in a hot air balloon, as a pilot of a private plane, or by hang-gliding high above the ocean, you can accomplish even the most absurd-sounding dreams if you take a step back and find a creative approach.
Many of our childhood dreams are just that, childish. But there’s something that can be learned from the innocence of a child. And that spirit can easily be lost as an adult. Find ways to still dream big and accomplish your goals. Your 13-year-old self will definitely approve.
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