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13 Reasons Why The Best Adults Are Those Who Embrace Their Inner Child

13 Reasons Why The Best Adults Are Those Who Embrace Their Inner Child

I love teaching my kids new things. It’s a blast watching them soak up everything they learn. They are like little sponges. Yet, as much as I teach them, at the end of every day I still feel like I’ve learned more from them than they have learned from me.

And here’s why: Kids have life all figured out.

Kids can teach adults how to live our lives better. At some point, years ago, you were likely a child full of wonder, with a passion for learning, and an appreciation of nature. You were probably fun and spontaneous with a great sense of humor.

Then, if you’re like a lot of people, the daily grind of adulthood gradually diminished your inner child. Many adults have lost their love of learning, feel frustration instead of hope, and care so much about what others think that they’re scared to truly come alive and be themselves.

Too many adults have lost their childlike spirit. If you can harness and embrace your inner child, you will likely be a happier, more satisfied adult. Here are 13 reasons why the best adults are those who embrace their inner child:

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1. They are curious

Kids love to learn and are naturally inquisitive. They aren’t afraid to ask questions, and they welcome opportunities to learn about the world. Adults who embrace their inner child have a love for learning. These lifelong learners are continually striving to learn; they seek opportunities to expand their knowledge. They are interested in understanding people and the world. These adults know they don’t have all the answers; they ask questions to gain further insight.

2. They learn something new every day

Every day is a new adventure for a child. From morning until bedtime, there is exploring to do! Adults who embrace their inner child know that growth occurs when they try new things, and agree with the Neale Donald Walsch quote, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” These adults know that even when it’s scary to try new things, it’s necessary. To avoid becoming stagnant, these adults experiment with making big and little changes to their life; even taking a different route to work, trying a new food, or learning how to do a new physical activity helps prevent them from feeling stuck.

3. They make small things enjoyable

Kids get excited to run errands with adults, help adults cook meals, and be part of family traditions. Even when tasks involve work, they find ways to enjoy participating. Adults who have a childlike mind find ways to make small, day-to-day tasks, enjoyable. They know that having a great attitude makes their to-do lists much more fun to accomplish. Rather than facing life’s responsibilities with dread, they are thankful for the ability to participate in daily routines.

4. They persevere

When a baby learns to walk, he falls, over and over and over again. Yet, when he falls, he doesn’t say “Wow, clearly I’m not cut out for this.” He doesn’t get embarrassed by his “failure.” He doesn’t pout about not being “good enough” to walk. He doesn’t question his purpose; he KNOWS he’s meant to walk. When he falls, he gets up, focuses his eyes ahead, and tries again and again, until he succeeds at walking.

Adults who embrace their inner child know how to persevere. They are resilient and view obstacles as a natural part of life, not as devastating tragedies. They embrace a “How can I?” rather than an “I can’t” mentality; if they are struggling with something, they look at it from different angles and brainstorm other solutions.

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5. They stay active

Kids are active. They run, climb, and jump every day. They are excited to be strong and take full advantage of being fit. Many adults become sedentary during their working years, forgetting the amazing things a healthy body can do. Adults who embrace their inner child strive to be physically active. They know the world is their playground and participate in a variety of physical activities. They appreciate when their bodies are healthy and capable.

6. They are more optimistic

Many kids are naturally optimistic. They believe that good things will happen. While some adults become jaded and pessimistic, adults with childlike optimism have the conviction that things will work out, and they have a positive outlook on life.

7. They see the beauty in nature

Children are awed by the wonders of the world. They notice the breathtaking beauty of sunrises and sunsets. They see the beauty of the leaves on the trees, drops of dew in the morning, and the colors of the rainbow. They cherish bugs and butterflies. Rather than viewing winter storms as inconvenient and frustrating, children see the details in the snowflakes and cherish the opportunities to play outside and build snow forts.

Adults who embrace their child never lose their sense of wonder; they are continually awed by the beauty of nature.

8. They are adaptable

The majority of kids deal pretty well with interruptions, schedule changes, and disappointments. As adults, however, we can become set in our ways. Yet living lives of inflexibility, and trying to control all variables, leads to feeling exasperated.

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Adults who embrace their inner child are flexible. They know that unexpected events will occur, and do not get overwhelmed when they do.

9. They don’t care about what other people think about them

Children don’t have any interest in keeping up with the Joneses. They aren’t materialistic. If they are fed and comfortable, and feel safe and loved, they tend to be pretty content. Somewhere along the way, many adults become self-conscious and insecure. Adults who embrace their inner child continue to have a childlike confidence; they focus their lives on what’s important to them and are able to not let their critics bother them.

10. They dream big

Kids have big dreams, and they don’t think their dreams are unrealistic or weird. At some point, adults feel the pressure of societal norms – to live a certain way, in a certain home, work a certain schedule, and do everything to fit in with others. Too afraid to fail or succeed, they do all they can to avoid standing out from the crowd; they live lives of frustration.

You will be a happier adult if you gives yourself the freedom to dream big like a child. Adulthood is much more satisfying when you let your imagination run wild, without limits, and imagine a life of possibilities, not of restrictions.

11. They are kind to others

Little kids may notice when others are different from them, but they don’t inherently see everything as “my way” or “the wrong way.” They don’t hate others due to differences in race, ethnicity, or religion. They don’t judge people for past mistakes. They care only whether or not people are kind.

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Adults who embrace their inner child know there’s a lot of “gray” in the world, and they don’t see everything as “black and white.” They realize that just because someone sees the world differently, doesn’t mean it’s the wrong way to think. They are able to respectfully disagree and avoid making harsh, fear-based judgments. Even when they don’t see eye to eye with others, they treat them with kindness.

12. They aren’t rushed

Children don’t feel stressed about enormous to-do lists. They have a sense of peace and are able to enjoy the present. Kids focus their attention on who they’re with and the current day’s activities; their minds don’t wander to what they “should” be doing. They truly know how to “live in the now” and make the most of every day.

Adults who are children at heart master the ability to enjoy the present, even while working toward goals. Although they are ambitious, they have peace about today and they are able to relax and enjoy being fully engaged and present in the moment.

13. They have more fun

Kids tell random, hilarious jokes. They belly laugh every day. They get the giggles about ridiculous stuff. They really know how to let loose. People with childlike personalities know how to have fun. They enjoy a good laugh, and have a great sense of humor.

Learn to embrace your inner child and you will be a much more satisfied adult.

Living a life full of wonder, appreciation for the small things, humor, kindness, resilience, and big dreams is exactly what your inner child would want you to do.

Featured photo credit: free_flight/Bob Mical via flickr.com

More by this author

Dr. Kerry Petsinger

Entrepreneur, Mindset & Performance Coach, & Doctor of Physical Therapy

Feeling Stuck in Life? How to Never Get Stuck Again How to Find the Purpose of Life and Start Living a Fulfilling Life Don’t like your job? Here are some solutions. How People Make Decisions That Are Bad For Them How to Have a Successful Career and a Fulfilling Personal Life

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Last Updated on July 24, 2019

What Makes a Good Leader? 10 Essential Leadership Qualities

What Makes a Good Leader? 10 Essential Leadership Qualities

The word “leader” makes you think of people in charge. High-ranking people – your boss, politicians, presidents, CEOs…

But leadership really isn’t about a particular position or a person’s seniority. Just because someone has worked for many years doesn’t mean he has gained the qualities and skills to lead a team.

Getting promoted to a managerial position doesn’t automatically turn you into a leader either. CEOs and other high-ranking officials don’t always have great leadership skills.

So what makes a good leader? What are the characteristics of a leader?

Good leadership is about acquiring and honing skills. Leadership skills enable you to be a role model for a team in any environment. With great leadership qualities, successful leaders come in all shapes and sizes: in the home, at school, or at the workplace.

The following is a list of characteristics of a leader who successfully leads a great team:

1. Stay Positive, Even in the Worst Situations

Great leaders know that they won’t have a happy and motivated team unless they themselves exhibit a positive attitude. This can be done by remaining positive when things go wrong and by creating a relaxed and happy atmosphere in the workplace.

Even some simple things like providing cupcakes or beers on Fridays can make the world of difference. An added perk is that team members are likely to work harder and do overtime when needed if they’re happy and appreciated.

Even in the worst situations such as experiencing low team morale or team members having made a big mistake at work, a great leader stays positive and figure out ways to keep the team motivated to solve the problems.

Walt Disney (1901-1966), had his share of hardships and challenges; and like any great leader, he managed to stay positive and find new opportunities. In 1928, Disney found that his film producer, Charles Mintz, wanted to reduce his payments for the Oswald series. Mintz threatened to cut ties entirely if Disney didn’t accept his terms, and Disney chose to part ways. But in leaving Oswald, Disney decided to create something new: the iconic Mickey Mouse.

    Lesson Learned:

    Break down huge challenges into smaller ones and find ways to tackle them one by one.

    Think about the lessons you can learn from the mistake and jot them down — Because sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.

    2. Exhibit Confidence Everywhere

    All great leaders have to exhibit an air of confidence if they’re going to succeed. Please don’t confuse this with self-satisfaction and arrogance. You want people to look up to you for inspiration, not so they can punch you in the face.

    Confidence is important because people will be looking to you on how to behave, particularly if things aren’t going 100% right. If you remain calm and poised, team members are far more likely to as well. As a result, morale and productivity will remain high and the problem will be solved more quickly.

    If you panic and give up, they will know immediately and things will simply go down hill from there.

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    Elon Musk is a great example of a leader with confidence. He truly believes that Tesla will be successful, which he has shown many times through his actions. He converted 532,000 stock options at $6.63 each, their value on Dec. 4, 2009, before Tesla went public. It was a hefty bargain considering Tesla’s stock price stood at around $195 per share at that time. He doesn’t apologize for his beliefs and has drawn fire from just about everyone for his political actions.

      Lesson Learned:

      You can’t instantly become a very confident person, but all the small things you do every day will gradually make you more confident:

      • List 10 things you like about yourself every day (something different every day), and you’ll be more confident about yourself.
      • Work on your strengths, do your best to enhance them.

      3. Have a Sense of Humor

      It’s imperative for any kind of leader to have a sense of humor, particularly when things go wrong. And they will.

      Your team members are going to be looking to you for how to react in a seemingly dire situation. It would probably be best if you weren’t stringing up a noose for yourself in the corner. You need to be able to laugh things off, because if staff morale goes down, so will productivity.

      Establish this environment prior to any kind of meltdown by encouraging humor and personal discussions in the work place.

      As president, Barack Obama exuded confidence and calm during stressful situations. But he was also known for his “dad jokes”,[1] his genuinely funny speeches at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and appearing on Zack Galifianakis’s Between Two Ferns.[2] Obama’s sense of humor made him grounded, realistic, and honest – no doubt that helped during some tense moments in the White House!

        Lesson Learned:

        Laugh at yourself. Confident people laugh about their own silly mistakes, others will also trust you more because you’re willing to share your experiences.

        Be observant and learn from the jokes others make. You can also get a lot of inspirations from the internet.

        4. Embrace Failures and Manage Set Backs

        No matter how hard you try to avoid it, failures will happen; that’s okay. You just need to know how to deal with them.

        Great leaders take them in strides. They remain calm and logically think through the situation and utilize their resources. What they don’t do is fall apart and reveal to their team how worried they are, which leads to negative morale, fear and binge-drinking under desks.

        Great leaders do in fact lead, even when they’re faced with setbacks.

        Henry Ford experienced a major setback after designing and improving the Ford Quadricycle. He founded the Detroit Automobile Company in 1899, but the resulting cars they produced did not live up to his standards and were too expensive. The company dissolved in 1901. Ford took this in stride and formed the Henry Ford Company. The sales were slow and the company had financial problems; it wasn’t until 1903 that the Ford Motor Company was successful and put the Ford on the map.

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          Lesson Learned:

          Get to the root cause of any problem so you can prevent it from happening again and learn from the mistake.

          To do this, use the 5 Whys problem solving framework.

          By asking “why” for 5 times (or more) on why something happened, you can find out the key factor that caused the problem and can find the best solution to tackle the problem.

          You’ll also learn how to prevent this from happening again in the future after finding out a problem’s root cause.

          5. Listen, and Give Feedback

          This is far more complex than it actually sounds. Good communication skills are essential for a great leader. You may very well understand the cave of crazy that is your brain, but that doesn’t mean that you can adequately take the ideas out of it and explain them to someone else.

          The best leaders need to be able to communicate clearly with the people around them. They also need to be able to interpret other people properly and not take what they say personally.

          The Dalai Lama, as a symbol of the unification of the state of Tibet, represents and practices Buddhist values. The Dalai Lama’s leadership is benevolent and aims toward truth and understanding, alongside the other Buddhist precepts. This is a great example for all leaders: if you want to give good directions to others, you have to get feedback from others to understand the situation properly.

            Lesson Learned:

            Encourage communication between team members and establishing an open door policy.

            Practice not to interrupt team members when they’re talking.

            Summarize what they say and ask for feedback every time after you have talked about your ideas.

            6. Know How and When to Delegate

            No matter how much you might want to, you can’t actually do everything yourself. Even if you could, in a team environment that would be a terrible idea anyway.

            Good leaders recognize that delegation does more than simply alleviate their own stress levels (although that’s obviously a nice perk). Delegating to others shows that you have confidence in their abilities, which subsequently results in higher morale in the workplace, as well as loyalty from your staff. They want to feel appreciated and trusted.

            Although Steve Jobs is known for focusing in on the smallest of details, he knew how to delegate. By finding, cultivating, and trusting capable team members – like Tim Cook – Jobs was able to make Apple run smoothly, even while he had to be absent for extended periods of time.

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              Lesson Learned:

              To know when and how to delegate work to team members, you have to be very familiar with each of them:

              • List out all of their strengths, weaknesses and personalities.
              • Talk with your team members more too to know more about their passion and interests.

              Take a look at this guide and learn more about delegation: How to Delegate Work Effectively (The Definitive Guide for Leaders)

              7. Inspire and Grow People Around

              Any good leader knows how important it is to develop the skills of those around them. The best can recognize those skills early on. Not only will development make work easier as they improve and grow, it will also foster morale. In addition, they may develop some skills that you don’t possess that will be beneficial to the workplace.

              Great leaders share their knowledge with the team and give them the opportunity to achieve. This is how leaders gain their respect and loyalty.

              Pope Francis has been unusually popular with many Catholics and many non-Catholics. His position isn’t totally traditional, which is part of his appeal, but he also has admirable leadership skills. Pope Francis’s TED talk drew attention, because he encouraged leaders to be humble and to demonstrate solidarity with others. This inclusive, kind, and respectful style of leadership is incredibly important for any situation.

                Lesson Learned:

                Spend time to talk with other team members individually to understand them.

                Find out team members’ current challenges and try to give feedback and encouragement so they will grow and do better.

                8. Take Responsibility and Never Blame Others

                Great leaders know that when it comes to their company, work place or whatever situation they’re in, they need to take personal responsibility for failure. How can they expect employees to hold themselves accountable if they themselves don’t?

                The best leaders don’t make excuses; they take the blame and then work out how to fix the problem as soon as possible. This proves that they’re trustworthy and possess integrity.

                Howard Gillman is the chancellor of UC Irvine. You might have heard of how the university rescinded a bunch of acceptances, and then changed its mind.[3] This past spring, an unusually high number of accepted students decided to matriculate; the school initially responded by rescinding offers over things like missed deadlines. But the college realized this was a mistake and reversed its decision. Gillman and the university accepted responsibility and decided to move past their earlier bad decision.

                  Lesson Learned:

                  Ask yourself what you could have done better to prevent this from happening.

                  Take the responsibility and think about what you can do better to prevent this from happening next time.

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                  9. Make Decisions Based on Lessons Learned in the Past

                  It’s safe to say that all great leaders will have to enter unchartered waters at some point during their career (figuratively, of course). Because of this, they have to be able to trust their intuition and draw on past experiences to guide them.

                  Great leaders know that there’s always something to learn from everything they have experienced before. They are able to connect the present challenges with the lessons learned in the past to make decisions and take actions promptly.

                  You can either recall what you’ve learned from your memories, or search from your notes (ideally, a software that you can access anywhere with things well-organized).

                  Warren Buffett, one of the richest people in the world, has mostly made the right calls. But in dealing with huge amounts of money, Buffett has also made several multi-million (and sometimes multi-billion) dollar mistakes. He has stated that buying the company Berkshire Hathaway was his biggest mistake.[4] From that poor choice, he realized that it was unwise to pursue “improvements” and “expansions” in the existing textile industry. Despite mistakes like this, Buffett has invested wisely – and it shows.

                    Lesson Learned:

                    Write down lessons you’ve learned from any mistakes you’ve made.

                    Have all the lessons well organized and  when similar things happen again in future, take these lessons as references.

                    10. Lead by Example and Commit to Do the Best

                    Great leaders stick to their commitments and promises, and they are the most committed and hard working ones on the job. All great leaders lead by example.

                    Why should your staff and team members give it their all if you don’t bother to? By proving your own commitment, great leaders will inspire others to do the same, as well as earn their respect and instill a good work ethic.

                    After 15 years of house arrest, Aung San Suu Kyi was voted state counsellor in Myanmar – one of the highest-profile and most powerful positions in the country. She became a symbol of peaceful resistance when she attempted to bring democracy to her country.[5] In the early years of her detention, she was often in solitary confinement. Suu Kyi is a perfect example of committed and belief-driven leadership, which she openly demonstrated during her many years of house arrest.

                      Lesson Learned:

                      Some people learn by observing the way you perform a task, some need more detailed guidelines.

                      So dedicate time to demonstrate your work to team members, let them observe how you do it. Summarize the skills you use and let team members know how you make difficult things work.

                      The Bottom Line

                      Leadership traits are learnable. If you practice consistently, you can be a great leader too.

                      Make small changes your habits when you work with your team – wherever that may be. Most of us aren’t presidents or CEOs.

                      But we all work with other people, and our actions always impact others. This gives every person the chance to develop leadership skills and to stand out from the crowd.

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                      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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