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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

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Dr. Kerry Petsinger

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

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Last Updated on May 28, 2020

10 Success Principles for Living Your Dream Life

10 Success Principles for Living Your Dream Life

Are you stressed out and overwhelmed, wishing you had more time to do the things that really matter? Are you ready to do something better, something special in your life or your career?

You were born with a gift that no one else in the world can express like you. When you dance to your own music, you naturally develop your innate abilities and excel in work and life. You are a total rock star. But when you live someone else’s idea of who you should be, it throws off your groove.

Many people—maybe you—stopped following their dreams way too early in life because their talents were ignored, minimized, or shamed. They didn’t have the chops to win an American Idol competition or nab an Olympic gold medal, so they stopped expressing their inborn gifts altogether.

You don’t need to be an award winner to rock your life. Living your dream life is about discovering your superpowers and feeling vibrant and joyful when you use them. It’s about owning what makes you unique and finding like-minded people to support you.

Here are 10 success principles to help you live a rich and rewarding life on your terms that have worked with thousands of people in my workshops and will work for you, too.

1. Get a Hobby to Move Closer to Your Dreams

If you never became a professional dancer or a world-renowned author, it does NOT mean you should stop dancing or writing! These activities make you come alive, even if you “only” do them as favorite pastimes.

Engaging in a hobby is one of the most important success principles you can follow to move closer to your dreams.

When you try something creative for the first time or in a long while, you begin to see opportunities at work and in life that you were unaware of before. You also feel happier and more energized, according to a recent study from New Zealand.[1]

Some of my most burned-out executive clients reinvigorated their careers by discovering a creative outlet that refueled them after the workday ended. Research at San Francisco State University shows that having a hobby lowers stress and helps you succeed at work.[2]

So, give yourself permission to try new things and revisit old passions you gave up long ago. Setting aside just one hour a week for personal exploration can significantly change your life.

Who knows? Your creative outlet could transform into a thriving business or lead to a new profession down the road.

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2. Focus on Your Strengths, Not Your Weaknesses

Did you know that you are more likely to succeed when you develop your natural strengths rather than work on your weaknesses? The problem is that you probably don’t know where your true talents lie.

Here are a few options to help you discover your unique strengths. You can:

  • Take the VIA Character Strengths Survey[3]
  • Try Gallup’s CliftonStrengths Assessment[4]
  • Answer a few Superpower Questions

Once you understand what makes you tick, you can use these skills at work and your personal life to get more done in less time. If you boost your unique abilities through practice and study, you can accelerate your career and become a leader in a field that matters to you. It’s worth investing in yourself this way.

3. Jumping off a Cliff is NOT Required

Here’s the deal: most people are too afraid to change. When participants first come to my workshops, they tell me they have mouths to feed, bills to pay, and fear that if they follow their dreams, someone will get hurt.

The old saying “leap and the net shall appear” does not comfort them. Because they are hesitant to plunge into the unknown, they believe their only option is to stay put where they are in life. Can you relate?

You do not have to sacrifice the life you have now to start a new one. I was a psychology professor by day and singer by night for years before I transitioned into a full-time music career.

Just take a little time out each week to do what enlivens you through a hobby, volunteer work, etc. Get a feel for it.

Is it what you really want? If so, increase the time you spend doing it and make the transition when the time feels right.

4. Give Your Inner Critic Some Love

The main culprit that keeps you from stepping outside your comfort zone and getting the life of your dreams is KCRP or K-CRAP – the radio station that plays 24/7 in your head. The moment you try to do something interesting with your life it slaps you down with such chart-topping killer hooks as “Who do you think you are?” and “You’ll never be good enough!”.

Have you ever noticed that KCRP’s mean-spirited DJ sounds like your parents, teachers, bosses, and other authority figures who shut you down creatively? These folks don’t need to stifle you any longer (although they often still do) because your inner critic does it for them. That keeps you stuck in a rut.

To break free, try thinking of this DJ as a gruff old grandfather who gives you crap to keep you safe. Remember, this grumpy grandpa is woefully out of touch with the times. So, his stern opinions don’t really matter much, do they? Give him a pat on the back for his good intentions, and put your focus back on what makes you come alive.

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This success principle will give you the courage to venture into the unknown where you can dance to the beat of your own drummer.

5. Embrace Your Inner Weirdo

Many of us don’t go after our dreams because we’re afraid folks will find out how odd or strange we are. But our little eccentricities often turn out to be our greatest strengths. Yes, it’s good to be quirky.

Odds are, you lost track of your true passions and talents before you were even old enough to know you were getting off-track. You became slowly “adulterated” by learning to:

  • Take on family roles that don’t match who you really are.
  • Spit back what teachers taught you in school rather than risk getting bad grades for being original.
  • Hide parts of yourself that don’t seem acceptable to certain social groups.

The price for fitting in is that you may wind up leading a life that doesn’t fit you all that well. Your true calling becomes clear when you embrace what makes you different from others and allow yourself to stand out from the crowd, even if it feels awkward.

Often, the very qualities you view as your flaws are your greatest gifts.

6. See the Bigger Picture to Find Your True Calling

I cannot stress the importance of this success principle enough. Your true calling is right in front of you. But you may miss it because you’re looking for it in the wrong place.

To “see” it clearly, try widening your point of view.

Case in point: Maria felt she needed to retire early from being a police detective, so she could travel abroad. I encouraged Maria to think of ways that she could continue to serve as a law enforcer (a career she loved) and travel overseas at the same time.

A few months later, Maria landed a job with the United Nations in Bosnia training the local police force to understand and embrace human rights procedures.

Like Maria, you are an everyday rock star capable of accomplishing greater things than you can imagine. Is what you’re looking for right in front of you, too? Do you have an inkling of what it may be?

Look beyond your day-to-day activities, your current job, and even the town you live in. View your life from an eagle’s perspective and be open to new possibilities.

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7. Try a Little Wish-List Magic

Pretend I’m your fairy godmother and I give you permission right now to be your most magnificent self. What kind of life would be music to your ears? It doesn’t matter whether it seems unattainable or even downright crazy. Write it down on a wish list.

Get quiet. Be honest. Think big.

What would you like your career, your relationships, your health, your finances, and your spiritual life to be like? Jot down enough details so that your wishes seem tangible to you. Then, look at this list every morning before you start your day and every night before you go to sleep.

Sounds silly? It’s not. It works! Permitting yourself to daydream about a rich and fulfilling life is the first step to manifesting it.

8. Take Breaks to Get Clues About Your Ideal Future

Did you know that working straight through to a deadline leads to diminishing returns? Research shows that taking a break for 15 minutes every 75 to 90 minutes can help you recharge, refresh your focus, and get more done in less time.[5]

Wait, it gets better! A Stanford study shows that walking increases your creative output increases by 60 percent. Doing repetitive activities such as walking, running, riding your bike, swimming, and sweeping allow solutions to problems to pop into your mind out of nowhere.[6]

What does this success principle have to do with creating your dream life?

These mini-breaks allow you to get vital clues for what to do next to attain your ideal future. Plus, you won’t waste precious time and energy getting lost in other people’s agendas.

9. Take Action on Your Inspired Ideas

Once an inspired thought pops into your mind, take action.

This is one of the most powerful success principles for turning your dreams into reality; the sooner the better. Whatever it is—from calling an old friend to taking a new route home—be sure to do it!

Pay attention to your oddball hunches. You need to go after what you want, not just dream about it. As comedian Jim Carrey warns,

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“You can’t just visualize and go eat a sandwich.”

10. Count Your Rockstar Moments

Still not sure you have what it takes to get your dream life? This final success principle is guaranteed to help.

Make a list of everything you’ve ever accomplished. As you read back through it, put a star next to each item, and let it sink in.

You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how good you’ll feel about yourself afterward. You’ll also see how effective you’ve been in the past at getting what you want. You’ve succeeded before, you can succeed again.

You already rock. You just need to own it. Trust me, you’ve got this!

Final Thoughts

Eleanor Roosevelt said,

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Following these success principles will help you find the time and energy to do the things that really matter and live with clear intention.

By spending just one hour a week doing something you love, focusing on your strengths and achievements, embracing what makes you different, and acting on inspired ideas, you can create a life that is a perfect fit for you, step-by-step.

If you don’t have a clue about what your dream life could look like yet, don’t worry. Your heart knows. It has been “talking” to you for a long time. It’s just being muffled by KCRP, buried under a lot of “shoulds” and fear.

This article can also help you figure out the life you truly want to live: How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up.

Stand still, get quiet, and listen. It’s constantly telling you what you need to do to realize your own rockstar potential. It may be just a whisper now, but the more you pay attention to it, the louder it will get, and the easier it will be to follow.

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Featured photo credit: Rahul Dey via unsplash.com

Reference

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