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If Being Childish Can Help You Figure Out What You Want To Do In Life, The Way You Think Of It Will Change Forever

If Being Childish Can Help You Figure Out What You Want To Do In Life, The Way You Think Of It Will Change Forever

When you were a child, you didn’t need a purpose to seek out new stuff and experience new things. When you’ve grown up, you’ve started to forget the attitude you used to have towards the world. Oliver Emberton has shared his views on how childish behavior can help you figure out what you want to do in life on Quora.

Time to grow up and give yourself a better childhood. Let me explain, via Bill Gates the Potato Farmer.

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    You know how anyone can be anything they want, right? Well, they can’t.

    Had Bill Gates been born in a different time – or just a different town – he might have spent his days as an illiterate peasant scooping up potatoes with his hands.

    Your circumstances matter. Bill’s real childhood had what mattered most: the opportunity to stumble upon what he was born to do, and to go completely bananas doing it.

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    Few are so lucky, but there’s still hope for the rest of us.

    Kids are geniuses

    We rarely prize people for acting like a child. The world is forever telling us to “grow up” and “take responsibility”, as if anything else is a bug in the system. On the contrary – childish behaviour can be quite brilliant.

    • Kids try many things. Stupid things, like eating soil or rollerskating on ice. But they’re fearless and relentless.
    • Kids don’t know what they don’t know. So they question everything.
    • Kids are easily bored. They live in fantasy worlds because present reality is limiting.

    Such behaviour is spectacularly good at figuring out the world and your part in it. Acting like a kid is a brilliant way to explore your boundaries and deduce your strengths. Ideally, your childhood is when you stumble upon your passions, leaving your adult years to focus on them.

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    Unfortunately many of us – like Bill the Potato Farmer – aren’t so lucky. The good news is, modern life gives you more chances than ever to fix that.

    Grown-up children

    Childlike behaviour is generally frowned upon as an adult.

    The great advantage of being an adult is you can direct yourself. Children don’t have the freedom or the awareness to steer their own development. Maybe your childhood wasn’t what it could have been – but you can fix it now:

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    • Play. The first time baby John Lennon picked up a guitar, I doubt he seriously ran a cost benefit analysis. If you’re trying something out, don’t be in too much of a hurry to take it seriously. Aim to simply enjoy. The effort will come if the passion is there.
    • Get reckless. If you really don’t know what you want to do, you’re going to have to try things you haven’t done yet. And you’re going to fail – a lot – trying many different things, most of which won’t work. Kids find this a lot easier because they don’t worry about consequences. I encourage you to do the same. If it helps, make it a proud part of your identity: you’re making a point out of fearlessly trying as many things as possible, you sexy roguish daredevil you.
    • Question everything. You know how everyone knew the world was flat until it wasn’t? You have similarly limiting beliefs in your head right now – probably things like “artists can’t earn a living” or “I’m not smart enough to do this”. Maybe, but have you checked? Have you tried – really tried, like a gun is pointed at your kneecaps – to find an alternative? Most really successful people didn’t just find a way, they created one.
    • Ignore reality. You know how kids always dream of becoming astronauts, pop stars and giant transforming robots? Barriers don’t apply when you’re five years old. And whilst that seems like a stupid habit that you’d be wise to grow out of, if you’re not sure what you want to do, don’t be in such a hurry to shut your dreams down. Explore the impossible. Often it doesn’t lead to exactly what you’re after (say walking on the moon) but it finds something else instead (like a love of science that starts a whole career). You can’t know this in advance. Just dare to follow where your heart takes you.

    Chances are, even if you don’t know what you want, that your childhood at least left you some hints. Are there things you think of fondly, but never find the time for? Start there.

    The great solace you have is that – by virtue of reading this – you automatically have better options than potato farmer Bill. Access to the entirety of human knowledge (The Google) for one. Better economics for another. And more freedom than most of your grandparents could ever conceive of.

    Now get outside and play.

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    Anna Chui

    Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the editor of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

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    Last Updated on May 21, 2019

    How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

    How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

    For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

    If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

    Example 1

    You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

    You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

    In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

    Example 2

    You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

    People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

    You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

    Example 3

    You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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    The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

    Example 4

    You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

    Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

    If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

    Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

    • Understand your own communication style
    • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
    • Communicate with precision and care
    • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

    1. Understand Your Communication Style

    To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

    In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

    Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

    2. Learn Others Communication Styles

    Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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    If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

    “How do you prefer to receive information?”

    This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

    To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

    3. Exercise Precision and Care

    A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

    On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

    Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

    I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

    I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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    In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

    The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

    Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

    4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

    Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

    In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

    “Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

    Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

    Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

    It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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    It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

    It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

    Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

    Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

    The Bottom Line

    When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

    I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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    Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

    Reference

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