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6 Things We Can Learn From Children’s Views On Success

6 Things We Can Learn From Children’s Views On Success

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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Featured photo credit: ToniVC via flickr.com

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Kyle Robbins

Kyle is the founder of Branding Beard. He writes about communication tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on September 11, 2019

Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

How often do you feel overwhelmed and disorganized in life, whether at work or home? We all seem to struggle with time management in some area of our life; one of the most common phrases besides “I love you” is “I don’t have time”. Everyone suggests working from a to-do list to start getting your life more organized, but why do these lists also have a negative connotation to them?

Let’s say you have a strong desire to turn this situation around with all your good intentions—you may then take out a piece of paper and pen to start tackling this intangible mess with a to-do list. What usually happens, is that you either get so overwhelmed seeing everything on your list, which leaves you feeling worse than you did before, or you make the list but are completely stuck on how to execute it effectively.

To-do lists can work for you, but if you are not using them effectively, they can actually leave you feeling more disillusioned and stressed than you did before. Think of a filing system: the concept is good, but if you merely file papers away with no structure or system, the filing system will have an adverse effect. It’s the same with to-do lists—you can put one together, but if you don’t do it right, it is a fruitless exercise.

Why Some People Find That General To-Do Lists Don’t Work?

Most people find that general to-do lists don’t work because:

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  • They get so overwhelmed just by looking at all the things they need to do.
  • They don’t know how to prioritize the items on list.
  • They feel that they are continuously adding to their list but not reducing it.
  • There’s a sense of confusion seeing home tasks mixed with work tasks.

Benefits of Using a To-Do List

However, there are many advantages working from a to-do list:

  • You have clarity on what you need to get done.
  • You will feel less stressed because all your ‘to do’s are on paper and out of your mind.
  • It helps you to prioritize your actions.
  • You don’t overlook so many tasks and forget anything.
  • You feel more organized.
  • It helps you with planning.

4 Golden Rules to Make a To-Do List Work

Here are my golden rules for making a “to-do” list work:

1. Categorize

Studies have shown that your brain gets overwhelmed when it sees a list of 7 or 8 options; it wants to shut down.[1] For this reason, you need to work from different lists. Separate them into different categories and don’t have more than 7 or 8 tasks on each one.

It might work well for you to have a “project” list, a “follow-up” list, and a “don’t forget” list; you will know what will work best for you, as these titles will be different for everybody.

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2. Add Estimations

You don’t merely need to know what has to be done, but how long it will take as well in order to plan effectively.

Imagine on your list you have one task that will take 30 minutes, another that could take 1 hour, and another that could take 4 hours. You need to know the moment you look at the task, otherwise you undermine your planning, so add an extra column to your list and include your estimation of how long you think the task will take, and be realistic!

Tip: If you find it a challenge to estimate accurately, then start by building this skill on a daily basis. Estimate how long it will take to get ready, cook dinner, go for a walk, etc., and then compare this to the actual time it took you. You will start to get more accurate in your estimations.

3. Prioritize

To effectively select what you should work on, you need to take into consideration: priority, sequence and estimated time. Add another column to your list for priority. Divide your tasks into four categories:

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  • Important and urgent
  • Not urgent but important
  • Not important but urgent
  • Not important or urgent

You want to work on tasks that are urgent and important of course, but also, select some tasks that are important and not urgent. Why? Because these tasks are normally related to long-term goals, and when you only work on tasks that are urgent and important, you’ll feel like your day is spent putting out fires. You’ll end up neglecting other important areas which most often end up having negative consequences.

Most of your time should be spent on the first two categories.

4.  Review

To make this list work effectively for you, it needs to become a daily tool that you use to manage your time and you review it regularly. There is no point in only having the list to record everything that you need to do, but you don’t utilize it as part of your bigger time management plan.

For example: At the end of every week, review the list and use it to plan the week ahead. Select what you want to work on taking into consideration priority, time and sequence and then schedule these items into your calendar. Golden rule in planning: don’t schedule more than 75% of your time.

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Bottom Line

So grab a pen and paper and give yourself the gift of a calm and clear mind by unloading everything in there and onto a list as now, you have all the tools you need for it to work. Knowledge is useless unless it is applied—how badly do you want more time?

To your success!

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Featured photo credit: Emma Matthews via unsplash.com

Reference

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