There is a lot to be admired in an eight-year-old.
An eight-year-old doesn't care what she looks like in her bathing suit, she just goes swimming.
An eight-year-old is comfortable asking the obvious question and showing that she doesn't know everything, because how could she? And how do you learn without asking? And researching? And testing hypotheses?
An eight-year-old doesn't really hear the word no either. She hears, instead, maybe if you make a better argument, or maybe when you've grown a little, or maybe once you've finished your vegetables.
And even though they seem enormous to her, an eight-year-old's troubles are small. She's not expected to solve world hunger, or climate change. She's only responsible for being the best she can be, at each moment. And she is easily forgiven for failing, because she's learning.
How much better would our lives be if we could connect with our inner eight-year-old?
And why shouldn't we? In the grand scheme of things, aren't we all really still just an eight-year-old? Besides that part about caring what we look like in a bathing suit...
We have developed knowledge and expertise, sure, but on the scale of the Universe we still pretty-much know nothing. We still have never done most things (proven by the length of our bucket lists). And can't we all imagine tackling the next challenge after we've developed a little more?
So why, then, do we let our egos hold us back from asking the obvious question? We're stunting our continued growth! Why do we accept other people's assumptions and mindlessly do things the way they have always been done? Why do we let one person's no stop us from creating the life we want for ourselves? Why do we hold the world on our shoulders and beat ourselves up for failing to save it alone?
What made us lose touch with our inner eight-year-old? And, more importantly, how do we find her again? And become best friends? And unleash her into the world?
I feel the presence of my inner eight-year-old when I spend time with my niece and nephews. When I let myself see the world through their eyes. So, I know she's in there. And I let her tug at my arm when I am about to do something new and exciting. She is always encouraging me to run and dive in and ask and wonder and explore (if I listen).
Now I am working to make it safe for her to speak up in the boring everyday situations, too. By listening to the small voice with the dumb idea or stupid question. By acknowledging my fear and raising my hand and saying it anyway. And sometimes they laugh. But most times they don't. And I feel her getting stronger. Strong enough that maybe some day I'll be able to truly unleash my inner eight-year-old.
Special Note: This is the second in a series of blogs about our values: COURAGE. OPTIMISM. CONTRIBUTION. SILLINESS. CURIOSITY. GROWTH. I founded Tailored Output to help you accomplish The Impossible. And curiosity is a critical component of that work. Because without curiosity we will hold ourselves back from finding a unique path. I promote Curiosity, here, like I promote all of our values, even when it would be expedient or social to abandon them for a little bit.
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