- Flickr/Lauren Hammond
If you arrived at your office tomorrow wearing “Frozen”-themed footie pajamas, you’d likely get some bewildered stares, and might even get sent home to change.
But there are certain times when it’s OK – even wise – to act like a child. Kids often know better than grown-ups how to learn quickly and form meaningful relationships.
To learn how to embrace our inner child, we checked out the Quora thread, “What can adults learn from children?” and highlighted the most insightful responses. Read on to find out what your past self can teach your present one.
1. It’s OK to ask for help.
“When you’re a kid, your entire life depends on the support and the help of your parents. Without them we would be nothing,” says Quora user Yann Girard. “Unfortunately, along the way of growing up we somehow lose the capability of being able to accept any sort of help.”
That’s unfortunate, because research suggests that asking for advice can make you seem more competent and can flatter the person whose counsel you’re seeking.
2. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable will help you make friends.
Scientists say one of the things that facilitates the formation of friendships is an environment that encourages people to open up to each other. Because kids are generally more willing to self-disclose than adults (in any environment), they form close relationships quickly.
- Flickr/Tommy Wong
3. It’s important to acknowledge your emotions.
“We bottle up our emotions because we don’t want others to think badly of us,” says Simranjeett Singh. “However, children don’t act that way. They acknowledge and let out their emotions. Children will let you know when they are hurt, confused, angry, sad, or happy.”
It isn’t always easy to come to terms with – or even identify – what you’re feeling, especially if it’s intense or painful. But accepting your emotions is just as important as accepting other people’s emotions, psychologist Karyn Hall, Ph.D., writes on Psychology Today.
4. You don’t know everything.
Preeti Pillai advocates being curious and asking simple questions, just like kids do.
“With the accumulation of educational degrees and more passing time we often get the feeling that we have the answer to everything,” Pillai says. “We are so, so wrong!”
Beyond seeming humble, curiosity has myriad benefits. For example, it strengthens your personal relationships because you spend time listening, and it boosts your performance at work because you always want to learn and improve.
5. You can try new experiences before you’re fully prepared.
Kids don’t wait until science suggests they’re ready to remove the training wheels on their bike – they just hop on and see what happens.
Writes Sunanda Guha:
Despite the fact that they are cognitively, developmentally and even physically unprepared for most of what the world has to offer, children are the masters of jumping feet-first into unknown waters. They aren’t worried about meeting the pre-requisites for new activities. They say ‘yes’ first and then figure the rest out as they go. It’s a strategy us security-obsessed adults could learn a little something from. Kids are living proof that we don’t always have to be fully prepared in order to move forwards.
- Flickr/Savannah Lewis
6. There’s a whole world out there to explore.
Kids are keen observers of everything around them, writes Sharmistha Das:
“Go for a walk with a kid and do the same with [an] adult … use the same route. You will be surprised at the different things you end up noticing and explaining about when you are with [a] kid. Age tends to make us oblivious to nature.”
Observing is a key skill of innovators, according to the authors of “The Innovator’s DNA.” Watching people’s everyday behavior can help you figure out the solutions to problems you or your organization are facing.
7. Unfamiliar people and ideas aren’t scary.
Amigo Oak notes that kids often demonstrate acceptance without prejudice:
As we grow we let our experiences cloud our innermost desire to explore and be curious of things that are totally alien to our minds. We are scared of change and our mind is suspicious of anything that is new or against what we believe. Having beliefs is a part of growing up and it is a good thing, however, completely losing the ability to boldly embrace a new idea or something we do not know, without being prejudiced is a huge price to pay.