When was the last time you took a good look and appreciated the way children view the world? I mean, really paid attention? They look at the world with wonder and excitement and we can learn much from this. In today’s post I will provide a few lessons you can learn from children… It doesn’t even need to be your own children:)
Children delight in the moment. They are often completely lost in the moment and this is to their benefit the majority of the time. Delighting in the moment allows you to forget about your fears of the future and the regrets of the past. Living in the moment and delighting in the moment allow your mind to rest in a very unique way. For those who want more information, I am planning on writing another post within a week on the benefits of mindfulness.
Children look at the world, even the smallest details, with curiosity. A child will appreciate the wind, the way the rain is falling, and how their breath comes from their mouth on a -40 degree day! These three weather phenomena are often complained about by adults, but children change the situation into something wonderful because of their perspective. Perspective is everything when it comes to attitude. If you want a far better attitude in life, learn curiosity from a child.
Along with my last point, children see the extraordinary in the ordinary. This, again, is a gift that allows delight and interest in any activity. It has another benefit as well… When you notice the wonder in simple, every day objects you will be able to slow yourself down. Our minds run a mile a minute and are often full of thoughts that do not benefit us. One way to slow you thoughts down is to give complete focus to minute details of an object, one of your five senses, or an emotion. When was the last time you paid attention to the food you put in your mouth? I had a former colleague who often mentioned, honestly, that most people pay attention to what they are eating at two different points: When they first open the bag of chips, and when their hand hits the bottom of the bag. What would it be like to fully enjoy each chip? It would allow two things: You would enjoy the experience far more, and you would probably not eat as many chips in one sitting because you would stop when you feel satiated (or when your mouth stops enjoying the experience because of the massive salt content).
Children often operate from a place where they accept things as they are rather than expecting something else and being disappointed, especially new experiences. An example is that my children were excited about our current vacation. We had talked about what it might be like in various ways. It has rained for 4 of the past 5 days and the kids haven’t complained once! Their focus isn’t on what could be, but what is. The fact is that rain in Maui is quite warm and when in the water body surfing and boogey boarding we don’t even notice the rain. There are other positives; other families and couples aren’t spending as much time on the beach so we really have most of it for ourselves. When you begin to accept things as their are and delight in the advantages that each situation brings with it (Canadian winters are beautiful when cold and snow covered and we don’t have as many large poisonous insects because they do not survive the cold winters) you will begin enjoying each day rather than looking for something greener.
So, how can you foster a childlike spirit in the every day of life and enjoy the benefits I’ve mentioned? Here is a tip that will help you begin: Look at people, your house, walking, plants, food, situations, weather, or communication experiences as if you are experiencing it for the first time. To do this every day all day will be difficult at first and probably impractical. But when you foster a certain perspective of looking at the world you will begin to enjoy the world and every day experiences far more. I was told by a good friend a few months ago that I am childlike in certain ways. Not childish, but childlike. I took this as a great compliment! I have also been told by certain people with terrible attitudes that they question whether I am truly this happy all the time. The truth is that I am not always happy. I experience other emotions on a regular basis, but I also enjoy life on a regular basis. The reason I do is that I have practiced lessons I have learned from children. I suggest you try the same. Ignore those people in your life that attempt to bring you down to their level of attitude and instead change yourself and the people around you by fostering a great attitude!