Why Acting Like a Child Will Make You Happier

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Jack Uldrich, business speaker and bestselling author of Foresight 2020, believes that thinking like a child could unlock new potential for adults. Have you ever been puzzled by Google’s endeavors to decorate their offices like playgrounds? Are their childish inclinations, in reality, a recipe for success?

Expert thought

We discussed this topic with neuropsychologist, Serhii Lytvyn, who points out the most miraculous thing about children—they have complete trust in their organisms. This isn’t a surprise… since children have nothing else to trust! The intellectual part of their brain is still underdeveloped. Kids listen carefully to the signals of their bodies and behave according to them. Mr Lytvyn calls this phenomenon an “inner reference”.

In practice, everything looks much easier. Let’s say you’re a child, sitting in the evening in front of a chocolate cake and feeling hungry. Would you think that this is an inappropriate time to eat? Or wonder how many hours in the gym you’d have to spend to burn those calories? Of course not.. As a child, you’d just eat the cake.

When we grow up, the situation changes. As Mr Lytvyn explains, we start socializing and absorbing other people’s opinions and values. Our “internal reference” changes to an “external” one. This is when the nightmarish question “what will others think?” begins controlling our lives. Unlike children, adults ignore the sincere, spontaneous responses of their organisms and tend to make decisions based on logic and rationality. Sadly, this is exactly what makes us miserable. We sink into the whirlpool of other people’s minds and personalities and eventually lose our own self.

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Acting like a child means going back to the very basics of your inner world—and there are some psychological methods to do that.

Get yourself a coloring book

If you’ve had a hard day at work, at the end of the day, try to switch on your inner child mode by immersing yourself into coloring books. It’s a powerful tool for recharging your batteries.

Neuroscientist Stan Rodski says that tasks with predictable outcomes, like knitting or coloring, trigger positive responses within our nervous system. Another brain scientist, Joel Pearson, via his study, proves that coloring is akin to meditation—it allows us to “upgrade” our brain. Such practices eventually enhance our decision-making and stress-resistance ability.

Since on that subject, there are plenty of coloring books designed particularly for adults. Give them a try and experience their refreshing powers.

Schedule your day

When thinking about childhood, we imagine a happy-go-lucky life, predominantly composed of ice cream and fun. In reality, kids’ days are generally strictly scheduled. Although children tend to despise timetables, this is exactly what we need to feel more relaxed about our lives.

Merrill Douglass, the author of Manage Your Time, Your Work, Yourself, believes that scheduling doesn’t only enhance your achievements and productivity. It changes the way you feel about yourself.

Scheduling your day can change the way you feel about yourself.

It’s certain, there are some differences between parents, composing a schedule for their kids, and being on your lonesome, grinding over a long-term life plan. Scheduling your routine may be a stressful factor. To minimize pressure, start with insignificant planning for the day or week ahead. Eventually, you’ll probably realize that having a strict(ish) plan gives you a feeling of confidence for the future along with the ability to easily control your life. Without doubt, it’s a good thing to feel positive in this constantly changing world.

Ask for help

While growing, children encounter a lot of confusing, unknown and even frightening things. Their pattern for overcoming those challenges is rather simple—they ask for help. As their gut feeling says, there must be someone wiser, more experienced people, who know how to achieve better than themselves.

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In the business world, though, asking for help frequently sounds like acknowledging your incompetence and weaknesses. However, refusing to ask for, and accepting help might be even more incompetent and devastating for your business. Listen to your inner child and ask for assistance whenever you need it.

Be an egoistic

It’s hard to imagine a situation, when you’ve asked a kid to eat the dreaded porridge and hear a polite “thank you, I’ll think about it” in response. Children know precisely their likes and dislikes and state them in the most direct manner. This ability to set your preferences higher than other’s may positively affect your business. The ability to say “no” and to maintain your needs and objectives in focus is one of the main rules for efficient entrepreneurship.

Stay hungry, stay foolish, stay curious.

Ironically, as we grow older, we also seem to revert back to a tendency of wanting to focus only on the things we like. We realize that life is too short for any other way of thinking.

Stay curious

“Stay hungry, stay foolish” amazing Steve Jobs said… and curious children would back that theory up. Kids are able to learn hundreds of new things in their strife to discover the world. Professor of psychology Gopnik thinks that, with aging, our need for new knowledge weakens—we know enough to live a normal life and don’t have an urge to learn more. However, following the example of those little explorers will preserve the flexibility and dynamism of your brain. As a result—you’ll learn faster, come up with more creative decisions and generally enjoy your superpowers.

The most incredible thing about children’s perception of the world, is their ability to see extraordinary things in ordinary life. Try to think back to the last time you’ve been jumping for joy like a child. If it takes you a long time to rack your brain, then it’s a good moment to bring your inner toddler back. Turn Nickelodeon on! Great times are ahead!