Think back to the last time you felt truly free and happy.
For many, that point is back in childhood—when it was easy to imagine that anything that you wanted out of life—was possible. Somewhere along the way though—life happens, and we lose our sense of childlike wonder and innocence. Our passions become stifled by self-doubt and fear of what others might think. We’re afraid to fail, or even test the waters—and so we stop trying.
Before we know it, we realize that we don’t know what we want out of life—or where our true passions lie. Maybe you feel that you’re stuck in a job that’s a bad fit for you, or maybe you don’t feel a sense of hopelessness—like you’re constantly on a treadmill, going nowhere. Maybe you earned your degree in a field that others pressured you into, but this career isn’t something that you can see yourself doing for the rest of your life.
If this sounds like you, it may be time to return to your childhood, just for a moment. While your interests will have changed since you were five, what hasn’t changed is the fact that getting into that childlike sense of living the moment—of unfettered creativity and optimism for the future—could help to awaken your sense of creativity while freeing you up to discover things that you love and enjoy.
Studies show that when we fully immerse ourselves in ‘joyous doing’ as opposed to simply anxiously dwelling on issues, we can become more creative.
It’s worth a try!
Thinking like a child could help to free up your mind in ways you may have never imagined. Let’s look at how you can get into the mindset of thinking like a child—and discover for yourself what you’re passionate about. It could be a game changer!
Children question everything; they’re curious and want to learn! A child doesn’t see anything wrong with asking “Why?” They don’t see it as a limitation or weakness; they’re eager to learn and understand. Having a healthy curiosity, and asking questions—even about topics that you never thought you might be interested in—could help to open your mind, allowing you to make new discoveries.
“Steve Jobs was a master at bringing this childlike genius to product design,” writes Minda Zetlin, co-author of The Geek Gap. “When engineers told him the original iPhone just had to have more than one button, his rigorous questioning of their assumptions, and his child-like his insistence that they do it his way, led to one of the most successful product designs in history.”
Don’t Hold a Grudge
Children are amazing. One minute they are having a no-holds-barred fight with each other, and the next they are the best of friends. Children don’t hold grudges—at least not for long. When it comes to embracing your childlike side, it’s important to free yourself up from holding onto past grievances. This will only drain your energy and cause you unnecessary stress. Instead, resolve things, let go, and move on. You’ll achieve a lot more this way!
Don’t Be Afraid to Change Your Mind
Most children are constantly changing their mind. Just because they felt one way about something one day doesn’t mean that they’ll carry this opinion for life—or even for a week! When it comes to unleashing your creativity and discovering your passions, it’s much the same. You don’t have to remain the same person that you were when you started grad school. Life changes and we do too.
Author and health and wellness expert Susan Biali sums this up perfectly by outlining her experience with change. While she trained as a medical doctor, she realized that her passions lied elsewhere. In a bold move, she decided to pack up and move to Mexico to pursue her dreams of dancing and writing. In the end, it was the best decision that she could have made. It’s never too late to begin something new. Don’t be afraid to embrace your passions and live the life you were meant to.
Unleash Your Creativity
Kids are boundlessly creative. When kids are playing, they can turn a box into a fort, a car, or a house. They can create games out of thin air with the power of imagination. When you’re a child, your imagination is unrestrained by rules. This all changes, though, by the time you’re an adult. When you get older, you start to narrow your thinking as a result of entering “the real world.” You don’t flex your creative muscles as much, and you lose sight of what it means to be imaginative.
Thankfully, though, you can get back in touch with your creative side, and experience unabashed creativity—even as an adult. The secret? Thinking like a child! Researchers at North Dakota State University asked two sets of college students what they would do with a day off, and primed one group to think like a seven-year-old first. The results were clear. The groups that were told to think like a child regularly produced better, more creative answers. Thinking like a child could help you to unleash your creativity as well.
Notice What You Love
Kids are motivated and driven to pursue those things that they love! As adults, though, we feel embarrassed to admit that we love something! Society assigns value to things that win the approval of others and that are otherwise endorsed. We feel that without these endorsements, our enjoyments are somehow childish or perhaps just “guilty pleasures.” Instead of pushing your passions to the side, take the time to notice and embrace those things that you love! Not sure what you love? Pay attention to situations where time flies by—a good sign that you’re doing something that you love. Notice what makes you feel like a kid again—and what you wish that you had more time for. Then start making time for these things—fitting them in wherever you can. Your life will start to change in beautiful and positive ways!
Kids don’t think in terms of limits, and you shouldn’t either! Instead of feeling like you’ll never be able to accomplish your dreams—or dwelling on everything that could go wrong, spend some time focusing on what is possible. Regain confidence in yourself. Pay attention to your self-dialogue. Tell yourself that you are capable and that you can do it. If you want to discover your passions and make your dreams come true, you need to believe that you can accomplish them.
Finally, try to view life as an adventure. It can be if you make it one! Start by planning your days in your Day Designer—the original daily planner created to help you live an authentic, fully present, well-designed life.