What Children Can Teach Us

Very nice post on Presentation Zen on “Communication and life tips that children can teach us“. They kick off with 13 but there are doubtless many, many more.

With adulthood comes responsibilities and ‘seriousness’ and one side-effect of this can be to unintentionally kill off some ‘childlike’ behaviours even though they can be highly beneficial.

The starting list is:

(1) Be completely present in the moment.

(2) Allow for spontaneity.

(3) Move your body!

(4) Play and be playful.

(5 ) Make mistakes.

(6) Do not concern yourself with impressing people.

(7) Show your enthusiasm.

(8) Remain open to possibilities and “crazy” ideas.

(9) Be insanely curious, ask loads of questions.

(10) Know that you are a creative being.

(11) Smile, laugh, enjoy. Take your work, very, very seriously, of course.

(12) Slow down.

(13) Encourage others.

Whilst all the above take place to varying degrees in organisations, I think that ‘Play and be playful’ may be the hardest to authentically incorporate as conventional business atmospheres are usually fairly sober (no pun intended).

It’s interesting that ‘playfulness’ came up as an important ingredient in this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics (the full interview is well worth reading):

The style of Geim’s lab (which I’m keeping and supporting up to now) is that we devote ten percent of our time to so-called “Friday evening” experiments. I just do all kinds of crazy things that probably won’t pan out at all, but if they do, it would be really surprising. Geim did frog levitation as one of these experiments, and then we did gecko tape together. There are many more that were unsuccessful and never went anywhere (though I still had a good time thinking about and doing those experiments, so I love them no less than the successful ones).

That science should be fun, and you don’t always need to do expensive multi-million dollar experiments to be on the cutting edge of research

This topic also reminded me of a recent post by Seth Godin on the differences between childish and childlike behaviours!

Childlike makes a great scientist.

Childish produces tantrums.

Childlike brings fresh eyes to marketing opportunities.

Childish rarely shows up as promised.

Childlike is fearless and powerful and willing to fail.

Childish is annoying.

Childlike inquires with a pure heart.

Childish is merely ignored.


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