At the insistence of my mastermind group, “five forever” has become my zoom handle. This came about as I related my experience at a friend’s birthday party where a five-year-old said to me “I’m going to sit next to you because you’re a silly person.”
Her statement brought a huge smile to my face as I thought “The five-year-old within me is a live and well.” Then I began to realize how much keeping that five-year-old alive has done for me.
I’ve regained my childlike curiosity. I’m currently reading The God Particle by Leon Lederman because I am fascinated by how brilliant physicists come to develop the knowledge they possess about how the universe works.
Even though I have no musical talent myself, I’ve been learning how to evaluate musical talent and what makes some songs work and others not.
This curiosity is lost by far too many adults as they strive to improve skills necessary to assure their livelihood. The curiosity of our toddler years is lost to the pragmatic needs of adulthood. It doesn’t have to be that way. Indeed, we’re healthier and happier when we engage in activities that intrigue us as well as those needed for the pragmatic needs of a livelihood.
Make it a habit to set aside some time each day, even if it’s only 15 minutes, to pursue your interests. You’ll soon find that you have more time than you think for the things you enjoy. And you won’t have to sacrifice the skill development required by your livelihood.
To toddlers, everything is new and exciting. They can’t get enough of the joy of exploration. When the excitement wanes, they don’t bemoan the loss; they seek new experiences to regain the joy of exploration.
It’s fun talking to toddlers because everything amazes them. Who among us wouldn’t like to experience that same joy and amazement each and every day? For toddlers, it’s a natural state of being. For adults, it’s a choice. Choose to be amazed by all the new that you experience on a daily basis…for there is something new to be learned each and every day.
Toddlers have fun with everything they do. When it’s no longer fun, they shift their focus to something that is. No regrets, no wasted energy bemoaning the loss of fun, just a simple shift in focus to what’s fun.
We adults get too caught up in what’s right and wrong, good or bad, what’s needed versus what’s wanted. In each instance, we’re judging things, often without the benefit of experience; certainly without realizing that nothing is all good or all bad, all right or all wrong. They also forget that we don’t need anything, but we desire many things.
When we elevate something beyond desire to need, we place a burden upon ourselves of our own making. That burden takes the fun out of the pursuit of their dreams. Toddlers don’t do that. They pursue with curiosity and excitement, unburdened by the mantle of need.
If, like me, you’ve retained or regained your toddler spirit, kudos to you. I’m happy for you. You’re living a life of joy.
If you’ve lost that toddler spirit, no worries. I had lost mine for a time early in my career and regained it a few years later. The difference is huge. People often comment that I’m always sporting a smile, that I have an aura of success, that I’m able to remain calm while others are frantic. All of these are directly related to my having regained my toddler spirit. How did I do it?
I spent time each day pursuing things that interest me. As a result of this pursuit, fun and excitement returned to my life, but curiosity had not. I realized that I needed to pursue things that didn’t initially interest me to regain my curiosity. It felt like a daunting task until I realized that if I limited my time in exploring things that didn’t interest me, it would be more palatable. So I limited my effort to 15 minutes a day.
Somewhere along the line in this pursuit, I learned something that would help me in my work. This realization got me to wondering “What am I going to learn today that will help me in some other aspect of my life?”
As I continued to approach things that didn’t initially interest me, I found myself automatically asking this question: “What am I going to learn that will help me in some other aspect of my life?” With each insight gained, my curiosity grew to the point that my toddler curiosity was fully regained. I am now spending an hour or more a day joyfully exploring things that would previously held no interest for me. All because I’ve discovered how what I learn has multiple applications in my daily life.
Your toddler interest will return more quickly when you ask yourself “What am I going to learn from this experience that will help me in some other aspect of my life?“
For our kids
Help your kids retain their toddler curiosity, excitement and penchant for fun, primarily by living it yourself.
When they’re asked to do something they don’t enjoy [there’s always some aspect of school work], ask them “What are you going to learn that will help you with [something they enjoy]. By focusing their mind on creating relationships between what they “have to do” with want they enjoy doing, you help them retain the curiosity that’s often lost as we get older…as more demands are put upon us.
The retention of their curiosity assures that they’ll continue to enjoy the excitement and fun of their toddler years. You and they will, like me, become five forever.
Let others know that you love them by sharing this blog post. They’ll appreciate that you care.
I love hearing your thoughts and experiences, please share you five-forever stories in a comment.
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