Last year, I shared information about the most driven and successful people I’ve ever encountered. If you need a refresher, they sometimes poop their pants. Milk mustaches are a common occurrence. And they don’t take “no” for an answer. They get what they want.
In Part 2, I’d like to share a few additional pointers from the kids playbook for success.
They Ask “Why”– It’s incessant and charming at the same time. They’re curious! “Why is the sky blue?”. “Why do teachers know so much?”. “Why am I so hungry?”. “Why!” They want to know. They want to understand the full picture, and they ask without hesitation and without judgment. As adults, we often hear “why” as a warning or a judgment. “Why did you make that decision?” or “Why didn’t you do X, Y, Z?” It’s no wonder we don’t authentically ask “why” as much as we used to, with genuine childlike openness, curiosity and eagerness.
Everything They Want is on the Other Side of Fear – An extra-long slide? “Wwweeeeee!” down they go afraid, but laughing as they fly into our arms. Mom says not to go too fast on the bike? Challenge accepted! It’s not that kids are fearless. Sometimes far from it. But they use fear as fuel. Fear, to them, means something extraordinary is about to happen. Adults let fear stop them in their tracks and remain stuck, rarely moving past ordinary so they can experience extraordinary.
Failure Is an Opportunity to Try Again – Toddlers often fall as they’re learning to walk, and yet they keep getting up to try again. They don’t sit back and think to themselves “I guess I’ll just give up on this walking thing. I probably shouldn’t even try anymore.” They fall off their bikes, shed a few tears, and then get back on. They pee their pants and play through it. Failure is a chance to try again. It’s a temporary setback, not a permanent judgment of their ability or capability.
Kids go after what they want, whatever that is, when they want it. They don’t dwell on what didn’t work. “Success” to them means living in the moment and appreciating the journey. Even when it’s messy and requires new underwear.