Talks of imaginative outlooks and innovative approaches are ever-present in the corporate sphere. Yet how often do we, in reality, bring our thinking hats to the play? The business needs, time crunch, and stakeholder inputs often make us stick to instead tried and tested formulas. Over time this creates a rut leading to stagnation, even worse, burnout.
Adaptability, flexibility, humility, and curiosity are often associated with success in the professional arena. And guess what? These are genuinely reflected in every child. Play or otherwise, children always indulge in every activity with purpose and passion, living in the present moment. Instead of being mere busy bees, as adults, we can learn much from our childlike nature. Heraclitus puts it rightly,
“Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play.”
Upon hearing the term ‘childlike’, we tend to synonymize that with childish. But being childlike has nothing to do with overly playful and carefree behaviour. Instead, it refers to children’s positive attributes, like enthusiasm, creativity, innocence, and fun. Being more childlike is about seeing the world through a playful lens and applying it to everyday life.
Here are a few attributes ingrained within children that are perfect for breathing fresh air into your professional life.
Children are always eager to be involved in every task with their bodies and mind. Ever seen a young kid eat? Spoons, forks and a whole lot of mess. But the joy of completing the process on their own is indescribable. This inclination towards an experiential mindset allows them to explore every aspect of the undertaken activity.
Have you ever seen a young child grow tired of stumbling and falling while walking? It is beautiful to look at children with their free-spirited and ready-to-explore attitude. The absence of self-limiting beliefs propels them to be open to experience with a clean mind.
‘What’s this? How is this made?’ And so, the questions go on. While, as adults, we might grow tired of answering, kids never stop looking for new stuff. Children are often associated with a spirit of curiosity and inquisitiveness. They see the world around them with eyes of wonder and inquiry.
An inherent readiness to experiment and the courage to go ahead resides within every child. This helps them to embrace uncertainty and move on forward. They tend to learn from mistakes and move on instead of dwelling on them.
When Dr Seuss talks, you listen. No questions. But the critical question here is, how do we bring positive, unique childlike attributes to our workplace? So let us fall back on some resources we had in childhood that can help mould us into better business and technology leaders.
Being honest about who you are, what you want, and what you will or won’t accept is essential. Not everyone will like you, but those who want to be part of your team even more. Learn to say no and speak your mind positively and politely.
Stuck with an issue at hand and cannot think of any solution? First, take inspiration from how children hold an object in their hand and inspect it from every possible angle. Next, take your problem and look at it from the perspective of your consumer, team leader, colleague or friend.
Take a moment to slow down and look around you. Children always seem to be ready to interact and make new friendships. So why should you be held back? Instead, stay open to icebreakers and networking sessions. Take a genuine interest in the people around you.
In a professional setup, a feedback mechanism is part of life. Accepting constructive critiques from your co-workers, team leaders, partners, and stakeholders is better. Have you ever seen children stay down for long or pull a long face after being told about their mistakes? So, learn to move on from critical remarks in search of new and better adventures.
George Bernard Shaw puts it perfectly, ‘We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.’ Don’t push the moments of joy and fun to weekends. Take a pause and live in the moment. Along with your business etiquette, bring a refreshing breath of life into your professional journey with the timeless childlike nature.