The 7 Success Skills We Can Model From Our Children

Seven simple gifts that come naturally to children but that we seem to forget as we grow into adulthood. Practice those and watch the magic happen in your life.

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Success skills come naturally to children. As we grow into adulthood and lose some of our candour, we can lose sight of our most valuable skills. We get busy, we take on responsibilities and we seem to forget about the fun of it all. The great news is that we still have those resources within us, we simply need to access them and utilise them. So today, simply watch your children… I mean really watch them, observe how they experience the world and make sense of things, and how resilient this makes them. Here are 7 gifts that our children can inspire us to reignite.

Success Skill 1: Make it Fun!

Why so serious? When do you lose the ability to skip, jump up and down, burst into a song? Here’s when: when the filter through which you experience the world becomes tainted, when judgment clouds fun, when you don’t perceive yourself positively, when the demands of adulthood start to overwhelm and you don’t allow yourself the space to take a breath.

So, don’t take things too seriously. Make time to rest and have fun. Be playful. Do more of what you love doing and less of what you hate. Play games. Spend time with the people you love.

Success Skill 2: Keep It Simple

We adults tend to overcomplicate things. All. The. Time. I witness situations every day where adults -myself included- overanalyse events, attempt to anticipate what might happen, what might offend others, what consequences could occur. It is exhausting! Kids keep it much simpler and clearer. If you want something, say it. If you don’t want it, be honest about it. Don’t try to second guess what others might feel or want. Put the responsibility on others to speak for themselves.

So, if you want the last slice of pizza, just say so. Don’t try to guess who else might want it. If someone else wants it too, let them speak up and split the slice.

Success Skill 3: Use Your Imagination

Imagination is our most valuable and yet under-utilised talent. I watch my children play in their world of wonder, with spaceships and creatures, changing their thoughts and state within seconds, simply with the power of imagination.

Imagination is how cars and planes and rockets were invented, how the internet exists, how art brings us joy. Because the idea started in someone’s mind. Imagination makes humans limitless. Use yours. Imagining a happy situation will make you feel happy. Imagining what you could become will give you momentum and motivation to reach your goals. It makes everything possible and will be one of your greatest success skills!

Success Skill 4: Question Everything

If you don’t know, ask.  Have you ever been in a meeting and not dared to ask a question because you worried about how you would come across? This is so common! It leads to many misunderstandings that could be easily avoided by simply asking for clarification. This is particularly relevant in today’s world, with the constant misinformation and bias. Ask questions and really try to understand the answer. Have you ever tried to explain something to a child and they just don’t get it? But instead of politely agreeing after the second prompt, they keep at it, they persevere until they understand. Try to brush off a subject with a kid and you’ll see …’Mum, how do you make babies…?’ ‘Erm… well…. the stork’… And they just don’t stop questioning … They have no hold backs, just a pure desire to learn. Bring that genuine sense of curiosity back!

Success Skill 5: Be Fearless

Watch children try new things, hold a spider, climb up a wall, jump off everything. They don’t let fear hold them back. In fact, they often don’t even think of it. Aside from some innate fears (fear of falling, fear of loud noises), fear is often a leant behaviour. Because of this, it can be unlearnt.

Don’t let fear hold you back. Acknowledge the fear but do it anyway.

Success Skill 6: Don’t Hold a Grudge

Have you noticed how forgiving children are? They will literally forget about being wronged within minutes. My kids will feel the deepest hatred for each other one moment, and then be best of friends the next. They have that same love and connection back instantly, as if the dispute never happened. This capacity for forgiveness is extraordinary. And we all had it at some point in our lives. We have all forgiven an unfair punishment or a hurtful comment. We have it in us. Like children, our need for connection is much higher and deeper than our need for revenge. Let’s be reminded of that. This is probably one of the greatest and most freeing success skills.

Success Skill 7: Live In The Moment

Children are in the moment. They take things as they come. They have the ability to truly enjoy what is happening as it is happening. A story, a song, a dance, a meal, a game, a cuddle, an ice cream. They don’t need to project into the future or compare to the past. They are much more in tune with their emotions and also much better at recognising them and expressing them.

The first half of life is learning to be an adult – the second half is learning to be a child”.

Pablo Picasso

Adulthood doesn’t have to be solemn and heavy. Having a job and bills don’t exclude the right to have fun, brightness and light in your life. Actively seek joy and laughter, keep things simple, don’t hold a grudge and be present. Starting today, go back to the basics and watch the magic happen in your life and business. And this is not just about learning success skills. Take the opportunity to connect with your children, or the child you once were, and see how uncomplicated your life can be.

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