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27 Apr

Act Like an Adult OR Act Like a Child

by Jay Fox, CMP, Line of Sight

In our early teens many of us hear the line, “act like an adult!” For many things this is sound advice – responsibility, accountability, manners, getting a job, or building strong relationships. However, when it comes to learning new skills and handling change – that may not ring true.

Before you start stamping your feet and getting angry, give me a chance to tell you where I’m coming from!

Change ManagementChildren are impressionable and for the most part, they haven’t formed ingrained habits of doing things a specific way. Their days are filled with experiencing and learning new things. Kids are pretty flexible and resilient, responding much better to change than adults. When faced with a challenge, if kids don’t receive specific guidance to overcome it – they will try what they think will work and if that doesn’t work – they’ll try something new and usually learn from their mistakes. Most adults in work environments wait to be told what to do, when to do it, and how to do it because they are not empowered to make these decisions on their own. Kids on the other hand are explorers by nature – they want to experience everything – they get bored if they are not challenged. They love to learn – sometimes it is about school (but not always), mainly it is about life in general – video games, sports, driving, dating, relationships, and more!

By the time we become adults we’ve lost much of that desire to learn and willingness to take chances. Whether beaten down by bad experiences, bored with our current circumstance, or cynical about others’ intentions, we often defer to our old ways instead of finding new ones. We substitute this with a desire for stability, routine, and reduced risk (our “comfort zone”). Adults cope with change by using their heads and relying on logic. By contract, children follow their hearts as much as their heads – they trust their creative instincts and intuition. They haven’t been around long enough to learn from the past – they truly think outside the box, because they haven’t yet climbed into the box. Don’t believe me?? Look at the picture…what is it? Now show this picture to a young child and ask them the same question to see how your answers differ.

Kids don’t fear the future and the change that comes with it (even though the future may be unpredictable) – they meet it head-on everyday! Children learn more and learn faster than we do as adults. Regarding learning new skills and managing change – maybe we should take our cue from the kids…take more calculated risks and stretch our minds to embrace the changes that we’ll face.

Go ahead – act like a child!!

“You miss 100% of the shots you never take.”
Wayne Gretsky
(Hockey Legend)

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