When you first commence parenthood, you will probably expect to learn a lot, just like I did.
What I didn’t realise when I became a father was that my children would teach me about how to live a fulfilled and successful life.
My children, who are now 6 and 4 years old, have taught me the most fundamental and critical factors that determine the quality of life.
These factors will absolutely have a dramatic effect on your life, if you choose to follow what I have learnt. This has nothing to do with parenthood and everything to do with how to live a fulfilled life.
Here is what I have learnt from my children:
1. Don’t care about trying to fit in.
In our society, the idea of not fitting in and being different can be quite terrifying! We are taught throughout our lives that fitting in and compliance are positive attributes. On the most basic level, look a school uniforms, we make unique and special individuals look identical.
We do this in our society consistently, slowly removing our individuality and building the concept that being different is bad or negative. After all we know what happens to those that are different… they are laughed at and made fun of.
Young children on the other hand simply do not care – they are absolutely true to themselves in every way possible. They are not bothered if other people see them differently, in fact it doesn’t even enter their minds! They live and embody the person they are with pride and passion.
Here is the kicker: It is IMPOSSIBLE to be truly happy when you compromise who you are. Spending your life trying to ‘fit in’ means that you will never give the world your full potential. We are ALL different, none of us ‘fit in’ to the stereotypes we have created.
You can stand out. You can be exceptional. You are amazing and full of huge potential. Be like a child and let the real you shine like the sun – The world deserves the very best you, You deserve the very best you… Be brave, stand out!
2. Live in the present moment.
“Learning to live in the present moment is part of the path to joy”
Sarah Ban Breathnatch
Children enjoy the magic of now. They see the world with wonder, savouring everything around them.
As adults we tend to spend so much time either worrying and thinking about the past or planning and worrying about the future. So much so that we neglect the beauty and magnificence of right now!
The feeling of being absorbed in the present is wonderful. Children do it all of the time and remembering we have this skill is a fundamental building block of happiness. Read any book on how to be happy and one of the key factors will be about enjoying and being grateful for the present moment.
Here are the facts: You can’t change the past, it has gone. You can’t control the future either, as you will never have complete control of all factors involved.
What you can do is control yourself and the actions you take right now – If you think about it, the present moment is the only real moment you ever have – use it, enjoy it, live it and love it!
This doesn’t mean you should completely ignore the past or the future. Respect and learn from the past and have goals for the future. Just don’t spend all your time there.
3. Don’t worry about failing.
Children keep on taking action, they keep on trying until they win. It is as simple as that – Learn to walk? Keep on taking action until they win. Learn to stack building blocks? Keep on taking action until they win.
The concept of failure isn’t even in their minds – they don’t worry about looking silly, they don’t quit or concern themselves with what other people might think. They don’t care if they fall, it is just a part of the process. So they fall, they learn, they take more action…until they win!
Yet in our adult lives the fear of getting something wrong can be terrifying – So rather than take a risk, we will play it safe. We won’t take the action we need to take… instead we will take the action that is easiest to do!
That will, of course, limit us.
It will affect the quality of our lives dramatically. Take your current life as an example – Once upon a time you had a dream (maybe you still do). To achieve that dream you will have to take risks, you will have to fail lots of times and you will have to show real grit and determination to keep on pressing forward until you win.
If you are fearful of failing, then you simply won’t take the action required to win.
However, if you do take the action required everyday… Then you will experience hardship, BUT over time, you will become significantly closer to your dream.
This is true with ANY goal… Take the required action… everyday… no matter what… and one day you will win!
Children know this. Maybe we should all be more like them?