Seeing into a childs mind from the heights of that of an adult is just so hard, and not because we are so much taller. The reality is that something has changed, almost permanently that we would do well to recognise and utilise more in our adult lives. So what has changed and how can we get it back?
Repetition, repetition, repetition…
Kids inner desires are shown by analysing their patterns of behaviour. By patterns I mean, repetition, in fact; repetition, repetition, repetition… Once they find something that they can do, they just keep on doing it. If they find a film they love they’ll watch it to the point that they know and can mime the words religiously, even the shocking bits will have them creaking behind the sofa again and again. If children learn to make a sand castle, they’ll make a fortress out of them. If they learn to ride a bike up a curb then then they’ll ride a curb even if it isn’t an obstacle in their way.
I suppose that’s not very far from what we do as adults. We find a job (something that we can do) and then we build a career (just keep on doing it) on our doing. But they don’t have to repeat their tasks to pay the rent or mortgage, yet they still do, do, do. So what drives them if it’s not money?
From an adults perspective, we may just switch off from their repetitive play but there is something going on that perhaps we should be noticing, or remembering to do more ourselves. After all we were all children once and we got to adulthood from a background of repetition.
Egotism, self-indulgence or boredom
If the art of repetition is a tool towards gaining a greater self esteem then why don’t we do it ourselves, more than we do already. Is it logic that won’t allow us to carry out a task more than is necessary? Is it wisdom that tells us to stop and move on once we have completed our planned activity? Or is it that boredom and predictability happens so much quicker in the adult brain that we simply cannot tolerate another round of swing-ball?
Specialism hides your weaknesses
We do have our own adult version of repetition, it’s called specialism. We apply it to our careers and our weekend activities. We repeat the practice (whatever that maybe) but we rarely repeat the act, we try it somewhere else. We seek out different as often as possible and let go of repeating just about anything and everything. We apply our experience and acquired knowledge to a select few things and get great at them. Pick any sport, if it is a sport that has been in your life for more than a decade then you are getting close to being a specialist. Unfortunately it is often something we hide our weaknesses behind, think about it.
So, what is the difference between repeating something that is within our ability or becoming a specialist at something. The difference is that kids repeat everything that they enjoy whereas adults repeat only the things that we are good at. Anything that we find hard we put to one side, never to be tried again. It is perhaps why society has become so complicated, Jack-of-all-trades is something to be sneered at in modern times, as this means master-of-none in the world of the big people. Try writing that in your next job application, ‘I can do most things quite well but nothing really well’. It just doesn’t come across the way you want it to. However writing, ‘I can do most things really well and something’s exceptionally well’ has far more impact.
You can’t teach a old dog new tricks
So what can you glean from this short article, what’s the message? The message is simple, think like a kid sometimes, get in touch with your youthful side and find simple enjoyment from the act of repeating something new. Avoid dismissing tasks with the statement, “I’m too old for this” and start thinking with the enthusiasm of a child. The saying, ‘You can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ should make you shudder at the thought. If you think like a young dog then you’ll learn like a young dog, it’s just a matter of repetition, repetition, repetition…