Embracing My Inner Toddler – Why I Take Business Lessons From A Baby
Have you ever watched a baby or a toddler go after something they want? I have a 1 year old, so I spend the majority of my time as a parent, acting as a human barrier between him and whatever contraband he has his sights set on at that moment. Sometimes I win, sometimes I don’t.
We’ve gone to battle over the dog’s water bowl, the garbage bin and the toilet. The latest, a race to a cold cup of coffee I’d placed a mere millimetre too close to the edge of my desk. The world stood still as I watched chubby fingers stretch to their physical limits and send a tsunami of liquid across my paperwork.
As I’m sitting, after yet another day spent wrestling a solid 10kg of drooling determination, I can’t help but think how these daily battles are teaching me about business. See in all these instances, no matter the obstacle or the prize, his process is exactly the same. He finds something he wants, then he goes for it. And he doesn’t stop until his goal is reached.
All day I find myself saying ‘No!’ He understands what it means, sometimes he listens, but mostly he simply looks at me then goes for it anyway. He doesn’t allow obstacles or objections to deter him. And even though it can be a major inconvenience, I can’t but help admire him. He has a high success rate.
At the end of every day he’s learnt new things, discovered new capabilities, pushed the boundaries of his physical world and has achieved mostly what he set out too. Sure, you can argue that life is a little more complicated for adults, but really, is it? When you break it down to base elements, there’s not much difference.
Let’s face it, when he goes up against me it’s a David and Goliath battle. I’m 5 times bigger, 10 times stronger and sometimes smarter. Yet he persists. Yes, we need fear. Fear keeps us safe, it helps us identify dangers so we can live to fight another day. But fear to a toddler is not the same as fear to an adult. As adults we add a little extra to our base fear. The fear of failure.
Toddlers don’t suffer from this, he doesn’t care if he fails. In fact, he doesn’t even know what failure is! So if he isn’t successful in his pursuit, he simply gets up and tries again.
Somewhere along the way to adulthood, we’ve begun to believe that failure is bad. Instead of embracing failure and using it to learn and grow, we fear it. And it becomes such a big stumbling block in adults, that for some it’s enough to stop you even trying.
If I’m blocking his direct path, he’ll find a way around. He’ll climb, he’ll squeeze or he’ll barge his way through obstacles. If what he’s doing isn’t working he’ll stop, look around, and come up with something new. I’ve watched him reach for a bag of grapes on the benchtop and fall short. Only to see him leave and return with a toy to hook the grapes.
If you have a toddler near you now, just watch and observe the way they solve problems. Every problem has more than one solution and he’ll work the problem, using the resources he has available, until he’s successful.
He won’t give up until he achieves his goal. And when he does, he doesn’t stop to ‘saver it’, he’s straight onto the next thing. Barriers won’t stop him for long, objections from me don’t deter him. He has laser focus and unwavering will.
And it’s not just him, this is a toddler trait. When I’m out with friends and their toddlers, we’re all dealing with the same mindsets. It can be ‘annoying’ as parents but it makes perfect sense. If toddlers weren’t fearless, creative or relentless, how far would they get in life? How would they learn and grow? Walk, crawl and eventually run …
As adults, Business owners, Entrepreneurs and Thought Leaders, we have a lot to learn from him. If we want our businesses to grow. Walk, crawl and eventually run, we should be looking to him.
If we want to break barriers and be truly successful, then we all need to learn how to embrace our inner toddler.
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
SHARE THIS ARTICLE WITH LIKE MINDED SMALL BUSINESS PEOPLE