Life from the eyes of a baby
We were all babies once – where we enjoyed life to the fullest and believed that nothing was impossible. As we grew older we started to have many doubts about ourselves and whe baby just tries and tries until the baby succeeds. Does the baby fall down while learning? Of course. Does the baby get it right the first time? Of course not. Does the baby repeatedly fall? Almost always. However the thought of failure never comes into the babies mind. If there is no possibility of failure – there can only be success! So the baby is just enjoying life. No fear, total confidence in being looked after, and with full curiosity – wanting to see everything. Isn’t that wonderful!
Living in the moment – being flexible to changes
The baby is also living in the moment – not worrying about what the next moment is going to be – is it going to be a ‘vertical or horizontal movement’ next for instance but being flexible to the invariable changes that will occur – taking them in the figurative stride and still enjoying life to the fullest.
Other lessons from babies
- Self Criticism: A baby when learning to walk is never self critical. Amongst many failures – the baby always picks himself up – or is picked up by the parents – and is then eager to start the journey again – having a deeply ingrained belief that success is soon going to follow. Have you ever noticed a baby who beats himself up saying, “I am so stupid, I can’t even walk. I keep failing so I will stop trying”? Whatever happens, the child gets up and tries once more. A big lesson in that for us adults I think.
- Never worries about who is watching: Doesn’t really care! You know that sometimes when we are trying to learn something new we are worried or shy about who may be watching. One of the best examples of this is when someone is trying to learn another language and for lots of us Sri Lankan’s – learning English. I see this over and over in organizations we do work for. Lots of employees are being sent for English classes – and sometimes repeatedly. However they don’t want to practice speaking in public. Why? They are scared that people watching may laugh if they make a mistake – or they are shy of speaking and making a mistake. So practice doesn’t happen and therefore the language is never mastered. We cannot master or even develop any skill without practicing so this is no surprise.
As you no doubt agree it doesn’t matter at all as to who is watching. That in itself has no impact on the learning process, or the success of the attempt. Then what does it matter who is watching – we are trying to learn something and what the person watching thinks is up to them. Our task or focus should be on learning isn’t it!
- Has a single minded purpose: Have you noticed how there is always just one thought on the babies mind? So the focus is really complete – its either I am hungry, I want to see something, I need a change, etc. but it is single minded and the baby doesn’t give up till the purpose is fulfilled. Wow! Talk about clarity of focus and determination to succeed.
We comfort the baby
To conclude, when dealing with a baby, if the baby is distressed, falls over while trying to walk, etc., we are quick to pick the baby up and offer comfort. Once comfort is given the baby is quickly (mostly) pacified and then is eager to give single minded focus to something else. However what happens when we as adults or teens fail when trying to learn something new? You know that nothing new is learned easily. It takes some effort and multiple efforts before some level of success is reached. So multiple failures before success!
Who comforts us?
So who comforts us when we fail? Well most of the time – this task is left to us. But in reality when we try and fail at something, we tend to verbally beat ourselves up – with thoughts of inadequacy, stupidity, inferiority, etc. Does this help? Of course not! It actually makes the learning effort even more difficult and sometimes we stop the process entirely and give up.
What should we do? Just recognize that we need comfort also. And then make sure that our thoughts give it to us. So when you fail at something – just pick yourself up – give yourself a pat on the back – and then get right into it once more. Success will finally come!