the friday five: lessons from my five-year-old self

It has been a busy week and sadly, my blog has gotten the cold shoulder as a result.

I know I usually do my “Friday Five” post but I thought I’d shake things up a bit to keep things interesting.

We always hear, “hindsight is 20-20” and “if only I could have had the wisdom I have now when I was younger.”

While we certainly learn a great deal over the years, through our mistakes, experiences and life lessons – sometimes I think I had more figured out when I was five years old, still dressed in innocence, optimism and overalls.

So today I’m sharing the five lessons to live by from my five-year-old self:

  • Find joy in the small things. Not every single day is going to be spectacular in the sense that something extraordinary will happen. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a million little moments throughout the day that you shouldn’t stop and smile for. As kids we found the good in everything. If it rained it meant we could play in the mud. If it was Monday, it meant we got to go back to school and see our friends. Things that were mundane to the grown-up eye, such as sticks and rocks, turned in to games of swordfights against dragons to rescue trapped princesses. Take the time to slow down, put away the iPhone and appreciate the small things that often go unnoticed.
  • Be kind to others. As we grow older – this is one of the biggest things we forget to do. We get irritated at the person in front of us at the grocery store who takes too long to check out. We yell profanities at the guy who “drives like a moron” while stuck in traffic. We talk badly about people who may not do things the way we would. In kindergarten, you learn to be kind to your classmates… you share your toys, or your peanut butter and jelly sandwich. You help pick each other up when you fall off the monkey bars. It’s a community of kindness and respect. As adults – we need to remember the importance of respect, kindness and civility in our daily lives – when dealing with coworkers, with friends or even complete strangers.
  • Play hard. Working hard is important – yes – but playing hard is equally important. We had that figured out at a young age when we’d spend every last moment of sunlight climbing trees with our friends, coming home covered in grass stains and dried mud after our moms had called us in at least ten times to come and wash up for dinner. As adults, we need to reward ourselves for our hard work by finding time to laugh and have fun. Go on a vacation, even if it’s only a small one. Grab drinks with a friend after work and let loose. Pamper yourself for a day. Whatever you do, just remember that no matter how successful you are in life – none of it is worth it if you aren’t having fun and enjoying it along the way.
  • Never give up. We’ve all been faced with what has felt like an impossible task. How am I going to finish this in time? What if I can’t do what my boss wants me to do? What if I’m just not cut out for this? If we felt that way as kids… we probably would have never learned how to ride a bike. Or tie our shoes. Or count to ten. We tackled everything with such ferocity that we never stopped for a second to think, “but what if I can’t?” We just did. And it’s a page we should put into our own playbooks the next time we’re faced with a challenge or a difficult task.
  • Color outside of the lines. As kids we never worried about whether we were doing it the right way or the wrong way – all that we knew was that we were doing it our way. We learned by making our own mistakes, taking risks and trying something new. This kind of fearless approach can lead to so much more creativity and innovation in our professional lives. Even if it doesn’t always work out – you’d never know unless you tried.

I never gave my five-year-old self enough credit for her wisdom. Sometimes we think we have things all figured out the older we get when really… we may have had it figured out much sooner than we had ever realized.

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