It"s Time to Feel Like a Kid Again

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My wife Carole and I often talk about how making big changes in our lives has made us feel like kids again.
To be learning new skills, meeting new people and taking on new challenges is so exciting we cannot even begin to tell you! Well, we want to quickly talk about a couple of other things that kids have got right and that we lose as we get older - and we feel it's time to reclaim that lost territory.
Just think about this for a moment - when a baby is born, it fears only two things, falling and loud noises.
So, what does that mean? However you believe we got here, either the process of natural selection or our creator believed the only things worthy of fear were these two - falling and loud noises - so these are what we start out with.
It's pure instinct and makes a lot of sense.
What else does it mean? Every single other fear we have, we have learned.
We have learned it from our parents, from our grandparents, from our siblings, from our schoolteachers, from our own experiences - you name it, if it doesn't fall into the category of falling or loud noises, we have learned that fear.
So, now we know that, does it not seem somewhat arrogant to hold on to those fears? If we hold on to them, are we not really saying that we are smarter than our creator or millions of years of evolution? By the way, we're not saying that you should now throw caution to the wind and start behaving recklessly.
You should eat healthily, always wear a seatbelt in the car and wear a helmet when cycling - that's just common sense and a way of stacking the odds in your favour.
Oh, and don't run with scissors.
But we are saying that fear should not play any part in any decisions we make about what we want to do with our lives.
Particularly fear of failing.
Successful people fail innumerable times but they don't let fear of failing turn them into failures.
We said we wanted to talk about a couple of advantages kids have over us - here's the second.
We were recently watching a lecture by Education and Creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson.
In it he talked about Divergent Thinking.
Now, we must admit, when he introduced the topic, we weren't sure what Divergent Thinking was! So, we were very grateful to Sir Ken when he explained that, while Divergent Thinking was not the same thing as Creativity, which he describes as "the process of having original ideas that have value", it was "an essential capacity for creativity - the ability to see lots of possible answers to a question, lots of possible ways to interpret a question, to think laterally, to think not just in linear or convergent ways, to see multiple answers, not one".
We thought this sounded pretty exciting - but we were blown away when we heard what he had to say next! He explained there were tests for Divergent Thinking - he gave the example of 'Think of how many ways there are to use a paperclip' and suggested most people would come up with 10 or 15 but someone who was a real Divergent Thinker may come up with 200 or more because they would not be constrained by our typical views of what a paperclip is, its dimensions and what it's made of.
The tests devised ask a series of questions and scores are calibrated such that a score over a given percentage indicates the candidate is a genius at Divergent Thinking.
In a particular study, the tests were given to 1,500 people with quite astonishing results.
Of the 1,500, 98% scored at genius level! Guess what age they were.
They were kindergarten children.
Between the ages of 3 and 5, almost every child is a genius at Divergent Thinking! Now, here's the rub.
They tested the same children again 5 years later and the percentage level had dropped to around 50% and they tested them all 5 years later and the percentages had dropped further still.
What has happened to these children - to us - in the intervening years? We have been educated - or, at least, we have been subjected to what passes for education.
If we look for the roots of the word educate, we find them in Latin in educare, which means 'to draw out of' in the sense of drawing the knowledge out of someone - not 'to cram into'! Too much of our education is devoted to telling children and not enough to encouraging them to ask new, surprising and exciting questions of us and of themselves.
We need to start asking those questions ourselves and to rediscover the genius that lies dormant within us all.
This is not an anti-education rant - far from it! As I've already said, we love to learn new things - it's this learning process that has made us feel like kids again.
What we really hope you will take from this article is the ability to shake off the fears you may have that hold you back and, then, once free of them, have the courage to think again like a child and let your imagination take you on the most wondrous adventures where you will identify new goals and new ways of achieving them.
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