Two weeks after my 18th birthday, my sister was born.
While I didn’t expect this to be a life-changing event, it turned out to be one.
Over the past five years, Simge taught me why it’s so important to keep our inner child alive instead of taking life too seriously.
While adults often live their life according to the standards of society, children are focused on making the most out of every moment.
The Personal Growth Toolkit
Grab our free eBook with 42 effective & actionable tactics, resources & tools to elevate your life.
If you’ve ever watched a child for a few minutes, you know what it means to be fearless, courageous, and curious.
Yet, by watching my sister for five years, I learned so much more:
You’ll Never Get Something You Don’t Ask For
One of the biggest mistakes we make as adults is that we fail to communicate openly.
We want others to understand our desires, wants, and needs without sharing them openly. And whenever others fail to figure out what we wanted, we’re offended.
Children, however, do the contrary. Simge tells me what she wants without hesitation.
Every time I visit my parents, I bring her small presents such as a coloring book, magazines, or card games.
And each time before I leave, she asks me if I can again bring her presents when I come back. Most of the time, she even tells me what exactly she’d like to have.
That way, she is happy and I’m glad because A) I don’t have to come up with ideas myself and B) it’s impossible not to be satisfied when you bless a 5-year-old.
If she wants new toys, she asks for it.
If she wants to go to the park, she asks for it.
And if she wants to have a dog, she also asks for it.
Of course, she doesn’t always get what she wants. But without asking, she’d get none.
How you can do it:
Your life could be so much easier if you’d just ask for what you want.
Of course, it’s nice to be surprised by our loved ones, but so is communicating openly.
The world is crowded and most of us are busy.
We’re living in a fast-paced world and experiencing a massive information overflow throughout our days.
Instead of expecting others to interpret your desires, share them openly.
Instead of expecting your partner to help out with the household, ask them to complete specific tasks.
Instead of expecting your boss to give you a raise, schedule a meeting, be well prepared, and ask them.
You have nothing to lose but so much to gain by asking for what you want.
As Anais Nin once said:
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”
Your courage to tell what you want can make a massive difference in the quality of your life.
Sometimes, You Need to Bite Off More Than You Can Chew
Children bite off more than they can chew all the time.
Toddlers try to get up and walk without knowing how to actually do it.
They want to dress themselves up (which often takes ages) instead of letting mum and dad help them.
They want to play on bigger playgrounds and so on.
And even though they sometimes fall and hurt themselves while going on these small adventures, they never shrink back from trying it again.
My sister continually bites off more than she can chew.
She wants to go on the biggest rollercoaster, buy books and games beyond her age, and keep up with anyone despite the age difference.
She started practicing karate a year ago and she sincerely believes that she could win a fight with anyone.
But what’s even more important is that she isn’t afraid of falling or getting hurt. Whenever she dares to do something beyond her age or skills, she’s so excited and happy about doing it at all that she doesn’t care about winning.
While adults tend to see scars as a sign of failure, kids view them as badges of honor.
How you can do it:
For children, it’s normal to start from scratch if they’ve never done something before.
But once we grow up, we tend to be afraid of saying yes to new adventures.
We don’t want to dare something without knowing if we can cope with it. Yet, by being reluctant, we often miss great opportunities.
There’s a thin line between dumb decisions and calculated risks and quite often, these calculated risks can turn out to be our biggest teachers.
Particularly if it’s a deep desire, it might make sense to bite off a little more than you can chew and to say yes to a fantastic opportunity. Once you say yes, you’ll figure out how to handle it anyway.
As Sheryl Sandberg once said:
“If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat. Just get on.”
To live life to the fullest, we sometimes need to ignore our rationality.
Whatever it is that you want to achieve, you’ll never know what your chances of success are unless you give it a shot and dive into it.
And each mistake you make in life might take you one step closer to achieving something worthwhile.
Have at Least One Plan B
Whenever my sister wants to play a game, she asks us if we wish to play this or that.
She never asks if we want to play with her.
She knows what she wants and is dead sure about getting it.
By asking that kind of either-or question, she doesn’t even allow us to say no. Instead, she asks us to choose from two alternatives, which would both make her happy.
How you can do it:
If you really want something and are afraid that your suggestion might be declined, think of a Plan B before even asking for Plan A.
Being well-prepared can be a massive door opener in many life-changing situations.
If you want to play a game, have at least two suggestions.
If you want a raise, come up with two different ideas or various benefits your boss might grant you, even if a raise isn’t possible.
If you want to go on a date with your partner, look for two alternatives they might enjoy.
As Benjamin Franklin once said:
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
Instead of accepting a rejection, put some effort into creating a Plan B or even a Plan C.
Sometimes, being persistent and presenting that second option can turn a no into a yes.
Every Day Is a Fresh Start
“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” — L.M. Montgomery
When we go to bed in a bad mood, we usually wake up with that lousy mood the next morning.
While we sleep, our brains process the information we consumed throughout the day, including our emotions and feelings. And what we feel and think close to bedtime plays a particularly important role.
Thus it’s important to take care of what you watch, read, and do before going to bed.
And while you might often see adults in a bad mood right after waking up, you’ll barely notice the same with children.
During the past five years, I’ve never seen my sister being grumpy in the morning.
She jumps out of bed right after waking up and is ready for the day.
She doesn’t care whether she fell off the swing yesterday or whether she failed in a game. All she cares about is living the current day to the fullest and making the most out of each minute.
While adults often take their problems to bed and wake up with negative thoughts, children view each day as a fresh start.
How you can do it:
One of the main lessons we all can learn from children is to forget and forgive quickly.
Children can be sad too, but what differentiates them from adults is that they don’t accept feeling sorry for themselves. Instead, they cry out loud for a few moments but quickly turn back to their happy-selves and keep going.
Every morning, you can choose how to start your day: You can start off in misery, worrying about the mistakes of yesterday, or you can embrace each day as a fresh opportunity.
Before going to bed, take a few minutes to reflect on the past day. Write down what you learned and what you want to improve or avoid in the future.
Allow yourself to finish your days consciously so that you can start each day without the burden of the previous one.
Moving Your Body Will Help You Feel Energized
Each time I spend a day with my sister, I’m surprised by how energized she is.
She could stay at the playground for hours without complaining about being tired.
Compared to most adults, children seem to have much more energy.
They could play all day and still feel more energized than the majority of adults with an office job and an inactive lifestyle.
How you can do it:
One powerful way to feel more energized is to use your energy.
You won’t ever feel energized by sitting on the couch and watching Netflix.
Instead, get up, go outside, and move your body.
Use the fuel inside your body to get in motion and see how you’ll slowly but surely feel more energized.
Being lazy today will likely result in a lazy tomorrow. If you want to live life to the fullest, you need to get active and move.
And the best way to incorporate more movement into your daily life is by doing activities that excite you.
It’s so much easier to do sports if you love what you’re doing. Children love being in motion; that’s why they’ll never stop playing unless they have to.
There are so many different types of physical activity to choose from and if you do some research, you might even find lots of opportunities for low prices.
You can, for instance, browse through meetup.com and connect with people in your neighborhood and plan some activities together.
You might also find hundreds of Facebook groups full of people in your city who’re looking for accountability buddies to do more sports.
The internet provides endless opportunities, you just need to take some time and get moving.
Over the past five years, my sister taught me so much more than anyone else I’ve ever met.
She taught me how to be brave, get what you want, and believe in yourself, even if you fall a dozen times.
According to Bronnie Ware’s The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying, three of the most common regrets of older people are:
“I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected to me.”
“I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.”
And: “I wish I had let myself be happier.”
If you look at children, you’ll quickly realize that they’re doing a few things right compared to most adults.
Children aren’t afraid to express their feelings, be happy, and do whatever they desire.
It’s absurd that we seem to know how to live a great life when we’re young but force ourselves to avoid doing the things that genuinely matter once we grow up.
Sometimes, it’s better to ask yourself, “What’s the worst thing that can happen?!” and dive into an unknown adventure instead of living your life as the servant of society.
Without mistakes and failure, you probably won’t learn anything new and never know what you could’ve achieved.
Want to continue growing?
Grab our free Personal Growth Toolkit with 42 effective & actionable tactics, resources & tools to elevate your life.