Release your Inner Child
It may be hard to believe but entrepreneurs can learn a lot from children. As a society, we spend a lot of time teaching our kids how to be adults, but how often do we step back and see what we can learn from them. There are so many benefits entrepreneurs can learn from the traits and childish activities of our children.
1) Be Inquisitive
Too often as a society, we accept our reality for what it is, without ever questioning it. Kids have a natural curiosity, always wanting to know how something works or even asking why the sky is blue. This curiosity is the road to innovation and can so often be lost in adulthood. However, if you can break the social stigma, who knows what you might come up with?
“Children astound me with their inquisitive minds. The world is wide and mysterious to them, and as they piece together the puzzle of life, they ask 'Why?' ceaselessly.”
2) Be frugal
Remember back to when you were a kid and ask yourself have you ever valued money the same way you did then? I remember saving a jar of pennies and counting them every week to see how much I had accumulated, feeling like I was rich. Often, this level of financial responsibility can be outgrown.
It is essential that entrepreneurs are resourceful and conservative with their budgets. The difference between success and failure for an entrepreneur can simply be down to poor money management rather than any fundamental flaw in their business idea.
“He who will not economize will have to agonize.”
3) Be Inventive
From turning a cardboard box into a spaceship or using the furniture cushions to make a fort, children are always finding creative uses for conventional items. With the world as your oyster, could you come up with a new creative use for a specific product and turn it into a business?
“Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up”
4) Don’t be afraid of failure
One of the most refreshing things about children is their ability continually take risks. They aren’t afraid to try and fail; if they fall they get straight back up and try again. It’s quite refreshing to watch, and we as adults can take a huge lesson from it. I’m not saying be irresponsible and take needless risks but like children, all entrepreneurs are risk takers and thus need to be willing to take some failure and keep going.
“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
5) Be Social
In a child’s world, the word shy doesn’t exist. They have no problem walking right up to each other and introducing themselves. For some reason as adults, we tend to grow out of this. Socialising or networking, as it is known in the business world, is an incredible tool for entrepreneurs as it gives them connections that can assist their business interests to thrive.
“Greet everyone as if they were your friend with the innocence and curiosity of a child. As they are. We are all part of the one human race.”
6) Learn from those with experience
As children, we are completely reliant on our parents for everything and constantly pick their brains looking for endless amounts of answers, but as we move into adulthood this dependency dwindles. However, the premise of having someone more experienced and knowledgeable is an important one. Entrepreneurs can learn a lot from getting a mentor on board to guide them in the process of running a small business for the first time.
“Experience is a dear teacher, and only fools will learn from no other.”
7) Ask Questions
As we get older we stop asking questions. There is a sort of social taboo that comes over asking questions. Society has made adults believe it is unacceptable and a sign of weakness to ask questions. Kids, on the other hand, are not bound by these social constraints and as such ask questions about anything and everything they don’t understand.
“There are no foolish questions, and no man becomes a fool until he has stopped asking questions.”
8) Enjoy Yourself
As a kid life is all about having fun and you rate specific activities by the amount of fun you have. When starting a business it is very easy to get lost in the mundane tasks and forget the reason you started the business in the first place. Mixing some fun into your work can help energise and revitalise your drive and ambition. After all, isn’t the reason you set up your own business so you could have the freedom to pursue your own dreams?
“This is the real secret to life. To be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work. Realise it is play.”
9) Show and Tell
Sharing your product or service (let’s be honest, surrogate child) is one of the most exciting things you will do as an entrepreneur. Getting the word out about your product can be hard initially, but once it’s ready, shout about it and let the world know.
“Why not show off if you have something to show.”
10) Live in the here and now
Too many people get hooked up in the past and what went wrong. They spend too much time thinking about what happened and forget to focus on the tasks at hand. Kids, on the other hand, are all about the present and have very short attention spans, which stops them wasting time and energy on past mistakes and allows them to seize the day.
Never put off what you can do today for tomorrow. Remember, the early bird catches the worm.
“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
So I urge all entrepreneurs to embrace your inner child and finally find your full potential. As Einstein said, “Logic will take you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”