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4 Life Lessons You’ll Learn When You Follow Your Heart

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4 Life Lessons You’ll Learn When You Follow Your Heart

Sometimes, the things you think are just right for you are actually the complete opposite. Sometimes, it’s these things that pull you right under. And personally, I’ve hit my head on that rock several times now.

I’ve been extremely convinced about romantic partners that were really bad for me and got stuck in jobs that were doing me no good. And last year, even though it seemed like I was doing everything right, it became again very clear to me that it wasn’t…

“Follow your heart but take your brain with you” – Alfred Adler

There were some lessons I picked up from this experience and it’s the big 4 below that I wanted to share with you:

 

1. Feelings trump thoughts when it comes to choosing what you do every single day

Last year, I spent 7 full months building my online business coaching blog for growing startups. Which, after years of business consulting and being an entrepreneur with my brother, meant that I was finally doing something that was completely for me.

As this was the perfect combination of my skills and experience and my innate drive to help people’s dreams come true, I thought this was perfect! But, that’s the thing…they were thoughts, and it made sense, and it was smart…but it wasn’t what I wanted to do in my heart of hearts.

I’d denied it every time anybody asked me about it but in reality I had set up this particular business because I thought this was a relatively easy moneymaker…so that I would have an income when I would start my big passion project. But, as no business is when it’s just starting, it wasn’t a quick moneymaker and it wasn’t giving me any joy, which started to impact my health.

Remember I was only 7 months in! That’s nothing in entrepreneur years! As sound as the idea and business model was, it didn’t feel right to me at all!

 

2. Your body ALWAYS tells you the truth

I was entrepreneuring my booty off and it all went pretty decent apart from the fact that my costs still outweighed my income and the dark shadow of mortgage and bank began to slowly but surely fall over me. Being an experienced entrepreneur, I had of course already accounted for this but still…I started to cramp up.

Literally! My neck, my shoulders, my back, everything was stuck. My head felt like I was wearing a bowling ball for a hat and no matter what I did (yoga, meditate, special pillows, no typing, no sugars, lots of red wine, etc.), nothing worked…for months on end.

Something really wasn’t right here…And it didn’t feel like it was just the hard work getting me down. I’d been there before many times and knew how to deal with that. There was obviously also something else at play but through the fog of the headaches, working really hard, wanting to succeed and a draining savings account I just couldn’t see it.

Heart

3. Taking a step back can be the best gift you can give yourself

I got lucky and found a freelance job that gave me the opportunity to book a last-minute flight to Asia for a month and make some decent money that would get me going again for a while. It gave me a break from the incessant stress around money and from stress around having to make this business successful a.s.a.p.

So in this temporary stress free zone, I tinkered around with perhaps tweaking my business model a bit, or go after a specific niche or start cooperating with other instances more, but the more I thought (there’s that word again) about it, the less I was really feeling it.

What I was feeling…was a larger than life desire to work on my big passion project. To go around the world, create beautiful things and words and connections and work one on one with people that want to live the most fulfilling life they can.

And it was through the traveling, the freelance project and the freedom it brought that I was able to actually see and feel all this. Taking a step back can be absolutely priceless, even when it feels like you’re cheating on your business or yourself!

“To be successful you have to have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart” – Sr. Thomas Watson

4. Never, ever, make concessions where your passion is concerned (a.k.a. there’s always a way)

But my big passion project didn’t have a very clear business model (yet)…And it would cost me a lot of time and effort to get it off the ground. But the more I thought about it, the stronger I felt I just had to do it. Even though it meant letting go of everything I’d been building so far.

That pretty much meant I could throw my really strong resume in the bin. Over the years I’ve learned to trust myself, trust the process and trust that the money will come, one way or another. So with the right precautions (some money in the bank, renting out my house, freelance writing and consulting jobs as back-up), I felt confident enough to make the leap and follow my heart!

For a long time, success has always looked like money, material possessions and being recognized as such to me, but over the years I learned that true success is much more than that. Success is a state of mind, of soul and of being.

Ultimately, it is the freedom to live the life you love. And be the person you love being. It’s still early days for my new business, I’m not really making any money (yet) and it could very well be that it doesn’t take off at all business wise, but yet, I’ve never felt more successful in my life.

 

Thank you for reading my article! I hope it helps you to make the decision to follow your heart!

Linda Coussement is a life coach, writer and documentary maker. She’s slowly travelling the world asking all sorts of people: “How is it to be you?” Get her 10-page workbook on how to turn your dreams into practical reality right here and/or connect with her on Facebook.

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22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Maria Stenvinkel

    Jun 24, 2015 at 9:55 pm

    Hi Linda,

    Great post! I SO agree with everything you say and these are the types of things I can talk about 24/7 lol.

    Loved this: “Ultimately, it is the freedom to live the life you love.”

    Thanks,
    Maria

    • Linda Coussement

      Jun 25, 2015 at 5:04 am

      I know! This is the stuff I live and breathe and write and can go on and on 🙂
      Thanks for your lovely comment!

  2. Linda Catherine Robinson

    Jun 24, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    Dear Linda: Thanks for the reminder to never, ever, EVER give up on following your heart. 🙂

    • Linda Coussement

      Jun 25, 2015 at 5:02 am

      Haha, you’re welcome! It’s easier said than done but never fails to be right!

  3. Mark Tong

    Jun 23, 2015 at 6:42 pm

    Hi Linda – I really identified with your post. I’ve had the same experience and reactions to doing the wrong thing even though it seemed like the right thing. Always go with your passions!

  4. Nicki Lee

    Jun 22, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    Thanks for sharing your experience, Linda! I love that your trip to Asia was such a turning point for you. It reminded me of Julia Cameron using artist dates to “fill the well” and get some inspiration so we can get back to our purpose. 🙂

    • Linda Coussement

      Jun 23, 2015 at 7:37 am

      You’re welcome Nicki! And yes…if you truly listen to your body and heart, you’ll find your way back to your purpose in life, no matter what it is! And it indeed might take some detours and extra time 🙂

  5. John

    Jun 22, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    Re: “Your body always tells you the truth:” I’ve never thought of this Linda, but isn’t that the absolute truth! I’ll do a better job of detecting my body’s reactions to where I choose to focus my energies. The body tells us things! Thank you for this super-helpful insight!

    • Linda Coussement

      Jun 23, 2015 at 7:40 am

      You’re very welcome John! It’s not easy because we human beings tend to be very stubborn and think we’re stronger than we are 🙂 I can recommend a 10 minute meditation every day to feel where you’re body and state of mind is at; really helped me become more aware of what’s going on! Good luck!

  6. John

    Jun 21, 2015 at 8:14 pm

    I always found it funny when someone would ask, “what does your gut tell you?”. I would picture my stomach talking to me. But there really is something to it. Your subconscious is constantly working like a computer in the background, and it lets you know with a queasy feeling when you’re in a bad situation. I also like that Adler quote. Thanks Linda.

    • Linda Coussement

      Jun 23, 2015 at 7:44 am

      You’re right, it’s a giant computer that keeps on spinning! And I’m sure there’s a cartoon in the ‘gut talking to you’ bit! 🙂

  7. Valerie Leroyer

    Jun 20, 2015 at 11:29 am

    Very nice article Linda! I liked when you said “Success is a state of mind, of soul and of being.” That is so true, once we realize it! I’m going through the same questions,and dilemma as I hesitate between a business blog (which is what I know) and my true passion, fiction writing. I wish you good luck and lots of travel in a near future 🙂

    • Linda Coussement

      Jun 20, 2015 at 2:40 pm

      Yes, the ‘once we realize it’ bit might take a while! Hang in there and keep meditating (cause I know you do 😉 ) on what you truly feel is right for you!

  8. eric

    Jun 20, 2015 at 10:46 am

    Keep it up Linda!

    This blog connected with me as I have made decisions that started to come form my heart and not the mind and hearts of others. Listening to how you feel and not to your thoughts are paramount! 🙂 Especially if you are a HEART oriented human 🙂 Which it sounds like you are.

    Strength through Struggle

    • Linda Coussement

      Jun 20, 2015 at 2:41 pm

      Thanks Eric! And I indeed am…though it took me a while to get there 🙂
      Good for you to follow your heart no matter what!

  9. Ann

    Jun 20, 2015 at 10:45 am

    Love it. Keep us updated on your new adventure!

  10. Ashley

    Jun 20, 2015 at 10:33 am

    love the Adler quote! Good luck and great post!

  11. Linda Coussement

    Jun 20, 2015 at 7:29 am

    Thanks Helen, will do! 🙂

  12. Helen McCarthy

    Jun 20, 2015 at 7:18 am

    Great subheadings Linda . “Feelings trump thoughts when it comes to choosing what you do every single day” & “Your body always tells you the truth” – so true. All the best with your new (ad)venture.

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Life

Lacking Self-Discipline? Do This One Thing Everyday to Change Your Life

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What’s holding you back? This is the question that I asked myself after repeatedly falling short of my goals. In my mind, I had these crazy hopes and aspirations, but in reality, there was a gap between my intentions and my actions. Having read dozens of personal development and business books, I already had the knowledge. I already knew what I needed to do. The problem? A lack of follow through.

A couple years back, I had difficulty crawling out of bed in the morning. I was always tired and could barely muster out the energy to stay awake, let alone go to the gym, foster new relationships, or build my business. I was caught in a spiral of downward momentum, breaking out of which required a massive amount of willpower. The root cause of my problems, I came to realize, was a lack of self-discipline.

I define self-discipline as the ability to do what needs to get done regardless of whether you feel like it or not. I believe that self-discipline is the one thing that separates everything you are from everything you’re capable of being. In this article, I’ll reveal the #1 habit I’ve developed to skyrocket my self-discipline and rapidly elevate my mood, energy levels, and focus in the process.

The Secret To Sending Your Self-Discipline Through The Roof

Picture this: You finally decide to start waking up early and set an alarm for 5am the next day. The next morning you groggily open your eyes to the sound of your alarm buzzing, and a part of you whispers to hit the snooze. Your decision in that moment, on whether to hit the snooze or not, is what makes all the difference.

When you get out of bed at 5am, even though you don’t feel like it, you have effectively overcome your emotions and shown your brain who’s in charge. You have built momentum towards doing the right thing over the easy thing.

In every moment you have a choice. A choice to step forward into growth or back into comfort. The secret to developing warrior-like self-discipline is consistently making the decisions that move you forward into growth. And the #1 habit I’ve developed to build this muscle is starting my days with a cold shower.

“Self-discipline is the number one delineating factor between the rich, the middle class, and the poor.” – Robert Kiyosaki

Why I Take Cold Showers Everyday (And Maybe You Should To)

Cold showers have been a regular part of my daily routine for a couple of years now and if there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s this: The days that I start with a cold shower always go more productive than the days that I don’t.

Taking cold showers provides an opportunity to exercise your willpower in overcoming the little voice in your head that doesn’t want to do it. This is the same voice that tries to talk you into  skipping your workouts, hitting the snooze, and reaching for that ice cream when you’re trying to avoid sugar.

Even after years of taking cold showers, I hear this little voice. But turning the knob to “C,” in spite of this voice, has been a great way to overcome my lower self and build momentum towards taking right action.

What’s more is that cold showers provide an incredible boost in energy and mood. So much so that cold showers are currently being studied as a possible measure against depression. What are the mechanisms behind this? Well, cold water exposure stimulates your body’s fight-or-flight response to which your sympathetic nervous system responds by rapidly elevating norepinephrine production.

Norepinephrine is a hormone that functions as a neurotransmitter to enhance focus, mood, and attention. In this study, 1-hour of cold water exposure increased norepinephrine production in subjects by as much as 530%.

“With self-discipline most anything is possible.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Another reason to take cold showers is for the immune system benefits. As a high achiever, I’m sure you’ve found it frustrating when you’re unable to function optimally due to illness. We’ve all been there. How much better would it be if you could radically decrease your chances of getting sick by simply taking a cold shower everyday? Because in this study, subjects that took cold showers had a 29% reduced likelihood of illness from work compared to the subjects that did not take cold showers.

All-in-all, taking cold showers has been a game changer not only in strengthening my mental resolve but in helping my body function more optimally as well. I don’t remember the last time I was sick and I no longer need an espresso to get my day going.

With access to a smartphone, you have access to more information and more computing power than the president of the United States had a mere twenty years ago. In the age of information, ignorance is a choice. Everything you could ever need to know or learn about success is literally at your fingertips.

As such, specialized knowledge is no longer a barrier towards achieving your goals. The only missing link between where you are and where you want to be is the ability to do the things you already know you should be doing.

I’ve come to believe that self-discipline is the only difference between success and failure. Starting your days with a cold shower is a cheap, proven, and effective method to exercise your willpower and build momentum towards becoming the person you were meant to be.

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Life

Here Is Everything You Need to Know About Your Comfort Zone

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Although, a comfort zone can be defined as a state of mind in which people are at ease, in control of their environment and experiencing low level of anxiety and stress, this does not actually sum up the full meaning of a comfort zone. This is because different people have different anxiety and stress levels and the anxiety level of one man or woman might be above or below that of another. Therefore, comfort zones vary from person to person.

Therefore, the best way I can define a comfort zone would be a state of mind where a person’s anxiety and vulnerability are minimized to manageable levels. It is that area of your life in which you feel familiar with and in control of.

For example, some people love to go to work every morning and are used to the routine of going to work daily such that their work place becomes their comfort zone and leaving this comfort zone to become a freelancer or start a business can be every challenging for them. Of course, for others, a comfort zone could be the time they take their meals or that time after work when they relax in front of their television or with social media after a hectic day at work. Of course, comfort zones are not static because they change based on the areas of your life you feel most comfortable with.

When are you out of your comfort zone? What is outside your comfort zone? When you begin to feel vulnerable, anxious, stressed, uncomfortable about doing something, then you’re stepping out of your comfort zone or you’re faced with the threat of stepping outside your comfort zone. Therefore, what is outside your comfort zone is something that scares or threatens you, and, not necessarily with bodily harm.

“A comfort zone is a beautiful place but nothing grows there.”

The Psychological States

According to White Alasdair, there are three psychological states: the comfort zone, optimal performance zone and the danger zone. Where the comfort zone is the stress-free zone which you’re familiar with. The optimal performance zone is the zone just outside your comfort zone where your performance is enhanced by some amount of stress. The danger zone, which is beyond the optimal performance zone, is where you feel great anxiety and your performance is below the performance you can attain in your comfort zone.

However, the problem is making distinctions between these psychological states and knowing when and how far you are willing to leave your comfort zone and when to stay in its confines.

Why do you need to leave your comfort zone? See the 4 reason below:

1. Stunted Growth

If you insist on staying in your comfort zone, you will probably never grow to be more than you are. That means you will always be stuck, never moving forward and never growing. Most people who become addicted to their comfort zones usually end up unable to achieve their goals because they’re somewhat obsessed with doing things the same way they’ve always done them even when it’s not producing results. As a result, you can never really explore what you’re capable of doing and what you can accomplish if you stick to your comfort zone

2. To find your Passion

Not moving out of your comfort zone makes it harder for you to discover your passion because no passion can ever be found in the shadows of your comfort zone, it can only be found by stepping away from your comfort zone.

3. To make sure you don’t settle for less

Even though you’ve not found that thing that makes your heart beat very fast (like love or passion), your comfort zone might push you to settle for less than what you could have if you just stepped out of it.

4. So you don’t get left behind

When you stay in your comfort zone, you will be left behind. Colleagues will leave you behind and people who were previously behind you in terms of life or career progress would meet up with you and leave you behind as well.

Why Your Comfort Zone is Good Sometimes

Although, many times, people focus more on the cons of not leaving your comfort zones, people sometimes forget that it might not be the best idea for you to move out of your comfort zone.

Here are some reasons why you might need to stay in your comfort zone:

1. You are not prepared to leave it yet

Sometimes, you might need to stay in your comfort zone a little while because you’re not yet prepared to step out of it and you may face dire consequences. So, you might need to make sure that you’re actually prepared to leave your comfort zone before you leave it.

2. Are you going too far away from your comfort zone?

It is true that without leaving our comfort zones, we might never know what we are capable of and what we can do. However, that does not mean that you should take giant leaps away from your comfort zone. Start with baby steps and move to strides as you leave your comfort zone.

3. Assess yourself

It is very important for you to assess yourself before leaving your comfort zone to see if it is the best choice for you to leave your comfort zone or If what is bothering you is just fear to leave it.

How to Leave or Expand Your Comfort Zone

First of all, you have to understand how the varying influences (Like parents, peers, siblings, etc.) in your life have contributed to shaping and conditioning your comfort zone. You have to overcome these influences and the conditions that have shaped the boundaries of your comfort zone. You will also have to change your habits, routines and behaviors that relate to your comfort zone and its boundaries.

But you can’t just do these overnight, you have to slowly push yourself out of your comfort zone and expand it. Here are few ways you can leave or expand your comfort zone:

  • Expose yourself to new environments that are just outside your comfort zone
  • Don’t overthink your decisions
  • Try new and different things like going somewhere new to eat, going to a different park to read, etc.
  • Don’t rely on your limited point of view, try to see things the way others do.
  • Do volunteer work
  • Challenge yourself from time to time

“To move to a new level in your life, you must break through your comfort zone and do things that are not comfortable.” – T. Harv Eker

Conclusion

Although your comfort zone might be the most comfortable part of your life, it isn’t wise to stay locked in it as it will not allow you to be who you are capable of being. And, most certainly, your big dreams and goals won’t come to pass so you need to work for them, and you can’t do that from your comfort zone.

Do you think there are sometimes people should stay in their comfort zone or should people always push at the boundaries of their comfort zone relentlessly? Comment below!

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Life

8 Unconventional Tips to Boost Your Self-Confidence

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Confident people seem to have it all. They are admired by others and generally do well at everything they try. Self-confidence plays an important role in our success, both in business and life. People that are self-confident are usually risk-takers, they believe in their abilities and aren’t afraid to fail because they know they can get past any obstacles.

But for those that struggle to believe in themselves, building up confidence can be a daunting task. However, there are ways to build confidence that aren’t difficult to implement.

Here are 8 ways you can boost your confidence:

1. Trust your gut

How many times have you had an impulse that you didn’t act on? Whether in a business or personal setting, if you struggle with low confidence it’s easy to walk away from situations where you have to put yourself in the spotlight. When you find yourself in a situation like this, give yourself a countdown to action. Three, two, one, go! If you take action immediately you don’t risk talking yourself out of something that might be a great idea. When inspiration strikes take it as a sign, trust your gut instinct, and act.

2. Strike a power pose

In a 2012 TED talk by Harvard Business School social psychologist Amy Cuddy, the concept of the “Power Pose” (think Superman with hands on hips, chin up, chest out, feet apart and firmly planted) was introduced as a way to increase confidence and lower stress. By adopting expansive postures and taking up more space, her research claims that cortisol will decrease and testosterone will increase causing a boost in personal performance. If you find yourself feeling nervous about a meeting or presentation, find a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted and hold a power pose for two minutes.

“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.” – Norman Vincent Peale

3. Only share with your supporters

When we’re excited about a new idea or venture, we want to tell our friends and family. Often we are seeking encouragement, support, or even validation from the people closest to us. Many times, those people want to protect us from failure and disappointment and in doing so, they manage to squash our dreams and cause our confidence to plummet. If you must confide in someone, be careful who you share your goals or dreams with. Protect your confidence by sharing your deepest desires with only those people that support you unequivocally.

4. Daydream your way to success

Studies have shown that we have a better chance at success if we spend time visualizing the results we want to achieve. Athletes have long used the process of visualization to boost their confidence and in turn, enhance their performance.

In fact, one study from the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, revealed that subjects who visualized their strength increasing for 15 minutes a day, 5 days a week for a total of 12 weeks, managed to do so without ever lifting a weight.

Top performers from the fields of golf, hockey, boxing, and even Olympians believe in the power of the mind to enhance their performance. Spend a few minutes every day in quiet contemplation seeing the outcomes you want in your life as if they have already become reality and you may see your confidence rise.

5. Failure is not bad

If we have issues with confidence often we will simply not act rather than risk failure. Keep in mind that many times quantity is more important than quality. The old saying practice makes perfect really does make sense. If we try we may indeed fail but if we then take that knowledge and try again, while making improvements and tweaking the process, we will hit on some winners. To build self-confidence, begin to redefine your definition of success, start to see your failures as opportunities to practice. Eventually your practice will make perfect.

6. Jump off the comparison train

These days people are obsessed with checking their social media accounts. In fact, a recent New York Post article, states that people check their phones over 80 times a day. With all this time spent on social it’s almost impossible not to compare yourself to others. No one posts a bad selfie, a video of their kid throwing a tantrum, or a bland image of their dinner of leftovers.

We are constantly barraged with beautiful people in beautiful places doing amazing things. It’s easy to compare our whole life to the staged, filtered, sliver of other people’s lives that is showcased on social. Jump off that comparison train with a social media detox and feel your confidence start to return.

“Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings.” – Samuel Johnson

7. Loosen your grip

Going within can be a big confidence booster and people who practice meditation have reported an increase in their feelings of well-being, confidence, and self-worth. One of the reasons for this is that meditation allows us the opportunity to release the tight grip we have on attachment. We begin to allow our thoughts to float in and float out without judgement. This is particularly helpful when we are flooded with negative thoughts. By spending time developing a meditation practice we will learn to objectively observe our negative thoughts rather than allow them to take root and bring us down.

8. Know your stuff

You’ve heard the saying “knowledge is power” well I say knowledge is confidence. When we are in a situation and we feel comfortable that we know what we’re talking about, we feel confident. Confident in ourselves and confident in our abilities. Have you ever been in a situation where you knew all the answers and you still felt worried? No!

Do your best to know your stuff and confidence will be there for you. If you are prepping for a business event, make sure you feel comfortable speaking on your topic. The same goes for a social situation, if your confidence wanes when you can’t think of something to say, be sure you brush up on some recent news or have a few interesting stories to share. You will be calm and ready to go if you feel confident in your abilities.

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Life

5 Characteristics That We Can Learn From Our Children for a Happier, Fuller Life

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Remember the last time an infant gazed innocently into your eyes and smiled? Those wide, uncritical eyes have the power to elicit a bliss that eludes us most of the time. For an instant, life feels beautiful and worth living. As we grow older, the worries and concerns brought forth by life prevent us from enjoying our natural state of happiness.

Learning to maintain that natural state of happiness by emulating a child should not be a euphoria. As Henry James puts it in “Live all you can; it’s a mistake not to. It doesn’t so much matter what you do in particular so long as you have your life. If you haven’t had that what have you had?”

Following, are the five basic childlike characteristics that we can learn from our children for a happier, fuller life:

1. They are amazingly inquisitive

If you have ever been in the company of a child, you are used for their constant questioning. Asking questions is a deeply ingrained biological blueprint allowing a child to make sense of the world around them. A study conducted by Ranganath, a psychologist at the University of California, found that curiosity can increase our memory.

Curiosity is directly associated with the hippocampus, a small organ located in the temporal lobe responsible for information processing and long-term memory. Cultivating childlike curiosity can decrease internal inconsistencies and conflicts with others. An inquisitive mind instead of a lockstep mind will lead to human beings embracing diversity which will, in return lead to a happier life.

“Play is the highest of form of research.” – Albert Einstein

2. They are playful

Being playful has a host of benefits that most of us are simply not aware of. The greatest thinkers of our time have embraced being playful as being one of the main tenets of creativity and inspiration. David Keller, founder and chairman of IDEO admits that the time he spent playing, making and breaking things were the most rewarding.

The American psychologist Abraham Maslow is perhaps the greatest proponents of playfulness. Playfulness has been found to increase focus, humility, courage and more importantly flexibility.

Playful people have a positive life outlook that give them more resilience to face the adversities of life. They are fully-functioning beings with low degrees of self-conflict and with more maturity. Remember the last time you were playful? How did you feel? Wouldn’t you want to experience to that happy state again?

3. They are always fully present

Have you ever noticed a child performing a task? Regardless of how mundane the task is, they get so caught up, that time seems to stand still. They are fully present. Being fully present means having your focus, your attention, your thoughts and feelings all fixed on the task at hand.

Mindfulness originated 2000 years ago exemplifying the importance of being fully present. Since its inception, it has helped countless people fight anxiety and stress and increase focus among others.

Life is so full of worries and regrets that compete for our attention, that “being fully present” represents an unattainable goal. Just like a child, being fully present can make us better listeners, build a tougher immune system and have more happiness. From today you have the duty to bring your undivided attention to whatever task at hand. This is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves and those around us.

4. They are not afraid of judgment

I have had the opportunity to teach public speaking and English to preschoolers. One of my biggest realizations is that my preschool kids improve faster than their older counterparts. Why? As a child grows older, they become self-conscious, and consequently become less willing to practice.

This is analogous to adults; the plurality of the expectations placed upon us makes us become less expressive, we don’t take risks, get complacent and laziness starts to set in. Like a child, we have the right not to let others’ perception or self-imposed limitations prevents us from failing, learning and improving.

Learn to fail and fail to learn as if there was no tomorrow. What have you been putting off because of fear of failure? A quick challenge for you. Think of a task you’ve been putting off. Now, use a fresh, naïve, childlike approach, act as if fear of being judged was not on the table, how would the situation change? Chances are a change of perspective was all you needed to breakthrough.

“Our children can be our greatest teachers if we are humble enough to receive their lessons.” – Bryan McGill

5. They forgive and forget

Ever see a child fret after being reprimanded? How long did it take them to get back to their natural, happy state? Children have the amazing capacity to regain their initial level of joy almost immediately after being punished. They hold no grudge, they forgive and forget.

As is with any skill, this is a skill we can learn with practice. While it may be reasonable to be angry when offended, sometimes we hold to the anger more than necessary. We talk about it, we think about it, we even lose sleep over it. Unknowingly the problem becomes a priority.

We forget that people don’t do us wrong because of who we are but because of who they are. The best we can do is to let it go…forgive and forget. We cannot afford to carry a grudge around, as it will do more harm than good. Think of someone you need to forgive, call them right now and forgive and see how you feel.

I am confident the same reason that drew you to this article will also motivate you to take action. The principles may sound simple, but they are not easy. The commitment to a fuller, happier life for yourself and those around you is well worth the cost of trying. May you enjoy a happy, fulfilling life that I believe is yours by right.

What is something valuable that you have learned from children? Comment below!

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Motivation

8 Powerful and Inspiring Words of Encouragement to Help Lift You Up

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When you’re going through tough times, all you need is sympathy. You just need someone to tell you how strong you are and how you can cope with the situation. Essentially, you’re waiting for a soothing voice that can calm your inner storm and genuinely help with your troubles. (more…)

I am Eliana Jags, Co-Founder & Author at beinginsightful.com. I'm passionate about writing motivational and inspirational articles. Before I became a full-time blogger, I was a Software Engineer but left the job to fulfill my dream of becoming a writer and thus I've committed myself completely to my passion of writing. You can connect with me on my Facebook page here.

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22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Maria Stenvinkel

    Jun 24, 2015 at 9:55 pm

    Hi Linda,

    Great post! I SO agree with everything you say and these are the types of things I can talk about 24/7 lol.

    Loved this: “Ultimately, it is the freedom to live the life you love.”

    Thanks,
    Maria

    • Linda Coussement

      Jun 25, 2015 at 5:04 am

      I know! This is the stuff I live and breathe and write and can go on and on 🙂
      Thanks for your lovely comment!

  2. Linda Catherine Robinson

    Jun 24, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    Dear Linda: Thanks for the reminder to never, ever, EVER give up on following your heart. 🙂

    • Linda Coussement

      Jun 25, 2015 at 5:02 am

      Haha, you’re welcome! It’s easier said than done but never fails to be right!

  3. Mark Tong

    Jun 23, 2015 at 6:42 pm

    Hi Linda – I really identified with your post. I’ve had the same experience and reactions to doing the wrong thing even though it seemed like the right thing. Always go with your passions!

  4. Nicki Lee

    Jun 22, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    Thanks for sharing your experience, Linda! I love that your trip to Asia was such a turning point for you. It reminded me of Julia Cameron using artist dates to “fill the well” and get some inspiration so we can get back to our purpose. 🙂

    • Linda Coussement

      Jun 23, 2015 at 7:37 am

      You’re welcome Nicki! And yes…if you truly listen to your body and heart, you’ll find your way back to your purpose in life, no matter what it is! And it indeed might take some detours and extra time 🙂

  5. John

    Jun 22, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    Re: “Your body always tells you the truth:” I’ve never thought of this Linda, but isn’t that the absolute truth! I’ll do a better job of detecting my body’s reactions to where I choose to focus my energies. The body tells us things! Thank you for this super-helpful insight!

    • Linda Coussement

      Jun 23, 2015 at 7:40 am

      You’re very welcome John! It’s not easy because we human beings tend to be very stubborn and think we’re stronger than we are 🙂 I can recommend a 10 minute meditation every day to feel where you’re body and state of mind is at; really helped me become more aware of what’s going on! Good luck!

  6. John

    Jun 21, 2015 at 8:14 pm

    I always found it funny when someone would ask, “what does your gut tell you?”. I would picture my stomach talking to me. But there really is something to it. Your subconscious is constantly working like a computer in the background, and it lets you know with a queasy feeling when you’re in a bad situation. I also like that Adler quote. Thanks Linda.

    • Linda Coussement

      Jun 23, 2015 at 7:44 am

      You’re right, it’s a giant computer that keeps on spinning! And I’m sure there’s a cartoon in the ‘gut talking to you’ bit! 🙂

  7. Valerie Leroyer

    Jun 20, 2015 at 11:29 am

    Very nice article Linda! I liked when you said “Success is a state of mind, of soul and of being.” That is so true, once we realize it! I’m going through the same questions,and dilemma as I hesitate between a business blog (which is what I know) and my true passion, fiction writing. I wish you good luck and lots of travel in a near future 🙂

    • Linda Coussement

      Jun 20, 2015 at 2:40 pm

      Yes, the ‘once we realize it’ bit might take a while! Hang in there and keep meditating (cause I know you do 😉 ) on what you truly feel is right for you!

  8. eric

    Jun 20, 2015 at 10:46 am

    Keep it up Linda!

    This blog connected with me as I have made decisions that started to come form my heart and not the mind and hearts of others. Listening to how you feel and not to your thoughts are paramount! 🙂 Especially if you are a HEART oriented human 🙂 Which it sounds like you are.

    Strength through Struggle

    • Linda Coussement

      Jun 20, 2015 at 2:41 pm

      Thanks Eric! And I indeed am…though it took me a while to get there 🙂
      Good for you to follow your heart no matter what!

  9. Ann

    Jun 20, 2015 at 10:45 am

    Love it. Keep us updated on your new adventure!

  10. Ashley

    Jun 20, 2015 at 10:33 am

    love the Adler quote! Good luck and great post!

  11. Linda Coussement

    Jun 20, 2015 at 7:29 am

    Thanks Helen, will do! 🙂

  12. Helen McCarthy

    Jun 20, 2015 at 7:18 am

    Great subheadings Linda . “Feelings trump thoughts when it comes to choosing what you do every single day” & “Your body always tells you the truth” – so true. All the best with your new (ad)venture.

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Life

Lacking Self-Discipline? Do This One Thing Everyday to Change Your Life

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What’s holding you back? This is the question that I asked myself after repeatedly falling short of my goals. In my mind, I had these crazy hopes and aspirations, but in reality, there was a gap between my intentions and my actions. Having read dozens of personal development and business books, I already had the knowledge. I already knew what I needed to do. The problem? A lack of follow through.

A couple years back, I had difficulty crawling out of bed in the morning. I was always tired and could barely muster out the energy to stay awake, let alone go to the gym, foster new relationships, or build my business. I was caught in a spiral of downward momentum, breaking out of which required a massive amount of willpower. The root cause of my problems, I came to realize, was a lack of self-discipline.

I define self-discipline as the ability to do what needs to get done regardless of whether you feel like it or not. I believe that self-discipline is the one thing that separates everything you are from everything you’re capable of being. In this article, I’ll reveal the #1 habit I’ve developed to skyrocket my self-discipline and rapidly elevate my mood, energy levels, and focus in the process.

The Secret To Sending Your Self-Discipline Through The Roof

Picture this: You finally decide to start waking up early and set an alarm for 5am the next day. The next morning you groggily open your eyes to the sound of your alarm buzzing, and a part of you whispers to hit the snooze. Your decision in that moment, on whether to hit the snooze or not, is what makes all the difference.

When you get out of bed at 5am, even though you don’t feel like it, you have effectively overcome your emotions and shown your brain who’s in charge. You have built momentum towards doing the right thing over the easy thing.

In every moment you have a choice. A choice to step forward into growth or back into comfort. The secret to developing warrior-like self-discipline is consistently making the decisions that move you forward into growth. And the #1 habit I’ve developed to build this muscle is starting my days with a cold shower.

“Self-discipline is the number one delineating factor between the rich, the middle class, and the poor.” – Robert Kiyosaki

Why I Take Cold Showers Everyday (And Maybe You Should To)

Cold showers have been a regular part of my daily routine for a couple of years now and if there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s this: The days that I start with a cold shower always go more productive than the days that I don’t.

Taking cold showers provides an opportunity to exercise your willpower in overcoming the little voice in your head that doesn’t want to do it. This is the same voice that tries to talk you into  skipping your workouts, hitting the snooze, and reaching for that ice cream when you’re trying to avoid sugar.

Even after years of taking cold showers, I hear this little voice. But turning the knob to “C,” in spite of this voice, has been a great way to overcome my lower self and build momentum towards taking right action.

What’s more is that cold showers provide an incredible boost in energy and mood. So much so that cold showers are currently being studied as a possible measure against depression. What are the mechanisms behind this? Well, cold water exposure stimulates your body’s fight-or-flight response to which your sympathetic nervous system responds by rapidly elevating norepinephrine production.

Norepinephrine is a hormone that functions as a neurotransmitter to enhance focus, mood, and attention. In this study, 1-hour of cold water exposure increased norepinephrine production in subjects by as much as 530%.

“With self-discipline most anything is possible.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Another reason to take cold showers is for the immune system benefits. As a high achiever, I’m sure you’ve found it frustrating when you’re unable to function optimally due to illness. We’ve all been there. How much better would it be if you could radically decrease your chances of getting sick by simply taking a cold shower everyday? Because in this study, subjects that took cold showers had a 29% reduced likelihood of illness from work compared to the subjects that did not take cold showers.

All-in-all, taking cold showers has been a game changer not only in strengthening my mental resolve but in helping my body function more optimally as well. I don’t remember the last time I was sick and I no longer need an espresso to get my day going.

With access to a smartphone, you have access to more information and more computing power than the president of the United States had a mere twenty years ago. In the age of information, ignorance is a choice. Everything you could ever need to know or learn about success is literally at your fingertips.

As such, specialized knowledge is no longer a barrier towards achieving your goals. The only missing link between where you are and where you want to be is the ability to do the things you already know you should be doing.

I’ve come to believe that self-discipline is the only difference between success and failure. Starting your days with a cold shower is a cheap, proven, and effective method to exercise your willpower and build momentum towards becoming the person you were meant to be.

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Life

Here Is Everything You Need to Know About Your Comfort Zone

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Although, a comfort zone can be defined as a state of mind in which people are at ease, in control of their environment and experiencing low level of anxiety and stress, this does not actually sum up the full meaning of a comfort zone. This is because different people have different anxiety and stress levels and the anxiety level of one man or woman might be above or below that of another. Therefore, comfort zones vary from person to person.

Therefore, the best way I can define a comfort zone would be a state of mind where a person’s anxiety and vulnerability are minimized to manageable levels. It is that area of your life in which you feel familiar with and in control of.

For example, some people love to go to work every morning and are used to the routine of going to work daily such that their work place becomes their comfort zone and leaving this comfort zone to become a freelancer or start a business can be every challenging for them. Of course, for others, a comfort zone could be the time they take their meals or that time after work when they relax in front of their television or with social media after a hectic day at work. Of course, comfort zones are not static because they change based on the areas of your life you feel most comfortable with.

When are you out of your comfort zone? What is outside your comfort zone? When you begin to feel vulnerable, anxious, stressed, uncomfortable about doing something, then you’re stepping out of your comfort zone or you’re faced with the threat of stepping outside your comfort zone. Therefore, what is outside your comfort zone is something that scares or threatens you, and, not necessarily with bodily harm.

“A comfort zone is a beautiful place but nothing grows there.”

The Psychological States

According to White Alasdair, there are three psychological states: the comfort zone, optimal performance zone and the danger zone. Where the comfort zone is the stress-free zone which you’re familiar with. The optimal performance zone is the zone just outside your comfort zone where your performance is enhanced by some amount of stress. The danger zone, which is beyond the optimal performance zone, is where you feel great anxiety and your performance is below the performance you can attain in your comfort zone.

However, the problem is making distinctions between these psychological states and knowing when and how far you are willing to leave your comfort zone and when to stay in its confines.

Why do you need to leave your comfort zone? See the 4 reason below:

1. Stunted Growth

If you insist on staying in your comfort zone, you will probably never grow to be more than you are. That means you will always be stuck, never moving forward and never growing. Most people who become addicted to their comfort zones usually end up unable to achieve their goals because they’re somewhat obsessed with doing things the same way they’ve always done them even when it’s not producing results. As a result, you can never really explore what you’re capable of doing and what you can accomplish if you stick to your comfort zone

2. To find your Passion

Not moving out of your comfort zone makes it harder for you to discover your passion because no passion can ever be found in the shadows of your comfort zone, it can only be found by stepping away from your comfort zone.

3. To make sure you don’t settle for less

Even though you’ve not found that thing that makes your heart beat very fast (like love or passion), your comfort zone might push you to settle for less than what you could have if you just stepped out of it.

4. So you don’t get left behind

When you stay in your comfort zone, you will be left behind. Colleagues will leave you behind and people who were previously behind you in terms of life or career progress would meet up with you and leave you behind as well.

Why Your Comfort Zone is Good Sometimes

Although, many times, people focus more on the cons of not leaving your comfort zones, people sometimes forget that it might not be the best idea for you to move out of your comfort zone.

Here are some reasons why you might need to stay in your comfort zone:

1. You are not prepared to leave it yet

Sometimes, you might need to stay in your comfort zone a little while because you’re not yet prepared to step out of it and you may face dire consequences. So, you might need to make sure that you’re actually prepared to leave your comfort zone before you leave it.

2. Are you going too far away from your comfort zone?

It is true that without leaving our comfort zones, we might never know what we are capable of and what we can do. However, that does not mean that you should take giant leaps away from your comfort zone. Start with baby steps and move to strides as you leave your comfort zone.

3. Assess yourself

It is very important for you to assess yourself before leaving your comfort zone to see if it is the best choice for you to leave your comfort zone or If what is bothering you is just fear to leave it.

How to Leave or Expand Your Comfort Zone

First of all, you have to understand how the varying influences (Like parents, peers, siblings, etc.) in your life have contributed to shaping and conditioning your comfort zone. You have to overcome these influences and the conditions that have shaped the boundaries of your comfort zone. You will also have to change your habits, routines and behaviors that relate to your comfort zone and its boundaries.

But you can’t just do these overnight, you have to slowly push yourself out of your comfort zone and expand it. Here are few ways you can leave or expand your comfort zone:

  • Expose yourself to new environments that are just outside your comfort zone
  • Don’t overthink your decisions
  • Try new and different things like going somewhere new to eat, going to a different park to read, etc.
  • Don’t rely on your limited point of view, try to see things the way others do.
  • Do volunteer work
  • Challenge yourself from time to time

“To move to a new level in your life, you must break through your comfort zone and do things that are not comfortable.” – T. Harv Eker

Conclusion

Although your comfort zone might be the most comfortable part of your life, it isn’t wise to stay locked in it as it will not allow you to be who you are capable of being. And, most certainly, your big dreams and goals won’t come to pass so you need to work for them, and you can’t do that from your comfort zone.

Do you think there are sometimes people should stay in their comfort zone or should people always push at the boundaries of their comfort zone relentlessly? Comment below!

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Life

8 Unconventional Tips to Boost Your Self-Confidence

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Confident people seem to have it all. They are admired by others and generally do well at everything they try. Self-confidence plays an important role in our success, both in business and life. People that are self-confident are usually risk-takers, they believe in their abilities and aren’t afraid to fail because they know they can get past any obstacles.

But for those that struggle to believe in themselves, building up confidence can be a daunting task. However, there are ways to build confidence that aren’t difficult to implement.

Here are 8 ways you can boost your confidence:

1. Trust your gut

How many times have you had an impulse that you didn’t act on? Whether in a business or personal setting, if you struggle with low confidence it’s easy to walk away from situations where you have to put yourself in the spotlight. When you find yourself in a situation like this, give yourself a countdown to action. Three, two, one, go! If you take action immediately you don’t risk talking yourself out of something that might be a great idea. When inspiration strikes take it as a sign, trust your gut instinct, and act.

2. Strike a power pose

In a 2012 TED talk by Harvard Business School social psychologist Amy Cuddy, the concept of the “Power Pose” (think Superman with hands on hips, chin up, chest out, feet apart and firmly planted) was introduced as a way to increase confidence and lower stress. By adopting expansive postures and taking up more space, her research claims that cortisol will decrease and testosterone will increase causing a boost in personal performance. If you find yourself feeling nervous about a meeting or presentation, find a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted and hold a power pose for two minutes.

“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.” – Norman Vincent Peale

3. Only share with your supporters

When we’re excited about a new idea or venture, we want to tell our friends and family. Often we are seeking encouragement, support, or even validation from the people closest to us. Many times, those people want to protect us from failure and disappointment and in doing so, they manage to squash our dreams and cause our confidence to plummet. If you must confide in someone, be careful who you share your goals or dreams with. Protect your confidence by sharing your deepest desires with only those people that support you unequivocally.

4. Daydream your way to success

Studies have shown that we have a better chance at success if we spend time visualizing the results we want to achieve. Athletes have long used the process of visualization to boost their confidence and in turn, enhance their performance.

In fact, one study from the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, revealed that subjects who visualized their strength increasing for 15 minutes a day, 5 days a week for a total of 12 weeks, managed to do so without ever lifting a weight.

Top performers from the fields of golf, hockey, boxing, and even Olympians believe in the power of the mind to enhance their performance. Spend a few minutes every day in quiet contemplation seeing the outcomes you want in your life as if they have already become reality and you may see your confidence rise.

5. Failure is not bad

If we have issues with confidence often we will simply not act rather than risk failure. Keep in mind that many times quantity is more important than quality. The old saying practice makes perfect really does make sense. If we try we may indeed fail but if we then take that knowledge and try again, while making improvements and tweaking the process, we will hit on some winners. To build self-confidence, begin to redefine your definition of success, start to see your failures as opportunities to practice. Eventually your practice will make perfect.

6. Jump off the comparison train

These days people are obsessed with checking their social media accounts. In fact, a recent New York Post article, states that people check their phones over 80 times a day. With all this time spent on social it’s almost impossible not to compare yourself to others. No one posts a bad selfie, a video of their kid throwing a tantrum, or a bland image of their dinner of leftovers.

We are constantly barraged with beautiful people in beautiful places doing amazing things. It’s easy to compare our whole life to the staged, filtered, sliver of other people’s lives that is showcased on social. Jump off that comparison train with a social media detox and feel your confidence start to return.

“Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings.” – Samuel Johnson

7. Loosen your grip

Going within can be a big confidence booster and people who practice meditation have reported an increase in their feelings of well-being, confidence, and self-worth. One of the reasons for this is that meditation allows us the opportunity to release the tight grip we have on attachment. We begin to allow our thoughts to float in and float out without judgement. This is particularly helpful when we are flooded with negative thoughts. By spending time developing a meditation practice we will learn to objectively observe our negative thoughts rather than allow them to take root and bring us down.

8. Know your stuff

You’ve heard the saying “knowledge is power” well I say knowledge is confidence. When we are in a situation and we feel comfortable that we know what we’re talking about, we feel confident. Confident in ourselves and confident in our abilities. Have you ever been in a situation where you knew all the answers and you still felt worried? No!

Do your best to know your stuff and confidence will be there for you. If you are prepping for a business event, make sure you feel comfortable speaking on your topic. The same goes for a social situation, if your confidence wanes when you can’t think of something to say, be sure you brush up on some recent news or have a few interesting stories to share. You will be calm and ready to go if you feel confident in your abilities.

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Life

5 Characteristics That We Can Learn From Our Children for a Happier, Fuller Life

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Remember the last time an infant gazed innocently into your eyes and smiled? Those wide, uncritical eyes have the power to elicit a bliss that eludes us most of the time. For an instant, life feels beautiful and worth living. As we grow older, the worries and concerns brought forth by life prevent us from enjoying our natural state of happiness.

Learning to maintain that natural state of happiness by emulating a child should not be a euphoria. As Henry James puts it in “Live all you can; it’s a mistake not to. It doesn’t so much matter what you do in particular so long as you have your life. If you haven’t had that what have you had?”

Following, are the five basic childlike characteristics that we can learn from our children for a happier, fuller life:

1. They are amazingly inquisitive

If you have ever been in the company of a child, you are used for their constant questioning. Asking questions is a deeply ingrained biological blueprint allowing a child to make sense of the world around them. A study conducted by Ranganath, a psychologist at the University of California, found that curiosity can increase our memory.

Curiosity is directly associated with the hippocampus, a small organ located in the temporal lobe responsible for information processing and long-term memory. Cultivating childlike curiosity can decrease internal inconsistencies and conflicts with others. An inquisitive mind instead of a lockstep mind will lead to human beings embracing diversity which will, in return lead to a happier life.

“Play is the highest of form of research.” – Albert Einstein

2. They are playful

Being playful has a host of benefits that most of us are simply not aware of. The greatest thinkers of our time have embraced being playful as being one of the main tenets of creativity and inspiration. David Keller, founder and chairman of IDEO admits that the time he spent playing, making and breaking things were the most rewarding.

The American psychologist Abraham Maslow is perhaps the greatest proponents of playfulness. Playfulness has been found to increase focus, humility, courage and more importantly flexibility.

Playful people have a positive life outlook that give them more resilience to face the adversities of life. They are fully-functioning beings with low degrees of self-conflict and with more maturity. Remember the last time you were playful? How did you feel? Wouldn’t you want to experience to that happy state again?

3. They are always fully present

Have you ever noticed a child performing a task? Regardless of how mundane the task is, they get so caught up, that time seems to stand still. They are fully present. Being fully present means having your focus, your attention, your thoughts and feelings all fixed on the task at hand.

Mindfulness originated 2000 years ago exemplifying the importance of being fully present. Since its inception, it has helped countless people fight anxiety and stress and increase focus among others.

Life is so full of worries and regrets that compete for our attention, that “being fully present” represents an unattainable goal. Just like a child, being fully present can make us better listeners, build a tougher immune system and have more happiness. From today you have the duty to bring your undivided attention to whatever task at hand. This is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves and those around us.

4. They are not afraid of judgment

I have had the opportunity to teach public speaking and English to preschoolers. One of my biggest realizations is that my preschool kids improve faster than their older counterparts. Why? As a child grows older, they become self-conscious, and consequently become less willing to practice.

This is analogous to adults; the plurality of the expectations placed upon us makes us become less expressive, we don’t take risks, get complacent and laziness starts to set in. Like a child, we have the right not to let others’ perception or self-imposed limitations prevents us from failing, learning and improving.

Learn to fail and fail to learn as if there was no tomorrow. What have you been putting off because of fear of failure? A quick challenge for you. Think of a task you’ve been putting off. Now, use a fresh, naïve, childlike approach, act as if fear of being judged was not on the table, how would the situation change? Chances are a change of perspective was all you needed to breakthrough.

“Our children can be our greatest teachers if we are humble enough to receive their lessons.” – Bryan McGill

5. They forgive and forget

Ever see a child fret after being reprimanded? How long did it take them to get back to their natural, happy state? Children have the amazing capacity to regain their initial level of joy almost immediately after being punished. They hold no grudge, they forgive and forget.

As is with any skill, this is a skill we can learn with practice. While it may be reasonable to be angry when offended, sometimes we hold to the anger more than necessary. We talk about it, we think about it, we even lose sleep over it. Unknowingly the problem becomes a priority.

We forget that people don’t do us wrong because of who we are but because of who they are. The best we can do is to let it go…forgive and forget. We cannot afford to carry a grudge around, as it will do more harm than good. Think of someone you need to forgive, call them right now and forgive and see how you feel.

I am confident the same reason that drew you to this article will also motivate you to take action. The principles may sound simple, but they are not easy. The commitment to a fuller, happier life for yourself and those around you is well worth the cost of trying. May you enjoy a happy, fulfilling life that I believe is yours by right.

What is something valuable that you have learned from children? Comment below!

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