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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!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

My name is Bachir Bastien. Being the sparkle that will ignite the fire of possibilities in as many people as possible is how I define myself. I was born and raised in Haiti by my mother. My life has been a struggle since conception. I decided that I was going to use my stories to empower others. These experiences may have been lemons, but I can use them to make sweet lemonade. This is what I have decided to do. That became my life purpose. My first name Bachir means messenger of good news in Arabic; I have been doing just that for the past two years here in Taiwan through articles, workshops, seminars and speeches. I have seen students changing behaviors, increase in confidence, watched students conquer stage fright, etc. This in turn gives me the unwavering certitude that I can empower more people.

Life

These 7 Daily Resolutions Can Change Your Life

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We all strive to be better every day. Most of us want a new day to bring something new, and we plan for it as well. Of course, the execution is debatable as procrastination is real and it becomes an overwhelming feeling at times. Also, not to forget the customary practice of making resolutions on new year’s eve!  All of us are fascinated by the thought of preparing long lists of resolves to mark the beginning of a new year. Not sure how many people are able to translate these resolutions into functional realities. (more…)

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4 Reasons Why Content Is Pivotal For Mental Health Healing

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One of the most important things for an entrepreneur’s mental health is expressing their feelings, thoughts, and emotions. This is where content creation and writing becomes pivotal. Whether you read something that resonates with you or you write a compelling blog post, the act of expressing yourself through content can help to put a smile on your face and make you feel better about things.

Most entrepreneurs don’t spend as much time taking care of their mental health as they should. Over the course of your career, you will experience a lot of ups and downs; these emotions have the potential to take a toll on your mind and body if you don’t learn to manage them properly.

Here are four reasons why expression through content is pivotal for healing, slowing yourself down, and giving yourself grace when the going gets tough.

1. Content can be a form of self-expression

When you are an entrepreneur, you frequently face feelings of insecurity, doubt, fear, apathy, and exhaustion, just to name a few. Some days it feels like no one is on your business’s side and everyone else has it all figured out. On those days some of us try to look at our website’s analytics to cheer up. 

But an even more freeing task is creating content. You create content to improve your business and reach more people’s lives. But, there is something special that happens when you write with the intention of expressing your thoughts and feelings — you open a door to yourself. 

Content is inherently personal, which means content creators open themselves up when they share their thoughts on a platform. Everything from the title of the post, the keywords they choose to include, and even the content itself helps you to understand who the author of that post truly is. And as an entrepreneur, this can be an important experience because it allows others to empathize with you.

2. Self-reflection will lift you up

As you think through what to write about and how to express yourself, the process of self reflection is a valuable step you need to go through. You’re able to reflect on the blessings you have, assess what you learned from the negative experiences, and create a plan on how to maintain the positive experiences you’ve had. 

There are a few ways that self reflection can help you with mental health healing. The act of reflecting on your experiences helps to create clarity in feelings, thoughts and emotions which will eventually lead into acceptance for what has happened or is happening currently without feeling overwhelmed by it all. This process also leads people towards finding new things they enjoy doing. Self reflection is therapeutic and can be implemented anytime you feel the need to overcome overwhelm.

“Writing in a journal each day allows you to direct your focus to what you accomplished, what you’re grateful for and what you’re committed to doing better tomorrow. Thus, you more deeply enjoy your journey each day.” – Hal Elrod

3. A sense of belonging and camaraderie

It is important to have a support network of people who will listen and understand what you are going through. When you post a blog or upload a video on YouTube, there are others who feel the same way and experience a sense of connection with you.

When you put time, attention and thoughtfulness into your writing, it is amazing when someone reads what you’ve written and comments on it thanking you or expressing how they resonate with what you’re going through. It’s hard to put into words how powerful it feels when someone who has gone through the same experience and reads your words then reaches out.  There is power in expression but miracles happen when people bond over a similar experience.

4. Library of content to share with more people

It can be very difficult to know what content to share with people as the symptoms of mental health disorders (anxiety, depression, etc.) vary from person to person. But as you accumulate more and more content, this will increase the number of articles or videos available for readers to choose from depending on their specific purpose. It also builds your personal library of resources you’re able to share to different people you encounter or engage directly with.

As chaotic and distracting social media can be, it can also be a beacon of hope with the right content. Many people share viral posts, or content that interest them. Since your content is valuable and personal, the more you share it, the more likely it is to be shared with the right audience.

You never know who is watching (reading)

Your content is speaking to someone and even though they may not be actively engaged, their experiences with your work are impacting them. Think about the last time you watched TV: did everyone in the room have something entertaining to say? 

You never know who’s watching because there’s always somebody reading your posts or viewing your videos-even if they just skim through it briefly. This is why creating content worth consuming is critical, not only to get you out of your funk, but also to serve your audience.  Be authentic and stay true to yourself; make every post count as an opportunity for connection with your best self and for potential readers to bond with you.

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Life

5 Ways To Invest In Yourself and Change Your Life

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Warren Buffett once said, the best investment you can ever make is in yourself. Time and money spent on bettering yourself are never considered a waste. Whether it’s through learning how to make money online, exploring new ways to increase your financial security, or watching TED talks to expand your knowledge. Do not be stingy when it comes to self-improvement because it will definitely pay off in the end. 

Need some ideas to get started on your journey to becoming a better you? Here are 5 ways to invest in yourself and transform your life. 

1. Change Your Self-Concept

Having a negative self-concept can have a tremendous impact on your life. Limiting beliefs and self-doubt are some of the main reasons why many never achieve or attempt to pursue their dreams. Take a moment and think about all the negative thoughts you have repeated to yourself throughout your life. How have these thoughts impacted the way you live life? From now on, create a new self-image by turning these negative thoughts into positive ones and appreciate your good qualities. 

2. Sign Up For An Online Course

If you’ve been wanting to brush up on your Photoshop skills or learn how to code professionally, this is the perfect time to get started. As long as you have a stable internet connection, you can access an endless amount of valuable information online. For example, sites like Coursera and Youtube are both awesome resources for online learning. With a few search strings and clicks, you can find all the information you need. 

“Investing in yourself is the best investment you can make. It will not only improve your life, it will improve the lives of all those around you.” – Robin Sharma

3. Learn From a Mentor

No matter which stage of your life you are currently in, working with a mentor can help you stay motivated and focused on your goals. Not only can they guide you in the right direction, but also transform your vision, provide you with new insights, and connect you with amazing resources. If you’re feeling unmotivated or unsure about what you want to do in life, consider finding a mentor to help you navigate this process. 

4. Start A Side Hustle

The salary from a 9-5 job would rarely allow you to reach your maximum income potential. Why not achieve financial success while pursuing your passion by starting a side hustle? Whether it’s through starting an ecommerce business, freelance writing on the side, or starting a Youtube channel. There are infinite numbers of ways to make money, and there is bound to be one out there that fits your passion and skills. 

5. Nourish Your Body

As many may say, “health is the new wealth”. Without a healthy and functioning body, living a fulfilling and comfortable life becomes difficult. To take care of your body and prioritize your wellbeing, start with small habits such as eating healthier foods and exercising regularly. Bike or walk to work instead of taking the car, and opt for a healthy protein bowl instead of greasy burgers at Burger King. With time, these small habits can make an incredible difference.

Check out the infographic below, to see more ways you can invest in yourself:

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Life

How to Turn Inward and Detox Your Mind

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When we are overwhelmed by confusion, our psyche tries to establish certainty to alleviate our discomfort. This is usually accomplished by mentally imagining and acting out a plot. Unfortunately, much of the time, we mentally visualize pessimistic (or worst-case scenario) scenarios to provide certainty. (more…)

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