How to see the World From the Eyes of a Child

I’ve been super inspired by my 3 year old niece, Amelia. The way she sees the world with curiosity, excitement, and fun!

Why see the world from a child’s eyes?

Our entire life we’ve been taught to “grow up”, to stop being so “childlike”, and for us to listen to rules, to obey, and to follow instructions.

It’s insanely sad, and an injustice to humankind. We are essentially crushing the creativity out of children, in order for them to become perfect test-taking, email-answering machines.

It is of my belief that children are far more innovative, interesting and epic than adults. Children question the status quo, children test assumptions for themselves (they intuitively follow the “first principles” approach), they don’t just listen to adults for the sake of it, and they are continually curious, learning, and hungry to learn and do more!

We see this mentality being followed with all the great innovators of history. Pablo Picasso once famously said, “Every child is born an artist. The problem is staying an artist as you get older.” Steve Jobs was infamous for throwing “tantrums”, crying, and acting essentially like a big “man baby” at times, when he didn’t get things his way. Kanye West also says that when he is trying to make a new song, he tries to create like his 2 year old self. An even wiser saying from Kanye, “I want to become more and more childlike as I get older. When I die, I want to be 0 years old.”

In an interview when someone asked Kanye, “What do you think a genius is?” his answer was simply, “A genius is a kid with good parents.” (meaning, a parent who supports the child in their own personal inquiries, and doesn’t beat the curiosity out of the child).


Why?

I think the best 3 letter word in the dictionary is, “Why?”

As children, we incessantly ask, “Why?” when we are told by our parents, teachers, or authority figures to do stuff. But the adults wrongly say, “Because I said so!” (the worst thing you can ever tell a child). Thus as we get older, we become trained like domesticated dogs (Palaov dog training), to not ask “why”, and we simply follow orders out of fear.

But do we want the future of humanity and our future children simply to live according to fear-avoidance, or do we desire our children to do epic stuff? For them to create new things, to explore new frontiers of knowledge, and for them to innovate to make the lives of humanity better?


I’m essentially a man child, or a man baby. I don’t have a good attention span, I get easily bored, and I break a lot of social rules. For example if someone is talking to me and I’m bored, I will often just walk away. Or I interrupt people, or I ask people “Why?” about 5 times, enough to annoy people.

I actually think I was the most creative when I was around 16 years old, when I got my driver’s license, when I got my first job, and I had financial and mobility (driving) independence for the first time in my life. I was also quote independent and free in college. But when I started to get older and got a job, and had to do “adult stuff”, my childlike self started to slowly dither away.

But after living in Vietnam for about a year, and going into intense ZEN MONK seclusion mode, in philosophizing a ton, and questioning everything; I think this is one of my big discoveries:

In order for us to live more creative, fulfilling, and innovative lives, we must act more like our past childlike selves!


Some practical ideas:

  1. Spend more time with children, play with them, and interact with them. Ask them questions and don’t tell them they’re wrong. Assume you’re the wrong one.
  2. Give a kid a camera or a phone camera, and ask them to take photos. See how excited they are, and copy them!
  3. Write down a list of dreams, hobbies, and passions you had as a kid. Do you still have them, or pursue them? If so, why? If not, why not?

Be childlike! :)
ERIC

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