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Imagine Life Like A Child

March 31, 2011

A week or two ago I spent an evening catching up with a friend. We met at an ice-cream parlor I’ve grown to love for the simple fact that it doesn’t try to be anything other than a place that sells out-of-this-world ice-cream. No pretenses, no gimmicks, no grander than grand slogan to get you in the door. Just a small shop that sells delicious, no mind-blowing, ice-cream.

On this particular catch-up session my friend brought along his adorable 3 year-old son. I’ve had the pleasure of sharing an ice-cream cone or two with this pint-sized cutie before and, as someone who doesn’t yet have children, I am always absorbed and amazed by his imagination. Where it takes him, what it shows him, the doors it unlocks, how it unfolds and that it can amazingly jump from one topic to the next with little to no effort and without skipping a beat.

After ice-cream, we ventured down to a playground as much for my enjoyment as his (I have to let you know that I’m a giant kid at heart). After realizing that his unrelenting plea’s of “watch this” and “catch me now!” were falling on deaf ears he simply shrugged his shoulders and ventured off into a world only he could see. I watched and realized that not only was I mesmerized but I was jealous.

Jealous of a 3 year-old boy who believed wholeheartedly in endless possibilities. For him there were and are no barriers. No limitations. No road blocks preventing creativity or grand ideas. If he wanted the playground to become a fire station or a church he made it so. That simple.

I envy that type of imagination. As adults, we look at those who dare to dream big and scoff at them when they aren’t looking. We tell them to “reign it back in” and think realistically. We think small steps instead of big ones because we’ve been told, far too often, that thinking big could set us up for failure.

We preach about thinking “outside the box” but how many of us actually live those words every moment of every day? Not many I’m sure.

This morning, in what has become my daily habit, I watched a TED video. I have been routinely inspired by the messages these speakers put forth but today, I was blown away. A 12-year old stood in front of room filled with people 20, 30 and 40 years her senior and delivered a talk that landed her a well-deserved standing ovation.

What truly resonated with me was the idea that, like children, we must think irrationally if we want to overcome the “I can’t” or “that is impossible” mentality. We must dream first, embrace the fear of failing and use our imaginations to push the boundaries of possibility.

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