4 Ways Children Are Better Than Adults

Isn’t it obvious?  Children are the purest human beings on the planet.

They have had less time to be conditioned by adults who themselves have been conditioned by other adults who have been conditioned… Ad freaking infinitum.

childpaint

According to her calculations, she’s actually better than you in 10 ways.

Someone needs to tell this little girl that it is not appropriate to have paint on your hands in business meetings. Or does she need to ask them why not?

1. Children Embrace Imagination As Adults Pursue “Maturity”

Human psychological maturity is defined as “acting appropriately in context of time and culture.”

Read: conforming to social rules.

But in a life that already has a glaring, unavoidable limit of around 28,726 days, more limits don’t make sense unless they are absolutely necessary. I wholeheartedly recommend that you do limit your consumption of arsenic, cyanide, mercury, Taco Bell, lead, and Actaea pachypoda.

But pure imagination is safe in very large doses, so long as your sense of reality is not lost (see: Inception – a good movie).

Think about the power of imagination. Any situation can be turned into an adventure with adequate imagination. That is exciting.

It is more than a TPS report can ever hope to be.

The worst part is that adults have more brainpower and therefore more imaginative capability than children, and yet most of us decide to suppress such an enjoyable gift of life. Though not all of us. For example, we have some filmmakers and authors that blow us away with their imaginations. These are people that decided to hang on to that childhood magic that isn’t “suitable for adults” (I think of Tim Burton).

It isn’t that children have more imagination than adults, it’s that they’re not yet embarrassed about it.

When you’re sitting on a bench with a friend – bored – why not explore an imaginary story or situation that interests you? Why not act out that story or situation? Why not pretend that you’re someone else for a while? Why not mentally create a new product or creature?

There are a million reasons why not – it’s embarrassing, it would be weird of course, and you might not be very good at it from lack of practice.

And yet…there is one great reason TO do it – it’s fun. Doing everything as a “mature adult” is fine, but it can get rather boring when everything is predictable and ordinary. How can we enjoy a crazy, unrealistic movie one minute and the next minute think someone is acting immature when they pretend their arm is a laser cannon? That’s just how we’ve been conditioned and it isn’t fair to the laser cannon man in all of us.

There is nothing immature about acting out a play in the middle of a mall – people just aren’t used to it. In fact, you’ll find that well-done imaginative work is well-loved by the public.  Consider Improv Everywhere putting on an impromptu rendition of Ghost Busters in the New York Public Library.

It turned a hum-drum library day into an interesting one – smiles were everywhere.

Children start out with a strong appreciation for the imaginative, and that appreciation is gradually beaten down with “reality.”

But that’s just the problem.

Imagination is all about creating a new reality.

2. Children Are More Likely To Have Complete Trust

When we’re born and up until a certain age, we are completely at the mercy of others and are forced to trust them with our lives.

At some point, we strike independence and become more self-reliant – a good thing. However, self-reliance and the required skepticism to make it in this world combine to decrease our willingness and ability to trust trustworthy people with our love and lives. The bond of complete trust is one of the strongest human bonds there is – and many kids have it in spades (or hearts, for the emotional ones out there).

3. Children Don’t Make Assumptions

One of the biggest problems in human relationships that causes arguments is that we all tend to make false assumptions from time to time. You see I’m unemployed and assume I’m lazy. Jane sees a guy with lots of tattoos and thinks she knows why he got them and what type of person he is. When you tell a self-conscious girl she’s beautiful, she assumes you’re mocking her.

Adults can take a face-value comment and twist it into something it is not and was never intended to be.

If I tell a little girl she’s beautiful, she’ll blush or twirl or something cute like that.

And when children look at people, they see….people. They don’t try to define and label people they don’t know because they aren’t so well-acquainted with today’s stereotypes. In this way they are more mature than adults.

Everyone has a story – a unique story – so let’s start acting like children and drop the all-encompassing labels.

4. Children Live Fun, Simple Lives

When you grew up and saw how young and naive you were as a tot, did you also recognize what you lost?

The life of a child is one of fewer responsibilities. When you have fewer responsibilities, what do you end up doing most of the time? You do the things you want to do.

As adults, we have responsibilities because we need to do certain things – but far fewer things than we think. Consider this video about the Mexican fisherman (seen here) who lived the life he wanted to with few demands of his time. To provide food for his family, he went fishing (a retirement activity). He lived the simple life.

Children might have chores here and there, but they are generally provided for and can enjoy playing with other kids and pursuing what they want. That is, kids have fun for a living. They simply do what they want (so long as the parents approve).

Happy childhood

Oh great. This kid thinks swinging is fun? Does she even know she is merely converting potential energy into kinetic energy back into potential energy? It’s weird how she completely ignores the physics involved and just enjoys it. I bet she’ll grow out of it. Most adults know it is incorrect to enjoy swinging this much.

Maybe I included this one because I used to play video games all day as a kid… guilt-free. Now when I play something, I know I have bills to pay, blog posts to write, companies to create, and a wife to find (honey, stop being so elusive). 

So, Adults…

Embrace your inner child and rethink “maturity.”

Tim Ferriss suggested a funny starting point for getting “comfortable” in public in The Four Hour Work Week – lie down on your back on the floor in a public place. When Tim did it and people asked him about it, he told the confused onlookers that he “just felt like resting.” (which they found amusing)

I did it today at the Verizon store to demonstrate the principle to my sister (She snagged a Samsung Charge, which is annoyingly better than my Droid Incredible). I was still treated like a human being afterwards, so it wasn’t devastating like you might think.

And while you’re lying down, you might as well flip over and try out planking. Have fun out there, kids! Adults just play in a bigger sandbox, right?

planking

This…. is planking.

photo credit: boliston 

About the Author

I'm lazy, but you can call me Stephen. When you're as lazy as I am, you need superior strategies to live well. My strategies are so effective that I'm productive every single day. As the world tries to figure out how to always stay motivated, I create strategies that don't require it.

Robert

Hey Stephen!

Hope you’re well man. This is a great post. We change so much from when we are kids, in some ways for the better and in some ways for the worse. You make some great points, really we’re all big kids. I love movies like Iron Man, but in reality they’re pretty darn unrealistic! That’s the child side of us coming out; something that we should embrace rather than cover up!

Three things cause adults to behave how they do, social norms, conditioning and experience. It is our social experience that makes us different, we learn that everyone can’t be trusted. The problem is, it’s easy to feel too paranoid about the world and the people in it. Sometimes we need to embrace some of the childlike innocence, but it’s hard when our experiences tell us otherwise.

I believe it is the childlike imagination of many entrepreneurs that has led to their creativity, and in turn some of the best inventions in the world! Thank God for those people thinking that way.

Nonetheless, there are some huge advantages of being a child – a simple life, no responsibilities, most of us look back on them fondly saying “They were the days!”

Awesome post, an interesting perspective that not many of us think about.

Speak soon dude

Stephen Guise

Hey Robert!

Our love for crazy imaginative movies like Iron Man shows that we didn’t lose our imaginations – we just tend to suppress them.

Like you said, I think our adult instincts and maturity are very useful and necessary, but that we let it go too far. We forget many of these very positive child-like qualities.

I think you’re right about innovators because children limit themselves less. They reach for hot stoves, eat bugs, etc. just out of curiosity. They’re little risk-takers. Innovation and invention requires the consideration of very many options.

Thanks for your thoughtful insights Robert.

Stephen Guise

Thank you Himanshu. I’m glad you liked it!

Justin | Mazzastick

Kids are authentic beings until they get their minds programmed by adults and authority figures. I believe that we must be the change that we want to see in the world.

Stephen Guise

Very true. I’ve always liked the concept of being the change you want to see in the world. Really, it’s the most we can do!

Thanks Justin.

Martyn Chamberlin

Dude this is fascinating.

If you removed all the children out of the world, we’d be stressed out and miserable. God did it this way for a reason, heh. Keep writin’!

Stephen Guise

That’s why I wrote the stress management ebook (in case there are no children and we get stressed out).

I will keep writing. You keep writin’ too.

Chris Jones@soundspott

Children are better than adults- I think you are right when I scroll down your content.
I really like to do the fun stuff-to lie down in a public place-gosh you really did it?

Stephen Guise

I sure did. It was fun. 🙂

Is It Down

I’m so glad someone else has come up with this! I always say that children really know how to live… They have better relationships, they don’t fight about the stupid things we do, and they live in the pursuit of happiness every day. What happens to us? Why do we lose this outlook on life? Whatever the reason, I hope we can all embrace our inner children and live a little more like we used to. 🙂

Laurie

Stephen Guise

Children are better in quite a few ways. We think we’re growing up and getting better, but we leave so many good things behind.

I think what happens to us is we are put in a system designed to take the child out of us. Society has an idea of what’s child-like and what’s not and it’s instinctual to follow in that path into “adulthood.”

I babysat a kid once and was fascinated by his fascination with the littlest things. I suppose that’s why many parents live vicariously through their kids?

Saphira

I loved reading this!

I’m 19, and you know what? I still DAYDREAM EVERY SINGLE DAY and create stories in my head. xD I love to write, and I’ve always clung to my love of fantasy, so that’s probably where it comes from. I always probably will. I’m in College now, (for a program I don’t really like mind, but in last year so aiming for the diploma) and I’d like to be a writer one day. While I have to be mature to get my homework done and stay focused, I still daydream while doing it, going back and forth with reality and my ‘own little world.’ I can’t imagine not doing it! Sometimes when I see people on the bus looking all blank and stuff, I wonder what they think about. Are they thinking about just reality based things, or do they let their imagination take over like I let mine do? I’m turning 20 soon and I’ll still continue to do so – because without my imagination how in the world would get through some days?

Stephen Guise

Saphira,

Don’t ever let that go! You have a gift to still possess your childlike imagination at your age. Like you, I am a huge fan of fantasy!

As for the blank people on the bus, I think life just wears them down. I’ve had a rough few months lately and I can see how it can hurt your spirits and vigor for life, making things like your imagination go to the back burner. Some people are more resilient than others, so it might depend on that.

Have fun Saphira! Thanks for the comment.

Miami Water Damage

Well, children do not have much responsibilities, therefore they have the time to imagine ect.

Nikki Rodice

Maybe if you adults saw that life isn’t all about money and power and saw that life could be a thousand and one rainbows if you want it to be, you would realize that if everyone realized that MONEY IS NOT THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE WORLD!! WAKE UP AND SMELL THE DEAD ROSES THAT YOU JUST HAD TO CUT TO GIVE TO SOMEONE BECAUSE YOU THINK THAT A BUNCH OF EXPENSIVE FLOWERS IS BETTER THAN A HUG!! PROBLEMS WOULDN’T EXIST IF EVERYONE WOULD HAVE THE ABILITY TO GET ALONG!!

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