Children are imaginative, confident, creative and fearless. And while all those qualities can make parenting a little, uh, challenging, kids also prove to be the perfect guides when you’re looking to take on your most intimidating goals. Here’s how thinking WWMKD—What would my kids do?—can help you accomplish your loftiest dreams.
1. KIDS ARE CONFIDENT.
Kids don’t have a reason to believe they’re not the bomb.com. Emulate their pluck and you’ll be ready to tackle any goal on your list. Start by adopting what one renowned business school professor has dubbed a power pose, where your arms are spread wide and your chest is open. In an experiment, the researcher had participants hold either that stance or a powerless pose (where there arms were crossed and they were looking down) for two minutes, then go into a job interview. Recruiters consistently picked those that had performed the power pose. What’s more, a quick test of their hormone levels showed the power posers had an increase in testosterone and a decrease in the stress hormone cortisol. The takeaway: the next time you spot your kid posing as a superhero, step up right alongside them.
2. THEY RECOVER QUICKLY FROM FAILURES.
Ever watch a kid fall down while playing? More often than not, they pick themselves up and get back at it. Keep that in mind the next time you have a rough day at work or blunder a job interview, then try this trick dreamed up by researches at one Philadelphia-based business school. In a study they found that creating an arbitrary fresh start—much like people do when they make resolutions during New Year’s—encourages people to disconnect from past failures. So on bad days, pretend it’s January 1 and tackle that new goal.
3. THEY LIVE COLORFUL LIVES.
Most kids love color, and there’s a good reason for you to follow their lead and add more bright hues to your life—particularly shades of green. One 2012 study showed looking at that pigment sparks creativity and provides a boost of motivation.
4. THEY’RE NATURALLY CURIOUS.
Make like a child and ask lots of questions. Being inquisitive not only helps you learn things (oh, science is why the sky looks blue), but it can also lead you to a new passion you’d never considered.
5. THEY’RE ETERNAL OPTIMISTS.
Children literally believe they can do anything (become a superhero! be the world’s first veterinarian/ballerina!). Research shows imitating their ability to look on the bright side can increase your ability to get jobs, brainstorm new ideas, and become an overall more successful employee.
6. THEY’RE CREATIVE.
Kids can concoct countless ways to fill an afternoon, whether it’s by pretending to be fairy princesses, doctors, or even aliens. Take a few hours to enter their world of make believe. You’re apt to leave with a few new ideas about how to tackle your latest career dream or an activity to improve your closest relationships.
7. THEY’RE BRAVE.
Fearless, even when you don’t want them to be—of course they’re going to dive off the highest board—kids provide a great example for how to approach your scariest tasks. Rather than let your fear immobilize you, sometimes you just need to dive in headfirst. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.