Is Your Baby More Successful than You?
My son is a crazy little baby who has an obsession with holding random objects. He will select an object he wants to hold early in the day and he will hold it for the entire day, sometimes even up until he has to go to bed. After watching him do this many times, I noticed he would take the object he decided to hold that day and use it in hundreds of different ways, whether it was meant to be used that way or not. He would try to taste it, hit himself with it, put it inside different containers, roll it around on the ground, throw it, shake it, etc. This prompted me to want a deeper understanding of why he does those things and in turn led to this post.
Babies are always testing their environment. Whether it’s touching a hot stove or placing their hand under a cold stream of water, it’s a test. They take action, receive input, come to a conclusion, then adapt their behavior. An example would be something like:
1. Take action: Touch a hot stove.
2. Receive input: The stove is not to the touch and causes pain.
3. Come to a conclusion: Touching a hot stove is painful
4. Adapt behavior: Baby stops touching hot stoves
Granted, babies go through this process a lot more than adolescents or adults because they have a lot more to learn about the world, but I believed if we followed their example a little more we would become better and more successful adults. Babies do not have fears or prejudices against trying almost anything. I have personally watched my son attempt to lean forward and tumble down steps in order to traverse them. He was willing to just fall down the steps and accept the consequences.
Thomas Edison was obviously a great historical figure, but he didn’t become that from doing nothing. He followed this same process, even as he invented the light bulb, failing at least 1,000 times. Each attempt that Edison made he was taking action, receiving more input and data about what he did wrong, concluded he should not make a light bulb that way, then adapted his behavior.
Lets take a minute to watch the video below from Johns Hopkins University.
See the full article here.
There are two things I want to note:
- Babies that saw an expected event and then a surprising event around an object were actually to learn about it more effectively.
- Studies showed that babies used what they already know about the world to drive further learning.
I would like to point out, I do not believe that we are much different in our learning style as adults. We still learn by seeing things happen unexpectedly, concluding things were not as they seemed previously, and adapting our behavior(sometimes). In the same way, we also use what we already know about the world to drive further learning about it, experience and knowledge are what let us make decisions about what we will do in the future.
The biggest problem is that once we reach adulthood we do very little to test our environment, gather new information, or even use what we already know to do anything more than work 9-5 every day for 40 years, its insane. As adults we might have more information and be able to make better calculated decisions that will not cause us injury, like purposely falling down a flight of stairs, but we also allow that information to create fear and hold us back. One problem with this is that a lot of the information a lot of us have might not even be correct as it comes from parents, family, or friends that cast doubts on ideas and dreams.
Mentality of My Hometown
Lets take this back to Kentucky where I grew up, I remember growing up hearing people talk about working hard, breaking their backs, sweating all day every day in order to make a living. I also remember the passive idea of working this hard for 30-40 years, not taking risks, and eventually retiring when you are too old and too beat up physically to do anything. People would say things about business risks like “You better not do that, you might end up losing your ass”, but the alternative is to spend 40 years working my ass off, either way I’ve got no ass! I don’t mean to say Kentucky is the only place where this happens, its everywhere, but I had most of my life experiences there so I can remember the culture from certain groups.
Never Listen to the Majority
What do you think a child would do if an adult said “You better not throw that toy out the window” or “You better hand me my phone”, if they have any sense, they will do just the opposite simply to see what happens, then laugh about it! Which brings me to my next two points, do not listen to what others tell you unless they are who you want to be and testing your environment will bring you joy. People are generally negative when it comes to hearing about someone else’s grand ideas of how they will make millions, or get out of their 9-5 jobs.
You will get the strongly opposed who say “No, you can’t do that, you are going to fail”, you will get the concerned opposition saying “Wow, that sounds dangerous, are you sure its a good idea?”, and even some form of opposition that seems to come from disinterest from others.
Don’t listen to that garbage, find like minded people, test, fail, reorient, and move forward! Next, if you are the person sitting at home knowing you are meant for more, you hate working your normal job and your normal life, you absolutely have to get in touch with your inner baby and start testing your environment. Ultimately for adults this usually means taking risks, failing, learning, failing again, learning, then maybe success, but for some of us we are miserable without it. If you are still reading at this point, you are probably part of the “us”.
Why Don’t People Try?
Changing gears a little bit, why do adults not strive to be more or do more? I mean everyone WANTS to be a millionaire, but not everyone wants to put in the work and become the millionaire, right? People just want to wake up and have everything, we want a pill or a band aid rather than a process or self development. We all strive too hard to be comfortable which will literally work directly against the thing we say we want! We want a million dollars, but we want to get it by sitting on our couches watching tv.
In reality, those who have earned this much money do exactly the opposite and keep themselves in uncomfortable positions, they push boundaries and grow. I think Tim Ferriss nailed this point with his quote from “The Four Hour Work Week” A person’s success in life can be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have. I cannot think of a more simple way to frame success and how to achieve it in one sentence. If you truly want something great(like passive income great, not like ice cream great), you better be prepared to get uncomfortable.