6 Powerful Ways to Inject Little-Kid Excitement and Energy Into Your Life
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As parents, moms especially, we’re always being told ways to get more energy – things like: take time for yourself, sleep more, exercise and eat well. While this is sound, practical advice, it’s not that exciting. We’ve heard it before and we already know we’re supposed to do it.
What about getting the kind of energy into your life that makes these basics fade into the background because you leap out of bed in the morning with the same excitement levels as a little kid? Sound good? Here are 6 powerful ways to inject little-kid excitement and energy into your life.
1. Look for opportunities to meet new people.
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A common complaint I’ve heard among older parents is that it can be hard to make new friends. As our work schedules and parenting duties take over our lives, it’s often difficult to nurture new friendships. Let’s face it: fresh relationships take a little more time and energy to cultivate. How many times have you met someone new, but you didn’t really give the friendship a chance to take root?
The cool thing is this: when you start giving new people you meet a chance, you get to try on different friendships until you find the ones that “click” for you. Great new friendships will give you more energy, not less. You let a piece of your young, vital, energetic self die when you don’t take the time to get to know new people; the good news is that you can get this part of yourself back when you become willing to extend yourself again. As you get deeper into new friendships, you continue to learn who you are and have the potential to become within new contexts.
2. Pursue your dreams.
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If not now, when? When you pursue your dreams, you become one of the luckiest people who have ever lived. You are giving yourself the chance that your life brings you the happiness, fulfillment and purpose that all humans desire, but few achieve. Talk about an energy boost!
One of the top deathbed regrets is wishing one had the courage to live a life true to oneself, not the life others expected. Bronnie Ware, an Australian nurse who spent several years caring for the dying, writes:
This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.
If you don’t give your dreams a chance, then you’re looking at a 100% failure rate. Dreams are worth pursuing even if you fail; when you give them a go, you can adjust your sails as necessary and keep learning as you rack up new skills.
3. Try new experiences.
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There are plenty of experiences and activities that would give energy back to us, if only we’d make the small effort up front to get going. When we try something new, a lot of us grit our teeth in anticipation of the extra effort required to navigate those first few tries. We have to learn where to go and what to do, and we will probably make some mistakes in the process. So many of us are victims of perfectionism; making mistakes feels royally uncomfortable and embarrassing.
Let it go. Humans aren’t supposed to be perfect, but they are meant to expend energy. When you stop exerting yourself, your life contracts inward as familiar circumstances and people inevitably move on and away. The way to resolve this is to go with the flow of change: seek new experiences to inject fresh energy into your life. Little kids haven’t experienced much yet, and they wake up each day excited about the new things they’ll see. Remember that feeling as you set out to gain new experiences.
4. Try new ideas.
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I have been a long-time fan of O Magazine columnist and author Martha Beck. She’s whip-smart and has always provided practical advice in everything I’d read by her. Then I checked out her latest book, Finding Your Way in a Wild New World. If I could use two words to describe this book, they would be “woo woo.” And I mean woo-woo-Weird with a capital W. However, I decided to give her ideas a chance and I am blown away by what I’ve discovered. The ideas in the book might be woo woo, but they also work and they are absolutely revolutionary and life changing for me.
When a friend recommends a book or a movie, do you ever find yourself thinking, “Meh, not for me”? We all do it sometimes; heck, I know Martha's book isn't for everybody -- but you never know when you take the leap to expose yourself to new and different ideas – it might change your life.
5. Stop comparing yourself to others.
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The fastest way downhill towards dissatisfaction with your life is to compare yourself to others. Yeah, sure, you might get the occasional feeling of smugness when you think you’re doing better than somebody else. But it’s completely unwarranted; you’re comparing apples to oranges. We’ve all been dealt different hands. Even if you think your upbringing and material means are the same, we’ve all got different minds and ideas and levels of life satisfaction, so comparing yourself to others is a meaningless waste of time and energy.
I’m not saying to keep your blinders on and live inside a bubble. You can look at others for inspiration or to learn from them. If you must compete, use an earlier version of yourself as a benchmark. See where you stand in relation to your younger self. Just two years ago, I was “successful” in the corporate world, but I was dragging myself through the motions. Today I’m on the cusp of launching a business that is already turning my life around for the better. When you aim to improve your life and circumstances, you generate an endless source of inspiration and energy that pulls you forward.
6. Focus outward and help those around you.
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When you learn something that helps you, do you automatically share it with others? Most of us don’t, as a blanket policy, run around and refer others to everything that gives us a boost. There may be different reasons depending on the circumstances. Perhaps you assume other people won’t be interested in your solution. We might be afraid of recommending something that could be a flop to others. Or we might fear giving up a secret that helped us be successful lest we destroy our advantage.
In his timeless classic How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie wrote:
You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.
The first step is to really care about people and become genuinely interested in what makes them tick. When you become outward focused and you concentrate your attention on caring for and helping others, you become less self-conscious. This allows for our natural self-confidence to bloom once again.
Part of what gives kids that crazy energy they have is a lack of self-consciousness, which breeds self-confidence. Don’t you want some of that? Focus on helping others rather than spending energy on worrying on what others think of you, and you will gain the energy of a thousand toddlers.
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