Three curious kids running off into the distance.

When should we think more like kids?

Published on
September 7, 2020
Written By
Jane Sutherland
Marketing Specialist

On the path to maturity, our way of approaching the world changes. We begin to carefully calculate risks before taking action, safeguarding ourselves and those around us from negative experiences. But could we benefit by viewing the world through the perspective of our younger selves? And how can we shift to this way of thinking?

These are some of the themes we explored at TEDxMelbourne’s August 2020 Circle, When should we think more like kids? A topic inspired by child prodigy Adora Svitak’s 2010 TED Talk, along with the incredible achievements of former TEDxMelbourne speaker and Circle special guest, Jade Hameister OAM.

At just 12 years old, Jade completed the trek to Everest Base Camp. By 16 years old, Jade had become the youngest person in history to complete the polar hat-trick – having trekked to the North and South Poles, and cross the second largest polar icecap on the planet: Greenland.

While in conversation with TEDxMelbourne’s Head of Curation Jon Yeo, Jade shared that a lesson worth drawing from her experiences is that adults can benefit from thinking more like kids. By taking the risk and embarking on that first step, we might go further than we think.   

If you missed the event, here are some of the other thoughts and insights we uncovered at our August TED Circle.


The audacity to imagine 

Kids possess an innate ability to dream big, without being bogged down by life’s challenges. As Adora expressed in her TED Talk, “In many ways, our audacity to imagine helps push the boundaries of possibility.” For Jade, when she was preparing for her expeditions, rather than thinking about all the factors that could go wrong, she was focused on achieving her dreams.

So where does our audaciousness go as we get older? Our TED Circle participants discussed the notion that adults can tend to overthink. In assessing the risks or becoming fixated on achieving perfection, a fear of failure can stop us before we have even started. 


The external factors holding us back

The group considered what we could change about society and our communities. We discussed how the news can perpetuate anxieties with fear-driven messages. And how social media can feed the perception that we’re constantly being watched and judged. Could all this noise be blocking the child within? Perhaps we can find freedom by being mindful around how, and how often, we consume news and social media. 


You can tap into your inner child 

It was acknowledged that our inner child is always readily available to us, and that adults do have their own way of expressing imagination and openness. In the current global situation, with the forced slowing of life, we have seen adults embracing creativity in new shapes and forms – think of at-home craft kits and Zoom creative workshops. We have also leapt on the opportunity to find community beyond our own geographical borders, as evidenced by our very own TED Circle events. 


How to maintain a fresh perspective 

Our TED Circle guests proposed some ideas around how we can continue to embrace the positive traits we associate with childlike thinking – playfulness, curiosity, fearlessness. We could seek to actively drop the judgement of ourselves and others, creating a safe space for expression around us. Kids seem to express themselves unapologetically, with less time spent concerned about what others may think. 

It could also serve us to welcome moments of silliness and joy, breaking up the routine of the everyday. As adults, we can often veer towards thoughts of problem-solving and future-proofing. Kids tend to be naturally better at living in the moment – enjoying the present is something we could learn from them. 


The takeaway

Being able to plan for the future, consider the consequences of our actions and weigh-up risks are critical elements of living responsibly as an adult. Yet in a world full of uncertainties and hurdles, kids can inspire us to shift our mindset from automatic fear, to one that gravitates towards bravery, creativity and wonder.  

Join our community at the next TEDxMelbourne Circle.

TED Circles
Youth
Adventure
Change Making
Image of Jane with an Ice Cream.
Written By
Jane Sutherland
Marketing Specialist

Marketing specialist and ex-copywriter based in Melbourne. Still loves exercising her writing muscle when opportunity strikes.

Image of Jane with an Ice Cream.
Written By
Jane Sutherland
Marketing Specialist

Marketing specialist and ex-copywriter based in Melbourne. Still loves exercising her writing muscle when opportunity strikes.