One-Year Olds Are More Willing To Learn Than Adults

CrayonsMy little girl is one year old right now.

I’m learning so much watching her grow each day.

For one, she is stubborn. If she wants to get something from you, like a toy or food, she will work until she figures out how to get it.

She is also very good at learning. Things are really picking up now. Talking. Crawling. Standing and soon walking. Also climbing. She’s very good at climbing stairs.

But learning. She wants to learn as much as possible. She watches us turn on electronic toys and then wants to try and do it herself. She watches our mouths and listens to us say words. Then she tries and tries to learn how to do it herself.

Learning In The Adult World

As I’ve watched my girl grow month by month I’ve started to wonder if I’m able to get into the same mindset as her. The learning mindset.

I don’t see any reason why adults aren’t as able to learn as toddlers. In fact, the more I’ve thought about it the more I’ve realized that the people I’ve read about and interacted with that are successful seem to be the ones most willing to keep their childhood curiosity for learning.

Being Okay With Failure

I remember reading a study a few years ago that looked into why older people seem to be slower drivers. The hypothesis was that there was something going on in their brains that made their reaction times slower.

It was kind of like that, but the surprising part was that the main driver for slower reactions was that the people were afraid of making mistakes. It would almost short circuit their ability to make any decision at all.

So this is something we have to fight against throughout our lives and in many areas.

We care about what others think about us. In the early days of humans we needed others to want us around because there was strength in numbers.

It’s still good to want others to care about you, but we all have more leeway than we think. We can make all kinds of mistakes.

Does anybody care that Tony Hawk didn’t land the 900 for years before finally making it? Nope. We only remember that he was the first to do it.

Going Deeper On What You’re Good At

There are a few ways to continue learning. One of them is to go deeper on what you’re good at or what you’ve been doing for several years.

Just because you’re a great designer doesn’t mean that you can’t go deeper to really see how good you can get. It doesn’t mean that you can’t learn other skills to build on top of the ones you already have.

This can be tricky. We often get bored with things we’re really good at. It makes me think of Tiger Woods. He famously changed his golf swing multiple times. He wanted to get better at what he was already good at. He kind of used a hybrid of going deeper while also learning new things.

Learning New Things

We often try new things. We get curious about yoga or meditation or bowling or whatever. We give it a little effort and often we forget about it. And that’s okay. Kids are great at trying new things. They’re seeing everything for the first time.

We’re often at our most creative when we’re in new settings and trying something new. Look, I’m a big believer in routines and going deep on what you’re good at, but a good balance of trying new things seems like a key to a good and happy life.

Final Thoughts

My daughter has been wonderful for many reasons. Perhaps the best, at least right now, is that she’s teaching me that I need to keep my curiosity for life. I see how much her ability to learn positively impacts her and it reminds me that there is no reason I can’t take the same approach to life.

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