TED Conversations

Sartaj Anand

Founder, Egomonk , Melton Foundation

TEDCRED 500+

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If you could learn 1 thing from a child what would it be ?

As we grow up and become adults we seem to enter a negative space. A space defined more by what we cannot do than what we can.

We learn to give up, play it safe and lose our curiosity and imagination.

Our children are our future. What will you learn from them today ?

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    Jan 29 2012: The ability to take risks without being paralyzed by the fear for failure or getting hurt. I think as we grow older and with more responsibilities on our shoulders, we often prefer the 'play safe' route. I'm still working on this when learning how to ride a bike!
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      Feb 2 2012: Agreed Carmen. I personally think children don't fully comprehend fear, failure or even the fragility of Life and thus are able to do things beyond what we think is possible.
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    Jan 18 2012: The one thing I wish to learn from children is their ability to be so completely satisfied with what they have.
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    Jan 11 2012: We should learn from children, who are wise enough to be authentic.
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    Jan 10 2012: Children are unpredictable.

    A friend, who is a corporate executive, told me about a time he got pickpocketed at a leadership retreat. The pickpocket - who did this to prove a point, not be a criminal - told him he could do it because he made assumptions about how this exec would behave. He said he can not pick the pocket of a child, because of their unpredictable behavior/tendencies.

    From my kids, I am trying to re-learn the art of non-linear thinking and other traits children have that lead them to be unpredictable. There's a freedom there I lost somewhere...
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      Jan 12 2012: A freedom bound by the conventions of adult life... I think the non-linearity of their thoughts stems simply from not knowing how things work and how ideas fail.
  • Jan 10 2012: Imagination
    Children have an incredible insight to imagination. While most, if not all adults, lose their imaginative wonder and thirst we should all be more in tune with our imagination.

    “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”
    Albert Einstein
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    Jan 31 2012: spontaneity
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    Jan 29 2012: Children never prejudge.
    As we grow old , many a times , we judge things before we start doing it and there is always a fear of loosing.
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      Feb 2 2012: That's an interesting thought... Why do you think we start to judge others as we grow older ? I have some theories but I'd love to hear your take on it :)
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        Feb 2 2012: As a Kid , Everything that we see is new and every experiecne that we undrego is unique .

        As we grow older , we operate with filters , Eg : Yeah , i know this can never happen , I know he will not do this , i knew that he will be late and etc etc etc....

        Above all this , as we grow older , we carry always a Tag called "Experience " with us , which we always refer to or compare , with the present happenings.

        Whats your take on this ????
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          Feb 2 2012: +1 to everything you said. I agree with most of it and would just like to add that children do not judge others simply because they do not assume. They realize that life is dynamic and though experiences are helpful no 2 experiences can ever be completely alike. Also they remember the best in people and not their worst. If adults could manage each other on that principle we would be a much happier lot.
  • Jan 19 2012: To always find the joy and wonderment in the world around me and always expect the best that life has to offer.
  • Jan 12 2012: 1. To be in the moment.
    2. To know that vulnerability is a strength.
    In fact there cant be just 1 thing to learn from them, they are the book which we start unlearning as we grow. Till we feel the need to find it and learn from it again. Perhaps, that is why they say that a child gives birth to a mother or a father.
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    Jan 12 2012: The ability to forgive others right away.
  • Jan 12 2012: Their ability to look at people with no judgment whatsoever. Anyone unknown is just a friend they havn't yet met, and they base thier opinoins on people on how they see that person act in the present moment, not due to things people have been telling them to think, or on things they have heard. Kids wipe the slate clean with anyone they meet.
  • Jan 11 2012: They are alive all the time.
    I suppose they are the only people who really follow this quotation: Seize the day(Carpe Diem).
    They aren't numb, but rather responsive.
    They do not delay the things they want to do.
    (Once they find out "It's interesting", they gotta do what they wanna do.)
    The adults should not only learn from their children, but also they have to be careful to not to confine their children's aliveness.
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    Jan 11 2012: One thing is not enough, there are many things we could learn from children.
    Honesty, curiosity, creativity, forgetting, forgiving, energy......
  • Jan 11 2012: As I watch my children play freely I admire how time does not play into their day. For most adults time constrains and organizes the way they live: we pay bills on time, make it to work on time, come home at a certain time, time to put the kids to bed, time to cook dinner, time to wake up and make coffee. Of course time is needed but I would love to take a few days and ignore time and play.
  • Jan 11 2012: I wish the creativity that we had when we were children stuck... Things we go through, (school) can kill our creativity. Mine is dead... I envy children for their creativity.
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    Jan 11 2012: As you mentioned: curiosity.. I think that's the most.
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    Jan 11 2012: I would learn their belief that there is no limit and that anything is possible. Also, I would learn their ability to just absorb.
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      Jan 11 2012: I would learn from them unconditional love, truth and honesty as they get close to people who are good to them and show them back the love they have received, and they get away from people they have had bad experience with, but without calling for revenge.
  • Jan 11 2012: Faith that everything is okay; and innocence, all they do is with good motives.
  • Jan 11 2012: Children remind us to be humble, unpretentious, enquiring and definitely to continue being oneself. These are definitely qualities that I continue to try and revive and rekindle in my life.
  • Jan 11 2012: To constantly be in the present moment of wonder ... this constant moment is all we ever live in / are conscious in but the world infects us / affects us and we become self absorbed, self conscious, dissatisfied and anxious.

    I don't want the "childish" baggage that kids sometimes exhibit but the "childlike" sense of wonder and immediacy is a gift we lose too soon.

    In losing the sense of wonder to self absorbtion is why the world is in a fine state ... greed and narrowness are the enemy
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    Jan 11 2012: Not just one thing!

    Creativity, imagination, energy - and importantly, freedom from prejudice...

    We must learn from children as much as they do from us. The mutual respect that engenders is absolutely priceless.
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    Jan 11 2012: how to use imagination~
    I think that every adults have imagination like childeren, but they just don't know using that.
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    Jan 10 2012: Adventure.
    I would like to get lost again; spend every ounce of my being exploring, and to be fascinated with the simplest/most-complex things.
    Also, like Adriaan Braam said, a willingness to be led.
  • Jan 10 2012: I'd want to learn how to laugh...
  • Jan 10 2012: Their acceptance of what is.
  • Jan 10 2012: curiousity....

    As we grow old we tend to become complacent and that is the end of everything.
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    Jan 10 2012: To not be afraid to use my imagination.
  • Jan 10 2012: To be present in the moment.