Get Motivated: Act Like a Kid

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April 1, 2013 by culverhousecareers

A version of this post originally appeared on Platform Magazine. Read it here

It is that time of year. Spring Break has come and gone, and the five weeks left in the semester are filled with what feels like five months worth of activities and assignments. On top of that, the threat of being unemployed, whether for the summer or forever, is looming uncomfortably closely overhead. After months of job searching and four years of college, my attitude has been less than stellar recently. If you’re like me, your motivation to do much of anything is waning.

After spending some time procrastinating on YouTube, I realized maybe some motivation could be found by acting more like a kid.

The thing about kids is when they have an idea for something, they do it. If they have something to say, they say it. If they think they have a good story to tell, they tell it. They follow their instincts, and they don’t hesitate.

Try stuff.

Take this 12-year-old who solved the issue of lions eating livestock in his Kenyan town. He had simple, logical ideas, and he tried them. When they didn’t work, he tried something else until he found the solution. As grown-ups, maybe we worry too much about making sure something is a “good” idea before we let it out of our brain. While our ideas probably shouldn’t be tested in the same way as the mechanisms used to scare away lions, running our ideas for our final group projects for class or work by our peers sooner might lead to better attitudes and a better end result.

Remember the beauty of simplicity.

And then there is this awesome parable from 6-year-old Asa. Once again, simplicity is the name of the game. A simple story about a pair of friends going to the pool so eloquently teaches us about moving on and letting go, all without any fancy bells and whistles. When trying to pull through with an A or applying to jobs, maybe sometimes we get stuck because we try too hard. We often worry so much about making ourselves seem “interesting” and “qualified,” when sometimes all we need to communicate is who we really are or what we’ve learned. Sometimes the most compelling stories are the most organic, like the ones kids tell.

Don’t give up.

Persistence is another trait we could learn from kids. Nine-year-old Caine had an idea to build an arcade out of cardboard boxes, so he did it. He created a business plan complete with marketing strategies. Even when customers were few and far between, he knew his idea was cool so he stuck with it. It is easy for us big kids to shy away from something because it doesn’t seem like we will succeed, whether it is an internship with a Fortune 500 company or an out-of-the-box class presentation. Of course there are times when we must accept defeat, but there are times when we should take leaps of faith as well.

As business students, we spend all our time considering what the best strategic moves are and how to get ahead the most efficiently. And getting that right is why we get paid. In times of limited motivation, however, maybe the best thing to do is step back and ask ourselves what we would do if we were in the second grade. It is so easy to get bogged down by overflowing inboxes and endless to-do lists, but allowing ourselves to forget about it all lets our mind play.

Rediscovering the child who wrote a whole saga of short stories titled “Bill the Leprechaun” for fun helps me get back to the internal motivation that led me to my industry of choice in the first place. How does rediscovering your inner child motivate you?

Questions? Come by The Career Center at Culverhouse in 250 Bidgood or call us at 205-348-2691 to make an appointment with one of our career consultants. 

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2 thoughts on “Get Motivated: Act Like a Kid

  1. This is terrific! I happily shared it with my followers on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for the good – and creative – read.

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