Rock Your Life: Embrace Your Inner Child

The other day I created this post on Facebook. “You are an adult to your inner child. Give yourself permission to eat ice cream for breakfast… in your cowgirl boots.”  Judging by the likes and comments, this little ditty delighted a number of friends. Like me, they probably sometimes tire of being an adult. Not only is it hard work, as grown-ups, we sometimes lack the creativity and spontaneity of the young.

little girl with ice cream in studio isolated

Are you too wound up in the parameters of adulthood? I know I am much of the time. When I need to step back, turn off the noise of the world and shake off my Ms Manners persona, I turn to my old friend Dr. Suess. I think he nailed it when he said “I like nonsense. It wakes up the brain.”

crazy monster

I’ve always cherished reading to children and delivering the sing-song verses written by Theodore Geisel, (AKA Dr. Suess) the man dubbed as the modern Mother Goose. We love his characters because they embrace coloring outside the lines. Rarely do they play by the rules. (Actually, Theodore was prone to breaking the rules too as evidenced by some trouble he got into at Dartmouth. Along with some buddies, he was caught drinking in his dorm room.) I know, no big deal right? Well this was 1924 when prohibition reigned so there was a penalty.

Embracing our inner child means sometimes looking at the world wearing glasses two prescriptions too strong.

Funny nerdy school boy in classroom

Perhaps Suess was doing this when he wrote: “From here to there, and there to here, funny things are everywhere.”

 

So jump on the bandwagon today and plan something fun. Break out of the constant mold of proper adult behavior. Head to the mall and buy some light-up shoes to wear to work on casual Friday. Hide a bottle of soap bubbles in your desk drawer and blow them over your cube when the boss isn’t looking. Get creative and mix it up a bit. As Suess reminded us, “There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won.”

About breakfast…forget your morning Starbucks ritual of a non-fat decaf cappuccino or your skinny green tea latte. Stop at the nearest Ben and Jerry’s and opt for a scoop of one of their insane flavors like Pumpkin Cheesecake. As for me, I just might show up at the breakfast table wearing a pink tutu

Ballerina in pink tutu leaning forward

and munching on cold pizza my favorite wacky breakfast treat.

 

 

Sometimes NO is the Right Answer

Enjoy the little things.

Arnie rushed into my office, suit jacket flapping behind him. As he sat down delivering a heavy sigh my client complained of schedule overload. I giggled reminding him that he was retired. In my mind, any calendar overload was self-inflicted. Shrugging his shoulders a serious look crossed his face as he checked an alert from his phone. Rolling his eyes he muttered something about a golf game.

Getting down to business, I soon understood Arnie’s problem. He developed a habit of accepting every social invitation that came along. Although this might not sound like much of a problem, it can lead to a dysfunctional lifestyle. It is sometimes dubbed the “cannot say no syndrome.” I have coached many individuals who fall into this category.

Delving deeper into why the “no” word was missing from Arnie’s vocabulary he admitted there were many times he would rather stay home with Chinese takeout and a good book. He went along because he did not want to offend anyone. I pushed back asserting the multiple polite ways to decline an invitation. It seemed to me there was more to this than a case of overly polite manners. After more discussion, it became evident Arnie’s real issue surrounded the “left behind syndrome.”

Actually his reason for going along with the crowd is not as trite as it sounds.  Social media has penetrated our lives. Sitting home alone observing the partying gang posting’s on Facebook or Instagram, can elicit feelings of being left out, but only if you let it.

Sticky note with social media on hand with blue background.

Whether you are a baby boomer, Gen X’er or millennial, hanging out with yourself should be a satisfying and enjoyable experience. Carving out time from your schedule to spend developing your creative side, going for a solitary run or sitting in silence and quieting your mind is a healthy choice. Solitude does not equate to loneliness. Developing a deep connection with yourself leads to clarity on life choices, and future goals.

About a week later Arnie returned to my office proudly announcing he canceled a social engagement, turned off his smart phone

Smartphone with Stop Sign

and spent time alone puttering in the garage with his playlist softly streaming in the background.  When I inquired how he felt about not going out, Arnie flashed a grin admitting he felt relieved. He chose to do what made him happy and realized he wasn’t bored or feeling left out. In fact, he declared, “I’m a rather cool guy to hang out with.” Agreed. Hanging with Arnie is fun.

Just Think About It!

 Happy woman holding balloons and jumping in the air

I’ve always considered my car an educational institution. While commuting any distance, I plug in a motivational or interesting CD to expand my knowledge base. Recently on a drive I listened to an interview with self-made billionaire, Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, women’s shape-wear. I had to smile when she described the use of her vehicle.

Sara has a five minute commute from home to the Spanx headquarters but spends 45 minutes driving aimlessly around Atlanta before arriving at her office. Why? Her car is her think tank. She even describes thinking as one of her favorite hobbies. Driving around provides the opportunity to let her mind wander. She is compulsive about capturing creative thoughts and never leaves home without her trusty spiral-bound Mead notebook.

What works best for Sara is her car; however, accomplishing some heavy-duty creative thinking can be done anywhere. While some prefer a solitary walk in a quiet setting to brainstorm, others like an environment with background noise. According to a study performed by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 70 decibels is an ideal setting for percolating out-of-the box ideas. This explains why many individuals enjoy working at coffee shops.

Cap 1

Beside the background noise factor, birthing creative ideas has something to do with your body clock. Although it may seem counterintuitive, there is a school of thought professing your brain works better when you are fatigued. For some individuals, a tired brain lacks singular focus and tends to wander which is often  ideal for abstract original thinking.

Another way to garner those eureka moments is exercise. This may be the reason many people like to go for an invigorating run. Albert Einstein claims the theory of relativity came to him while riding his bike.

Side shot of woman on bike

On the flip side, try dreaming your way into creative ideas. Apparently this worked for Keith Richards who credits sleeping for part of the song “Satisfaction,” the smash hit released in 1965 by the Rolling Stones.

Whatever your modus operandi, it pays to awaken your creative juices.  Doing so can help you discover the answer to a nagging problem , or set the stage for a brilliant  new product idea as was the case for entrepreneur Sara Blakely. Get introspective. Whether it’s fresh air and a brisk walk to erase those cobwebs from your mind, or perhaps you do your best thinking in the shower or when taking a power nap, find that sweet spot and engage your creative spirit.