As adults, we’re always teaching children, but rarely do we stop to learn something from them. There’s a lot that entrepreneurs can learn from kids as they too are novices to a new world. Children are the only talent that you, as an entrepreneur, will not be able to hire, so you might as well observe and learn. Here’s what those little rascals can teach us naïve adults.
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I’m sure as a kid, if you remember, your eyes sparkled with joy every time someone handed you a coin. You would collect how much ever you could from whoever was willing to donate, and you’d put them all together in your ‘piggy bank’ (which was hardly ever a piggy). You’d even admire your collection from time to time. Money is precious to kids for reasons different than it is to adults. To them, it’s not a resource that they have to ‘manage’ but a precious belonging that they protect – the reason why they can save so well. This can be an interesting shift of perspective for an entrepreneur that can help ‘protect’ their finances better.
Children hear NO a lot, all day long. No to savouries, no to new toys, no to skipping school, no to touching this and that – but have you ever seen them discouraged? They sulk for a while but then come up with better ideas and demands to baffle adults. This resilience that they show is a great lesson for entrepreneurs, for you. You too will be hearing NOs from investors, clients, and board members. Like kids, you will need to learn to find a way around this NO. If you can’t negotiate, devise better alternatives to put forth. But never stop being assertive because for an entrepreneur, that is pretty much the only way of getting things done.
If there’s anything that children do more than play, it is ask questions. They’re always curious about everything, about why things are the way they are and how things work the way they do. These what’s why’s and how’s are powerful tools for an entrepreneur. If you can develop the curiosity to question the clockworks of business, you will gain an upper hand in the market. Kids get a hold on anyone they can to throw these questions at and you should do the same. Talking to people and asking them for their knowledge is the surest way to grow – the more you ask, the more you’ll understand, and the better you’ll thrive.
Children are not conditioned to think in a particular way, which is why they see things differently and hence, do things differently. Give them a sweater to wear and they’ll turn themselves into alien beings with long necks by inserting their heads into sleeves. This is innovation, improvisation, and the ability to take risks, in their crudest forms – crucial requirements for an entrepreneur. If kids were in charge of your product’s features, its marketing strategy, and your business model, how would do they do it? More importantly, how differently would they do it from your rivals? Think like them, and your product will prosper in the market.
Why do kids keep falling? Because they cry over each fall and move on from it. If they let their falls scare them, they’d stop walking (and therefore falling), wouldn’t they? Here is the lesson entrepreneurs can pick up from children – moving on from failure. Adults tend to hold on to the disappointments and anger resulting from a failure, which is why we give up so easily. Children learn from mistakes instinctively, but adults have the ability to learn consciously. If you can learn to let go like children and still learn from those failures, you’ll give yourself the chance to become a successful entrepreneur.
Who best to learn this from than children? They’re always having a good time no matter what they do. They live in the present as they don’t fret about the past or worry about the future – luxuries of adulthood, these. It is still possible, however, for us adults to implement their carefree nature and shed some stress. If you’re an entrepreneur, then you’ve broken away from corporate enslavement and are doing what you love. So keep calm and have a good time. Kids will show you how.
It is due to these attributes that kids are constantly learning and growing. Since an entrepreneur has to do the same, you might need to start taking these ‘childish’ lessons more seriously. Children are, after all, very hard to ignore.