By Mathieu Penot
There’s a child within me. A feisty, mischievous child. He visits me out of the blue. He doesn’t knock; he just barges in, since he knows he’s always welcome. I would (almost) never tell him: “Sorry buddy, I’m in the middle of something serious right now…” or “I don’t want anyone to know you exist…”
He helps me create activities for children at Imagin8ors. He loves to play with them when they are around. He brings out that brilliance in me, a spontaneity, a capacity to be amazed by anything and everything; to soak in the joy of learning.
I consciously nurture that relationship with my inner child. Every day. Even within the stressful environment of a start-up. Would you like to know the secret behind it? The mantra is just a single sentence: “Live this day as your first.”
“Live this day as your first!” Not as your last, but as your first! All the powers of a child come from this statement. Children are constantly exploring the world around them, always looking for the fun part. Because, as anyone who’s watched the movie Inside Out will remember, Joy is the key to open all doors. Let your inner child take control once in a while!
The beauty of the formula is that, if this day is your first, you carry no burden from the past. You start over with a clean slate. All the walls that you – and others, including society – have built around you just vanish. You can jump in a puddle. You can laugh over nothing. You can walk upside down. You can sing out loud in the streets, or stare at a tree, wondering who lives inside the trunk.
I suggest you do this very simple exercise. During the day, stop walking, working or playing with your phone. Look around you. Look at all the details you never noticed before: the colors, the shapes, the light, the smell, the movements, the sounds, the people… Spend 5 minutes taking in the things your surroundings are made of. Notice how beautiful or how funny they are. Soon you’ll hear someone knocking at your door. Be nice: let that little inner child in! Listen to his or her stories and explanations for things. Listen patiently, rather than thinking “I don’t have time for these fables.” The more often you open the door, the easier it will be for your inner child to find his or her own way in.
Children have a unique sense of wonderment that is worth preserving. And the right person for the job is in you!!!
Mathieu Penot is one of the creative engines propelling the Imagin8ors team. He is constantly cooking up new activities for children that stretch the boundaries of their imaginations and help them learn at deeper level. Always game for a joke, a challenge, a nap, a daydream or downright silliness, Mathieu is a super hit with children! Now you know why…