Let's be honest: Life -- and work -- was way more simple when we were in kindergarten.
Not only did we approach the world with an unfiltered view and a resilient mind, but our creativity was at its peak when we were children. Our masterpieces back then were colorful drawings of dancers and dragons rather than earnings reports or PowerPoint presentations.
But just because we've grown up doesn't mean we've lost our imaginative approach. In fact, most of our creative instincts as kids can still be applied as adults. Here are five lessons in innovation we learned back in our finger paint days:
When we were little, we had this innocent sense of childlike wonder about the world. No bit of knowledge was off limits -- and as a result, we questioned everything. Somehow as we got older, that open curiosity turned into a fear of looking stupid. But as some experts suggest, it might be time to reverse that thinking. As Jim Force, Ph.D., an associate faculty member at The Banff Centre, points out in a blog post, in order to expand our capacity to be creative, we should embrace the art of asking more questions. Certain research also suggests that questioning is a measure of intellect.
Tackle a project fearlessly.
Part of the joy of creating as a kid is diving into a project with no real expectations of how it's going to turn out. You're in it for the fun, not the end result. As HuffPost president and editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington points out, that sense of bravery when it comes to your work is crucial to success.
"Ultimately, to be fearless at work means to find a sense of self determination, accomplishment, fulfillment and purpose that helps us live our best lives," she writes in her book On Becoming Fearless... in Love, Life, and Work. "What’s more, by being a leader at work -- taking risks and doing things in new ways -- we can mentor and show others the way to not only excel but transform the meaning of work."
Let your mind drift.
We constantly lost ourselves in fantasies when we were little -- from what we were going to be when we grew up to the mythical creatures we were interested in that week. While that may feel like a habit we've grown out of, research suggests otherwise: Approximately 50 percent of our waking hours are spent daydreaming. And, as it turns out, that wandering mind may be good for our inspiration. Experts believe that letting your brain drift can help contribute to the creative process.
Don't take things too seriously.
As adults, just about everything can feel urgent and serious. We could all use the resilient, relaxed mindset that kids possess in multiple areas of our lives -- and that may especially be true when it comes to creativity. In fact, those moments of calm may help trigger more "eureka" moments. Just another reason to give your brain a break.
As one of the hallmark symbols of childhood, playtime is also one of the most coveted practices we wish we still participated in as adults. And there's a good reason why we should: Making time for play can make us happier as well as increase our creativity. As famed writer and actor John Cleese points out in a lecture on architecture and creativity, the activity has the potential to spark innovation.
"[C]reative architects knew how to play," he said. "They could get immersed in a problem. It was almost childlike, like when a child gets utterly absorbed in a problem." Sounds like the perfect excuse to schedule some fun.
This GPS Guide is part of a series of posts designed to bring you back to balance when you're feeling off course.
GPS Guides are our way of showing you what has relieved others' stress in the hopes that you will be able to identify solutions that work for you. We all have de-stressing "secret weapons" that we pull out in times of tension or anxiety, whether they be photos that relax us or make us smile, songs that bring us back to our heart, quotes or poems that create a feeling of harmony or meditative exercises that help us find a sense of silence and calm. We encourage you to visit our other GPS Guides here, and share with us your own personal tips for finding peace, balance and tranquility.