I recently challenged myself to imagine what advice I would have liked to give my 5-year-old self to make his journey through childhood easier.
As I was trying to come up with advice on how to navigate the trials of elementary school, the brutal high school years, and the totally confusing four-(ish) years of college, I realized that my inner 5-year-old was actually wiser, in a lot of ways, than his fully grown, adult self.
He was happy and carefree because he lived by 11 rules I think we adults could stand to be reminded of. Since incorporating them into my own life, it's already changed for the better.
1. Cry whenever you want.
If something didn’t resonate, if I couldn't figure it out and/or felt incapable of changing it, I cried furiously for a couple minutes. Every time I did, something magical happened: The emotion ran its course and went away.
Takeaway: Emotions just want to be expressed or released. If I give them my full attention when they come knocking, they don’t linger and color my experience of reality indefinitely.
2. Look at everything as if you were seeing it for the first time.
As a child, I could watch a movie 30 times and find something funny or interesting in it every time.
Takeaway: All it takes to experience or learn something new in a familiar situation is a fresh pair of eyes.
3. Cultivate imagination.
At 5 years old, my imagination ran wild. I could find the joy in any situation because my inner world was so much richer and more important to me than my outer world.
Takeaway: If I add a dash of imagination to my life, I can spice up any reality that feels scary, distasteful, or boring.
4. Sing, dance, clap, etc. — whenever you want.
As a 5-year-old, if I liked a song, when the beat dropped, I didn’t care where I was or who was looking: I stopped what I was doing and busted a move.
Takeaway: It feels good to move and let music take over my body. The barrier is mental. I don't need to be afraid of people judging me.
5. Ask a bazillion questions.
Without self-consciousness — a sense that you should know or understand something — pretending that I knew anything I didn't made no sense. I wanted to understand everything: to peel back the layers, discover new truths, and witness the awesomeness of the universe.
Takeaway: Having the curiosity of a beginner (even with topics that I’m considered to be an expert in) is crucial to staying passionate and motivated, feeling the vastness and potential of life.
6. Dream big.
I had big plans as a 5-year-old. I was going to become a scientist, be a famous actor, and build a spaceship.
Takeaway: Limits are self-imposed. Being realistic never helped anybody change the world.
7. Trust that everything is OK.
I had no fears about tomorrow. I never worried that anyone would want to hurt me. It just didn’t occur to me.
Takeaway: Even if my reality feels uncomfortable, it won't feel uncomfortable forever. Everything will always be OK if I accept that it is.
8. Don’t take responsibility for everyone else's feelings.
If I didn’t like the food my mom cooked, I had no problem saying “ewww” and spiting it out right in front of her.
Takeaway: While growing up does mean learning to be considerate of other people's feelings, it is not my job to manage other people's feelings. My first priority is to speak my truth and honor my feelings.
9. See the good in everybody.
Once when I was 5, I was in an elevator and grabbed a stranger’s hand. I thought he looked cool and I wanted to make a new friend. My parents freaked out and made me let go.
Takeaway: We can choose to see the good in people or allow learned behaviors to determine whom and when we open up.
10. Find contentment with the smallest of things.
That year, I got a telescope for Christmas and was more interested in the box and wrapping paper than the actual telescope. I just loved the picture of Santa and his reindeer printed all over the paper.
Takeaway: There’s joy to be found in any and every situation — even if others don't see the value.
11. Change your mind whenever you want.
One day I loved tomatoes. The next day I hated them.
Takeaway: When my thoughts, beliefs, values, and tastes change it’s because I’m alive and evolving. Change only stops when I'm dead.
If the wisdom of my 5-year-old self resonates, I invite you to check out this free training on the power of manifestation and how fear blocks you from consciously co-creating your reality.
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