The other week a leader told me they wanted to improve their leadership to be a good role model for their kids.

Needless to say, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be a good role model for your kids. However, what if we adults have this idea backwards in ways?

Unlike adults, kids haven’t had the experiences of life to have developed biases, values, and behaviours the same as adults.

Take, for example, young kids who are infinitely curious. How could they not be as they’re exploring their world?

A baby will put everything in their mouth. Toddlers will try to get their hands on everything. Older kids will be out exploring their world and getting dirty.

Kids can truly be happy at this moment.

Then along come the adults, with plenty of good intentions, who start teaching kids how to behave.

In some cases, it’s not such a bad thing, like what if a kid wanted to put their hand on a hot stove? Or respecting other people in their life.

However, the constant focus on grades, money, and acquiring things only teaches a kid that happiness results from these things becoming true. As a result, the child develops an impact bias that leaves them in the futile pursuit of happiness.

We all have an impact bias, which is our inability to estimate the impact something will have on our happiness accurately.

For example, I will be happy once:

  • I have ‘that car.’
  • I have ‘that promotion.’
  • My investment portfolio is ‘this big.’
  • I retire
  • Then, once we have that thing, happiness is short-lived.

What would the impact be if you weren’t in the futile pursuit of happiness brought on by your impact bias? Instead, what if you allowed yourself to be happy at this moment?

What would be the impact on your life and leadership if you:

  • Didn’t worry whether you’re good enough?
  • Stopped voting down your ideas before they have a chance?
  • Become wildly curious?
  • Stopped pursuing happiness and just decided to be happy today?
  • Didn’t worry about how you’re supposed to behave and live according to who you are?

Indeed, children can be our role models as much as we are for them.

All you have to do is pay attention and let go of the idea that you have it all figured out.

What could you learn from a child this week?

You’ve got this.

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