One afternoon, many years ago, I went to pick up my mother from work. I got there a little early so I parked the car by the curb, across the street from where she worked, and waited for her.
As I looked outside the car window to my right, there was a small park where I saw a little boy, around one and a half to two years old, running freely on the grass as his mother watched from a short distance. The boy had a big smile on his face as if he had just been set free from some sort of prison. The boy would then fall to the grass, get up, and without hesitation or without looking back at his mother, run as fast as he could, again, still with a smile on his face, as if nothing had happened.
However, with kids (especially at an early age), when they fall down, they don’t perceive their falling down as failure, but instead, they treat it as a learning experience (as just another result/outcome). They feel compelled to try and try again until they succeed. (The answer must be…they have not associated “falling down” with the word “failure” yet, thus they don’t know how to feel the state which accompanies failure. As a result, they are not disempowered in any way. Plus, they probably think to themselves that it’s perfectly okay to fall down, that it’s not wrong to do so. In other words, they give themselves permission to make mistakes, subconsciously. Thus they remain empowered.)
While I was touched by the boy’s persistence, I was equally touched by the manner in which he ran. With each attempt, he looked so confident…so natural. No signs of fear, nervousness, or of being discouraged ― as if he didn’t give a care about the world around him.
His only aim was to run freely and to do it as effectively as he could. He was just being a child ― just being himself―being completely in the moment. He was not looking for approval or was not worrying about whether someone was watching or not. He wasn’t concerned about being judged. He didn’t seem to be bothered by the fact that maybe someone would see him fall (as there were others in the park aside from him and his mother) and that it would be embarrassing if he did fall. No, all that mattered to him was to accomplish the task or activity at hand to the best of his ability. To run…and to feel the experience of running fully and freely. I learned a lot from that observation and experience, and have successfully brought that lesson with me in my many pursuits in life.