Two of my top mentors

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It’s a con. You don’t need confidence to do things.  You need unstoppable determination. I’ve learned that again this week from two of my top mentors.

Katie and Joseph's temporary laboratory. Mine too.

I’ve spent the last week or so watching them learning to do new things. In the last year these two obsessed little toddlers have gone from only being able to suckle and cry to walking, learning a new language, mimicking adults, collaborating with complete strangers, performing stand-up comedy, learning building techniques and mastering their own version of ‘sales skills’.

There’s no stopping them. From early morning till early evening, with a hour’s break or two in the middle, they’ve  been obsessed with experimenting to find out what works in life and what doesn’t, and how to get people to help them. They don’t know it but if they stop learning new things they’ll start to die.

Fearlessly they’ve climbed stairs (one step at a time), learned to get past anything in their way (one obstacle at a time), eaten unfamiliar foods (one spoonful at a time), and generally sucked life dry (one second at a time).

Not overly concerned about what people think, yet looking out for the admiration of anyone who happens to be in the vicinity, they’ve explored, exercised, and engaged, until they’ve collapsed in a weary heap and keeled over to sleep, after a final experimental session in the bath and a slow luxurious bedtime drink tucked in somewhere comfortable.

Self-confidence? It never occurs to them that they might need such a thing (if it ever existed.) They wake up each morning at 5.30 dying to get going and have a boredom threshold of 20 seconds. Probably less. They never know whether they can do something or not when they start, are completely unfazed to find they CAN’T when they start, and keep going regardless till they can. They then practice for a while and move on to the next challenge. From time to time they go back to what they know they can do, practice again, then move on.

I’ve learn a lot this Christmas. From Katie and Joseph.

Lesson 1.  Learning is the most natural, exciting – and essential – process in the world.

Lesson 2. If you reward them with smiles and people can see you’re making every effort, those people will help you.

Lesson 3. EVERYTHING you learn can help you get a better life, even the painful things. Especially the painful things.

Lesson 4. Or you can give up, lie whimpering in your cot and have someone change your nappy. So sad.

Whatever you get to play with this year, stay curious and learn all you can.

Happy New Year.

4 thoughts on “Two of my top mentors”

  1. FAB Andrew, thanks for sharing that, and oh how so true! Great to be reminded to stay curious and keep exploring and whatever happens, never give up!
    May 2011 be a year of exploration, adventure and fun.

  2. Thank you for sharing this – a great boost at this time of year. Had a similar experience with our young nephew George who knows that making mistakes is all part of the process of discovery. No stumbles, no bruised heads, no running into tables – all means no development and no excitement of learning something new. Still not an excuse for untidy desk though! Laboratory or not…

  3. Thank you Andrew, again right on time!wow! Your stories of your experiences never fail to be inspiring food for thought.

    Kindest regards


  4. Only just got to this to read it. I love the sentence ‘you need unstoppable determination’. I have learned a huge amount about determination from my nephew Jonathan. In the words of his mother ‘his determination outstrips his physical ability’. He has achieved great things, things people considered practically impossible, just from his incredible determination. I used to think some things were impossible. I look at Jona and see that determination can even achieve impossible things. That’s the main reason he’s even here…he willed himself to survive and has done so gloriously! When I saw him last week, the first thing he said to me was ‘Auntie Rach, please can I show you my crazy dance moves?’. I never saw a 6-year-old dance with such enjoyment…

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