Two of my top mentors

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.

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