How To End Your Excessive Worry Habit

Sometimes, it is good to worry. If you are out for a hike and come across a bear, worry would be your friend. It’s not such a good thing when we do it excessively. It takes a tremendous toll on our health and happiness. I know from experience. I personally battled anxiety and excessive worry for two decades.

Got Worry?


How do you know if you worry too much?  Ask yourself two questions.

  • Is it interfering with my life?
  • On a scale from 1-10, how much distress are my worries causing me?

If the number is closer to ten than one—you are spending too much time worrying.

Get the Inside Scoop

What does your body “do” on worry? A number of unpleasant things take place both physiologically and biochemically when you frequent your “Fight or Flight” mode. The nervous system floods the blood stream with stress hormones such as cortisol. Once out of the cage, they hitch a ride to the major organs and heighten the body’s stress response. Too much cortisol can result in high blood sugar, weakened immune system and physical symptoms like nausea, headache and rapid heartbeat. There are many other, equally nasty symptoms that can result.

Here is one way you can lessen those unfriendly symptoms.

Welcome to the Worry Womb

Ruminating keeps your body in a constant state of stress. Dwelling on fear and negative does nothing productive for your mind or body. There is nothing healthy about it. But you can actually have productive worry sessions. I call this the “Worry Womb.”


Much like a fetus in the womb is nourished, giving nourishment to your thoughts and worries is critical in understanding their origin and in resolving and releasing them. Many people don’t do this, either because they feel they can handle it or because they do not want to feel uncomfortable. Make no mistake, this will make you uncomfortable, but setting aside time each day to worry can end rumination. Would you rather have thoughts of worry cross your mind all day long, preventing you from concentrating, keeping your body in a highly stressful mode? Or would you rather be proactive and face your fears head on, freeing yourself from its chains for most of the day and only think about them at a time and place that YOU decide is convenient? That is how you take back power.

Inside the worry womb, dedicate your time to writing down everything that is causing concern. Start with the most pressing worry. Grab a pen and make a list of your worries and the factors of each that are making you worried. For example, you might be worried about a pain in a specific body part. That is the concern.  And the factors causing you to worry might be that you are afraid it is a serious disease or illness. Be specific and detailed when making your list.

Writing, instead of typing, utilizes different areas of the brain that can take you deeper but typing is far better than doing nothing. Most important is that you get the thoughts out of your head. Analyze your list and make a judgment; how likely is this worry to come to fruition? If the odds are not very high, try to let it go. There is no need to carry it around any longer. If the odds are high, then formulate a plan of action to put your mind at ease and take control of the situation. In the above example, a plan of action might be to make a doctor’s appointment and to research possible causes. You may find many others have had the same problem and that it was nothing major.

Writing and doing—that puts you in control. Giving yourself time to explore your fears means you face them and can conquer them. Worrying endlessly without action does not.

Fifteen to thirty minutes a day in the Worry Womb will usually suffice. If you find that is not enough time, you can add an extra fifteen minutes to the first few sessions. Take care that you do not spend too much time here, otherwise you’ll be doing the very thing you are trying to correct. Once you get a handle on fear and worry, you will notice you spend more time thinking about and doing things that make you happy.  Take it from me, living happy is much better than living worried.

I originally wrote this post for, and it was first published at The Good Men Project.

Photo" Getty Images

How 8 Little Words Changed My Life

Has someone ever said something to you that made you stop in your tracks? Because you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that what they said is right. And you just know that the words you just heard will change your life.

That happened to me recently. For weeks, the stress of getting out of the house in the morning was rising. I felt the clenching of my jaw. The tension in my shoulders, which for me get moved upward and remain static in a shrug position until I catch on and take a moment to breathe and release. The uncomfortable heaviness in the chest. This is how I experience stress and frustration.

 My mornings start early. I’ve got lunches to make, two kids to clothe, a cat to care for, bags to pack, breakfast to make and serve, all before I get myself ready to get out the door. There are two separate drop off destinations for my children. Navigating through Long Island morning school traffic is usually enough in itself to cause stress. Doing so while trying to get the three of us where we need to be, safely and timely, it’s been causing some friction for me. I found myself rushing and snapping and feeling agitated. Getting cut off by rude and reckless drivers just about every single morning adds to it. To be fair, I’ve let it happen. I chose that reaction. I could have chosen a different reaction.

As a dad, I do my best not to show that side to my kids too often. They don’t need it and they certainly don’t deserve it. I do my best to practice gratitude because I’ve been blessed in so many ways. But I am human and make mistakes. Over the past month, I’ve made more than I care to admit. I’ve outwardly displayed frustration, been snippy, felt rushed (and made others feel rushed) and said one or two things out loud that I wished I hadn’t. Kids see and hear it all.

One recent sunny morning, I had just dropped my daughter off at day care and was ready to take my son to his preschool. Just as I pulled out of the drive, I apologized to him for being impatient. He didn’t do anything wrong. In his little voice, which is filled with the wisdom of a child who lives life right, he sweetly and patiently said “Maybe you have a bad germ in you”. Brake. Car in park. Say that again please buddy. He did. I asked him why he said it and he replied “because you’re always frustrated in the morning time”.  With that, my life changed. Immediately, the stress of the mornings was put into perspective and I knew right there how to handle it. And it’s not just morning time stress, it can be any stressor at any time of day.

I knew what he said was right. Unequivocally. I wanted him to repeat it because it was simple and brilliant. Truly brilliant. I needed to hear it again because I was enlightened. Here I am, a 40-something who successfully coaches people on personal development. I wrote an eBook on self-improvement. When I needed a hand with a problem, it wasn’t my experience or an experienced, expensive coach that came through. It was my 4-year old son. I love how it all happened! I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’ve long said that kids live life right. They know happy. They know joy. They know play and they spend almost all of their time doing things they love to do. That’s the way to do it. My son and other kids his age- they don’t know complicated. They know fun and free. And now, every time I find myself stressing about something that isn’t worthy of the effort, I say to myself “I have a bad germ in me”. Then, I visualize the germ being quickly eradicated from me. I smile. Then get on with my day. I haven’t felt an ounce of that stress since. My mornings are so much more enjoyable. I'm showing the good stuff again. It literally changed my life and how I view stressors. It works. Like magic!

How Life Changes When You Live Authentically

I was out for a walk earlier today. It’s a bright, beautiful day here on Long Island. The sky is a rich blue and the white fluffy clouds that I love so much are lazily floating across the sky. As I do every day, I took time to savor my surroundings and the stunning beauty that this world has to offer. I looked up and admired those clouds both for how they look and for the view the have. I’m a little jealous. I took note of how different the world looks through a good, quality pair of sunglasses.

The blues are bluer and the whites, whiter. The view becomes even more 3-dimensional from behind the lens. And somehow, clarity is sharpened to an eagle-like level. Maybe it’s because I’ve worn eyeglasses since I was four years old but my vision is completely changed when I wear those sunglasses.

As I walked with the warm sun on my back, it struck me that in the same way sunglasses can change and enhance ones view of their surroundings, so too can living authentically change and enhance ones view of life.

Authentic living requires that you spend time doing things that make you happy, that make you feel fulfilled. It requests that you showcase your natural talents and strengths to add value to your life and the lives of others. By definition, it means living in a way that is true to your existence. And by nature, its outcome equals a harmonious existence.

When you live a life true to who and what you are supposed to be, circumstances change. Your mindset will change. Magic happens. Closed turns to open. Impossible blossoms into possible. Excuses become a memory. Procrastination propels to action. Fear, yeah it’s still there. But it doesn’t grab you and pull you back. It doesn’t keep you frozen and stagnant. Instead, you acknowledge it and move past it. Because you know without a doubt that you’ll kick its ass if it wants to go a round with you. And it knows it too.

We get one chance at this life. One chance to live how we want. Once chance to show our children and our loved ones the fierce courage we have inside. Once chance to model the lessons we want to instill in them. One chance. That’s it. So if you’re letting your thoughts and view dictate your limits, if you’re letting fear win, if you’re making excuses as to why something is just not possible, put on those sunglasses, believe in the possibilities and chase your dreams! Because once you do, you’ll see the world in a way that you never have before. I promise.

6 Things You Must Do As You Start Out To Chase Your Dreams

Congratulations- you’ve decided that you’re going to start chasing your dreams and live the life you really want to live! It’s a seminal time in your life and you’ll want to do it right. There will be obstacles along the away, some of which will be self-imposed. Take it from someone who has been there, done that--here are six must-do’s that can help you get out of your own way.


1)      Get your head on right. Let’s face it, we all have our baggage. Waiting for the perfect time is nothing but a self-defeating behavior. If you’re going to start this journey on the right foot, then your head must be in the right place. You must believe, at least a little, that your goals can be accomplished. You must have hope that if you dedicate yourself and put in the work every day, that helpful things and supportive people will cross your path. That requires an open mind. You wouldn’t get behind the wheel of a car if your brain was impacted and thoughts blurred. The same applies here. Get your head on right before you start and you’ll obliterate a major obstacle from the start.


2)       Break it down. A great way to quickly quell your pursuit is to think “big picture” all the time.  There is a time and a place for that. There is a time and place to take bites. If you want to be an author and sell a million books but have not penned a word of your manuscript, that goal is going to seem impossibly overwhelming. You’ve now put Mt Everest in your way. Who wants to begin a life changing journey facing such an exhaustive and monumental climb? You’ll talk yourself out of it and your dreams will be ripped away by the icy winds. Make it easier on yourself. Breaking it into smaller pieces makes it completely manageable and will keep your excitement and enthusiasm up! How can you do that? Make a set of short term goals, give yourself an end date within a week or two and then do the work. Small, actionable steps will help you get started and construct a foundation of confidence and momentum. These have to be done before you can sell your book anyway. The point here is—don’t do yourself in by thinking thoughts that are so far from your current reality that they seem insurmountable. A slight tweak in your thought process can lead to gigantic gains.


3)     Take time to reflect and celebrate. When undertaking such essential endeavors, it is much easier and enjoyable to walk with little resistance. If you’re like me, you’ve been beating yourself up for holding yourself back for so long that all you want to do now is race to get to your end goal. I admire the tenacity and sense of urgency. Be sure you take time to celebrate your successes every week. When you reflect on the steps you’ve taken, you’ll see the progress made. Be proud of that and remember nothing is too small to acknowledge. If you’ve been consistent and worked toward your goal every day, celebrate it, regardless of how far you think you’ve moved the needle.


4)     Ask yourself this one question every day.  “What is one step I can take today to get closer to my goals?” Sometimes, even when we’re structured and diligent in our dream chasing, we can let things stray off course. Asking yourself this question brings clarity and inspires action. It makes you take another look at your plans for the day. It has helped me on a few occasions to identify a bigger priority, change direction and slay a dragon. I also like to ask myself this question after I am satisfied with the progress I’ve made at the end of the day. Getting a nudge to get something else done gets you to your goal faster. Bottom line--it’s a good habit to get into.


5)     Don’t just accept change. Befriend it. When you make the sincere decision to chase your dreams with all you have, things will change. You’ll manage your time more wisely. You’ll cut out the time and energy zapping activities that don’t serve your purpose. Most importantly, you’ll spend more time doing things you love. Ultimately when you get to that place of freedom, it will also be a big change from the life you are living now. Change doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Making more money, having more freedom, increased personal and professional fulfillment, achieving goals that once seemed way out of reach—all of these are change. Change is good.


6)     Hope to Fail- Please, please, please--fail. Then make mistakes and fail again. In failing we learn better ways to do things. Sometimes, we learn that we’re doing things that aren’t congruent with our calling. But we don’t know that, or we don’t muster up the courage to shift direction until we have no other choice. Making mistakes and failing speeds up both processes. If you are failing then you are doing something outside of your comfort zone (if it was comfortable, you wouldn’t fail, right?).  Change the perception and meaning of that word internally and look forward to increasing your knowledge, wisdom and efficiency through failure.


Taking these six actions when I started pursuing my dreams has made a profound difference in my life. I had started and stopped so many times prior that it became evident I desperately needed to add structure and discipline. You’ll find as you reach more goals and milestones that you’ll add other helpful actions to your routine. In the meantime, this will get you off to a flying start and deter you from engaging in self-defeating thoughts and behaviors. The next step, starting, is entirely up to you. What is one step you can take today to get closer to your goals?



The Real Reason You are Crabby All the Time

Have you ever witnessed a bear being taken from its home in the wild and forced into captivity?  Neither have I. But I do know that the bear would not be pleased. It would be agitated, angry and quite frankly, pissed off.  That’s because the bear lives wild and free, just the way it was intended to. Bears were put on this earth as wild animals, not to be stuffed in some cage or displayed for profit. Doing that robs them of the very reason they exist.

In this regard, humans are no different than the bear. A few years back, I found myself being crabby, frustrated and annoyed far more often than I felt comfortable with. I snapped at my loved ones for little or no reason. Some nights I went to bed with a sense of unease and heaviness. While I wasn’t like this all of the time, I became acutely aware of my tone and choice of words. As someone who is polite and kind by nature, I had to find out what was eating at me.

I’ll admit that sometimes, it takes me a moment to pick up on things. I scanned my life and found so much to be grateful for. I had everything in place except for work that was fulfilling and high paying. What I had was a job. It didn’t pay well but the hours were convenient, it was close to home and it provided above average health benefits for my family. I’d always known that I wanted to create for a living, so I looked for other jobs where I could exercise my writing and coaching and development skills. The endeavor was years long and only added to my frustration and aggravation.

One day, in the blue of dawn, I had a revelation. After a solid and productive early morning writing session in which I created an awesome blog post and outline for a book, I felt extremely satisfied. Calm. Fulfilled. Blissful even. I hadn’t ever felt this way in my work life except for times I was coaching the best out of people for a world renowned training organization. In this environment I had just created, doing this creative work, I was the bear in the wild. I was doing what is innate in me. I was free- doing what I was put on this earth to do. When I was working for my former employer, it was the equivalent of being stuffed into a tiny cage. There was no freedom or satisfaction in it.

It is no coincidence that the moment I started a relentless pursuit of my authentic calling, the crabby part of me made a quiet, defeated exit. Don’t get me wrong, I am human and I have my moments. But the pride and satisfaction of chasing my dream soundly defeats the background noise that the past occasionally tries to bring up. It is a completely different life now. I get to use my favorite skills each and every day. I get to spend my time doing things I adore. When you achieve that, it doesn’t feel like “going to work”. Not even a little.

If you’ve been crabby, snippy, short, moody or anything similar, I urge you to scan your current reality and see if it is congruent with your authentic calling. If it’s not, take one step today to move towards your calling. Tomorrow, take another. One step at a time. Build some momentum because when you do, it will be hard to slow you down. You can travel one of two roads. One is filled with rumination and regret. And a cage. The other, wild and free. Just like it is supposed to be.

The Reason Why it is Never Too Late To Be What You Might Have Been

Few things are sadder than someone giving up on their dreams. It’s heartbreaking for many reasons. They’ll never know the feeling of achieving their goals, never know the feeling of living fulfilled and reaching self-actualization.  Their families will never know what might have been and this world will never see the gift they had to offer. When one decides to throw in the towel, the disappointing impact is far reaching.

 I know a woman, early sixties, who wanted to be a forensic scientist long before television shows made it cool and desirable. Her life took a different path and she got married and had children young. She went through a divorce and got married a second time and had more children. Then she spent twenty plus years working a job that she didn’t really enjoy but had certain conveniences that were just enough to make it worth staying. That happens to a lot of people and in the past, it happened to me.  Are you satisfied with “just enough?” I know I’m not. Not anymore.

Now that she is retired, it seems to be a good time to pursue that dream. She doesn’t see it that way. She thinks she’s too old to chase her dream and convinced herself of that, so she is content with watching it all slip away into the twilight. I have a different take. I see no reason why she can’t take a college class or two on the subject just to get a taste, then reevaluate afterward to see what direction to go. She’ll say that it’s too late, who will hire a woman in her sixties to do the job? I will admit that is a fair point- she may not get hired by a law enforcement agency. But that isn’t the point. One need to be hired by the police to be a forensic scientist.

By getting the education and exposure (and even the college degree), she will have realized her dream of becoming a forensic scientist. She’ll have worked to achieve that goal and would have earned a tremendous accomplishment to be fiercely proud of. Rather than going to the grave knowing she let go of the dream, she could take her last breath knowing she didn’t let limiting beliefs or nonsensical societal notions stop her from doing what she truly wanted to do.

Maybe she wouldn’t be hire by a law enforcement agency but she could do an internship and get to actually do the work. Where she sees closed doors, I see opportunity. I think there are ways to monetize it and more importantly, ways that she can live the dream each day. She can start a blog and write about her experiences. The blog could attract a likeminded community that she has something in common with (and she may inspire others who think it’s too late to start hot pursuit of their own dreams). She could write a book or eBook about her endeavors and sell it, or hand it down to family as a treasured keepsake. She could offer services as a consultant, teach a class on the subject, speak to audiences crammed with curious people seeking life-changing inspiration and even become a television contributor for segments where esoteric analysis is needed. She might also be able to become an expert witness and testify in court. I’m not saying it would be easy nor am I saying every one of these would work out. What I am saying is that there are so many opportunities that exist if she would just take the time to open her mind and see them.

 Age doesn’t deter one from chasing their dreams. Mindset does. That is why it is critical to identify self-defeating behaviors, challenge them and banish them from your life. Don’t take the easy way out. Don’t be content to watch your dreams fade to black. Do the work. Take a brave step and believe in yourself just a little. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish. We only have one life to live and the sweet truth is- it’s never too late to be what you might have been!


The Anxiety Files- How Understanding My Anxiety Changed my Life

“Beware lest in your anxiety to avoid war you obtain a master”. Demosthenes

“I can’t go tonight. I am working overtime tomorrow”. The disappointment in my friend’s voice on the other end of the line was evident. It won’t be as much fun without you. Next time.

His tone revealed that I let him down. I knew I wasn’t going to work overtime tomorrow. So why did I “back out” on my friends yet again? I didn’t have an answer. I let myself down too.

Contained in my youth were a number of similar instances. Those who don’t know any better would call it lying. I won’t argue, rather will add the full perspective.

While I understand that view, I see it differently. Holistically. Lying implies being deceitful. That was not what l was trying to be. My intent was solely to avoid another rumble with anxiety. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it at the time. That came several years later when, in desperate need of an answer to the anxiety overtaking me, I simultaneously began studying counseling theory in college and seeing a therapist. Everything began to make sense. The fog of confusion lifted and was replaced with the bright shine of clarity.

I grew up much differently than my friends. Most enjoyed stable homes with both parents home each night for dinner. They took vacations to happy places and when they got a little older, did things like walking fifteen fun –filled minutes down the road with a group of pals to catch an afternoon matinee. Teenagers expect to be able to do things like this. At least my generation that grew up in the 1980’s did. But when your biological father is the deadly leader of a violent and sinister motorcycle gang, you don’t have the same childhood as your friends. You just don’t.

Making excuses was commonplace for my mother during my childhood. It took me a while to understand why but when I became a parent myself the answer hit me in the gut with the force of a hulking linebacker. You do what you have to do to protect your family, especially your children.

My biological father had physically attacked her on a number of occasions, including pushing her down to the asphalt and breaking her arm when she was 9-months pregnant with me. It’s understandable that I let anxiety run rampant for a couple of decades.

No doubt I experienced it in the womb- feeling the jolt of the ground, being bathed with stress hormones as they flooded the space that was supposed to be my place of nourishment. Hearing the drumroll of the racing heartbeat that accompanies panic. By the time I made my way into this world, I knew anxiety on a level that no kid should ever have to know. Kids deserve better.

One day, after another argument, he made an ominous threat to my mother. It was straightforward enough: ‘You better hold those kids close because if you let them out of your sight, they’ll be gone”. That’s enough to make any parent get into overprotective mode. Or engage in criminal activity. Fortunately, my mother did not resort to the latter. But what she did do was keep me close to home. All. The. Time.

I didn’t get to experience those memories made at matinee movies like my older brother and friends. Being three years younger and far more emotionally sensitive, I learned in my formative years that making excuses to avoid situations and staying close to home keep you safe. Physically and mentally. And so those lessons learned in the tender toddler years became ingrained. It was what I knew.

Going back to the phone call with my friend, I was not trying to lie or disappoint. I was trying to keep myself comfortable. After a lifetime of staying close to home, that was where I felt safe. I went out countless times with my friends, far more than not. My memories are crammed with late nights singing Karaoke, enjoying being young and driving home in the blue of dawn. And lots of laughing. Some chose to remember the times I wasn’t there and have forever tied me to it. Because of anxiety, I lost a few friends. By choice.

The guys who couldn’t differentiate between a lie and a legitimate reason, who kept bringing up the past, who wanted to be seen for the changed men they had become but were not willing to reciprocate. I decided I was not going to let their weight cuff me to the past one day longer. I had to make changes.

I took quiet time for deep self-reflection, identified behaviors I wanted to change, replayed the things I had seen as a kid and saw similarities in what I was doing and what my mother had to do.  I then started out to become a new me.

These are gifts that anxiety gave me—the ability to look within, be authentic in my actions, take responsibility for my missteps and use it all to make myself better than before.

How did I make myself better? Anxiety attacks struck for nearly twenty years, including multiple times each day for over a year. My head and limbs would tingle incessantly. I’d wake in the dark of night trembling in terror, soaked in sweat. The force of the anxious energy would cause nausea and vomiting.

Since those nervous nights, I have not had one in nearly five years. Because I know where it comes from, anxiety no longer elicits a fear based response. Uncovering its origin changed my life. It’s like discovering the boogey man is not real. Once you do, the fear is erased forever.

Instead of suppressing my dreams, I pursue with great joy my authentic calling—writing (note- I believe anxiety can be triggered when one does not pursue their dreams and instead lives a life incongruent with who they are truly meant to be). I used to be underpaid and undervalued by any definition and had no vision for my life’s direction.  Since then, I doubled my income, have a clear vision of the husband, father and man that I am and want to be. I’ve reinvented myself and achieved wonderful things that were once distant dreams. 

I have freed myself from the heaviness that restrained my upward momentum. Changing the perceptions of others isn’t important anymore. Choosing not to surround myself with unsupportive people was inspiring and invigorating. I’ve got amazing things to enjoy and focus on and that is where I put my energy.

If anxiety is holding you back, you can do the same. Take time alone with your thoughts, map out your past, write in a journal, talk with a relative about missing pieces of family history or speak with a mental health professional. These are just some of the things you can do today to start gaining insight. Once you become aware of where your anxiety comes from, you have the power to set expectations and make informed decisions that will literally change your life.

Fortunately, the friend on the other end of the telephone line is still that today. A damn good friend. You may have lost friends, family or a job due to anxiety. Accept it and be appreciative of what was. Regretting the past will not serve you well. Use your time productively. Make a conscious effort to see the whole person and not just a skewed portion of that person.

If you’ve struggled with anxiety for any length of time, dive in and find out where it is coming from. I can tell you from experience, you’ll be glad you did. And chances are, you just may reinvent yourself along the way.

Life Lessons I Learned From My Kids

This morning, I was watching “Dora the Explorer” with my daughter. Not yet two years old, this beautiful child has been singing since before she could talk and dancing since before she could walk. It doesn’t matter what kind of music, or even how long it lasts, if she hears a beat or a note, she drops whatever she is doing to move to the rhythm. This morning was no different.

When one of the songs came on during the cartoon, she started singing. She didn’t know all of the words and given that she is not even two, she couldn’t even pronounce half of the words. It didn’t stop her. She hummed in perfect timing and pitch with the song! It was amazing- this girl just has an innate sense of music. I watched her closely and not knowing the words didn’t bother her in the least. Didn’t slow her or stop her in her tracks. She simply kept right on doing what she was doing and with a smile.

She will wiggler her little hips to a song, or twirl in circles on the carpet, or stretch her little hands to the sky as far as they will go, or walk around on her tippy-toes. Whatever the kind of dancing the moment calls for, she doesn’t hesitate to jump in and have fun! She has fun in just about everything she does.

My son recently turned four. He is the most creative kid I have ever met. Ever. He loves to sing and play with his guitar and keyboard. He plays drums on my bed and says “Daddy, this is a good rock and roll song”. Then he proceeds to make up a beat, strum his guitar and tap the piano keys, and make up his own lyrics! Let me tell you- the kid is talented. At bed time, we used to read a book every night. Lately, we started making up our own stories, usually at his prompt. He contributes, he is not just a passive listener but rather a very active and vocal participant.

He brings home projects from preschool. I picked him up early about two weeks ago and got to see him doing his color, cut and paste project. It was completely evident he was enjoying what he was doing. Creating. Learning and doing something new. I got to talking with his teacher and she mentioned his talent and affinity with numbers. How he can count to 100 and beyond and knows which numbers are larger and smaller than one hundred. When he doesn’t know- he asks. She commented that the work we are doing at home with numbers is clearly paying off. I commented that yes, we do talk numbers because he wants to talk numbers and that I was glad they were going over this in school because that was really paying off. She was confused- she said they are working on the letters of the alphabet and things that correspond to each letter but they haven’t delved into numbers yet (except basic counting).

I am not sure where he gained the interest of numbers (though his dad has an affinity for numbers as well), but it doesn’t matter. I was blown away that he took an interest in something new, something unfamiliar, and learned it almost entirely on his own at a level that is far beyond his age.

This might sounds like me bragging about my children (and maybe it is a little) but really, there are lessons to be learned. I certainly learned from these experiences with my toddler aged kids. What they taught me was that there is magic and power in creating and doing in the absence of fear. Kids don’t know fear. They know play. They know inquisitiveness. If fear enters their little thoughts, it doesn’t cause delay that is for sure. From them I learned that it is of the utmost significance that we enjoy what we do with our time and have fun and smile while we’re doing it. Not just because it makes life fun, but it also extinguishes the dangerous flames of stress. They taught me that curiosity leads to learning and that learning is a key ingredient to a wholesome life. My children show me that it is more than OK to jump in and do, even if you don’t know the words or exactly how to do it. And that if you do jump in and do without knowing all of the words, you won’t look silly or make a fool of yourself, rather you will find something wonderful waiting for you. Kids do it right. They live life right.

Maybe I knew some of these lessons before, but it really is easy to forget when life gets busy and there seems to be a never-ending list of things to get done and just not enough hours in the day. But watching my children play, seeing and feeling their magic—it has inspired me to live my life as a creator and someone who will keep moving forward even when fear is present and clearly competing for my attention.

 When we enter adulthood, we often become entangled in the mindset and habits of paying the bills, working full time and then some, fixing whatever is wrong with the house, maintaining the lawn and the thousand other things that occupy the mind. The freedom and lightness with which we approached life in childhood seems lost in time. A lifetime ago. It doesn’t have to be. We can and should change our view of the world and our role in it and see things through the eyes of a child. I’m not saying abandon your responsibilities and quit your job, I am simply suggesting to experience the joy and wonder in what you do in life. Even if only for a little while each day. Just like a child does. Because after all- kids do it right.