Goal Setting Like a Baby

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 6.24.39 AMI have an 11 month old nephew who is just starting to take much longer walks around the house. Since he was about 9.5 months old, he’s been attempting this passage of life with very limited prodding from adults. I’ve sat for long periods of time watching him literally watch the people around him and it has been quite cool to see him “soak it all in” and then try things himself.

He would stand on his own and immediately fall but then immediately stand again. Eventually, his long moments of standing turned in to a new sequence of events….Stand, step, fall, repeat.

Seriously…the baby has set a goal for himself and has tried again and again and again until he met that goal. Then he starts a new goal…fearlessly.

If you think about it, babies go through life as little goal setters. In my mind, I think that my nephew’s brain works something like this…

  • I wonder what I can do to make people pick me up.
  • I wonder if I can hold my own bottle.
  • I wonder if I can sit up.
  • I wonder if I can slide off the couch.
  • I wonder if I can stand like everyone else.
  • I wonder if I can drink from that straw.
  • I wonder if I can walk on two feet like my cousins.
  • I wonder what will happen if I touch that shiny thing.
  • I wonder what that thing does when I press the buttons. (yes, in my mind he knows what computer keys are)

As for me, I wonder when adults step in and discourage this natural curiosity about the world. What if we didn’t? What if we allowed kids to continue to set goals, learn, try, fall and repeat?

The least that we could do is fearlessly do this ourselves. After-all, babies do it.


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