In Plain Sight: The Innocent Minds of Children

When children look at something, their interpretation is often based off of the pure reality of things “as they are”. During their younger years, most kids have not yet been conditioned to act in a certain way just because ‘everyone else does so’. But through adolescence and a few years into adulthood, we pick up a new set of rules that are far from how we used to react. Best example – when many people walk past a homeless person – a beggar who may be sitting on the side of the street asking for money or sleeping on a bench in the park – most will give little to no effort to even look him or her in the eye. Most of us, myself included, will walk past without a second thought crossing our minds, resorting quickly back to our concerns or fear with being late to wherever we’re going. But on the other hand, when a child walks past, I have seen the situation multiple times where the child slows down, hesitates, or looks at a homeless person for an extended moment of time. In that moment, it’s clear that his or her sense of wonder stems from one overarching question: Why is this other human being, intrinsically similar to myself in so many ways, not receiving the same treatment as me?

Now this child’s reaction is the compassionate (and what many would call expected) way to react to a situation like this. But as we grow out of adolescence, each and every one of us finds this mindset fade away. Becoming an adult is in a way synonymous with becoming at least somewhat committed to the pursuit of success, money, status, fame, pride, or a combination of these. But more and more it seems that this addiction gets to the point where jumping through hoop after hoop for this pursuit envelops our minds throughout most of each passing day, with other thoughts irrelevant to this pursuit being completely disregarded and discarded from our minds.

It is freedom and detachment from these restrictive patterns of thoughts – thoughts we’re so accustomed to that are drilled into our spines by the systems that govern us – that will open our minds and bring us to react as we should when we see someone homeless on the street, react as we should when we find ourselves in a heated argument, and react as we should when we see injustice within our leaders or anywhere around us. It’s by letting go of our fears, worries, and concerns over mandating that each and every event in our lives to turn out perfectly – that we give less power to these controls that try to make us stay constantly alert and optimizing our lives in the most unnecessary ways.

This innocent but more accurate, unadulterated perspective of reality – through the ‘eyes of a child’ – is what we need to rewind our minds to so that we can realize and capitalize on the 20% of our thoughts that influence the majority of the decisions and events in our lives (see 80-20 rule). And with this maybe we can better our perspective and see our lives, our problems, our circumstances, and our relationships “as they really are”.

Envisioned by Chintav Shah | Engineering and Wharton Class of 2016


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