Have you ever introduced a child to a new experience? Maybe a different food or a different activity? As parents we do it quite frequently, I know we have over the years. In fact during our Easter Holiday we had an Indian takeaway as a family, as our older children really enjoy curry, but for our youngest this was a totally new experience!
Now you would think that she would be open minded, excited even to have another new experience – but no, her response was one of ‘I don’t like curry!’. Even though she hadn’t had it before! She refused to allow even a crumb pass her lips! Now on one hand it was really interesting because children, up to a certain age, usually will try most things – but she was adamant that she didn’t like it at all! After some enquiry, she explained that she didn’t like curry because she’d had salt and vinegar crisps and she didn’t like spicy food! Fair enough, you might think – but this take away wasn’t that spicy at all – but the lady had made her mind up!
I find that this often happens in our day to day life, not necessarily with our children, but in our everyday lives. We make decisions to do or not to do something – not on the experience of what is in front of us, but of some similar belief or experience that we might have. We might not like going out on a Friday night because it’s always so busy (because it was five years ago just before Christmas!) or the classic ‘I don’t like ‘things like that’’. Or it could be to do with work, we might not like a particular person because of what someone might have said about them – or a particular networking event, because a colleague didn’t enjoy it. We often find ourselves making judgments about opportunities, not based on the facts or the actual experience of those opportunities but our perception of them – what we believe about them instead of what they really are. Usually our perception isn’t even based on an actual similar experience – just one that is ‘similar’ – like the crisps v the curry or sweeping statements ‘I don’t like spicy things!’
The joke with my children, is that quite often when then give a new opportunity i.e. the curry, a chance, they do actually quite like it, which is why our older two children now quite happily eat a curry and I’m sure my youngest will do with time. It’s a bit like olives – I was once told I had to eat 12 before I would like them – now I love them!
We are no different, the trick with all of us is to allow ourselves to be open to new experiences, remember, they haven’t happened yet, so whilst you may think that you won’t enjoy it, or a particular opportunity may not work for you – don’t judge it until you have all the facts in front of you – or even better when you have given it a try so that you can see for yourself. Because it isn’t until you taste the curry that you can truly say whether you like it or not – but be warned, there are many different types of curry, so even if you try it once, you may need to throw caution to the wind and try it again in the future just to make sure!
Andrea Morrison is author of The Feel Good Factor in 30 days and is a Personal Coach & Speaker (andreamorrison.co.uk) specialising in building a more confident, balanced & motivated YOU!