The wisdom of children’s books

I was recently in a local gift shop with my wife and saw two children’s books by Kobi Yamada

What do you do with an idea?


What do you do with a chance?

Yamada is an award winning author with several children’s books to his name. He also wrote What do you do with a problem?

As with most children’s books, Yamada took a lesson that we all can learn from and reduced it to the simple language and pictures that a child can understand.

I have written here several times about dealing with problems, so I won’t repeat myself on that (see this post ) ; however, the topics of dealing with ideas and chances (opportunities) is one that deserves some thought.

I did not read Yamada’s books while standing in the gift shop. I just opened to the first pages to see how they started. Both books started out the same way, with the child trying to get away from the idea or the chance – but it followed the child around and would not go away, just like the problems that Yamada also wrote about, I suspect.

Trying to avoid dealing with problems is easier to understand than trying to get away from ideas or chances; but all three reactions are based upon the same thing – fears. The fears that cause us to avoid the three situations are only slightly different across all three and have their base in our fear of failure. With problems we often cannot see any good solutions or we  imagine all sorts of bad outcomes. New ideas that pop into our heads also bring that same fear of failure because, well, they’re new – they represent the unknown and our imaginations tend towards bad outcomes when facing the unknown.

Chances (or opportunities), when we are given them always come with imagined outcomes that have both good and bad endings. Which do you think our imaginations often choose to focus upon? Perhaps that is something that separates successful people – they tend to focus upon the good outcome and work towards it. Successful athletes often use a visualization technique that helps them “see” the success that they desire.

Underlying the actions of successful people is the positive attitude of “I think I can”. They see the positive outcome, rather than being frozen by fears of the unknown (and unknowable). Keep in mind that every failure that you may have just means that you ran into one of those unknowns and now you know. You can do better next time because you know to avoid whatever it was that tripped you up – you will forge a different path to success. Persistence and perseverance are as important as perspiration in achieving success.

The key to success with all of these ‘What do you do with” questions is taking action and not to run away from them but to deal with them. What do you do with a problem? You solve it! What do you do with an idea? You implement it! What do you do with a chance? You take it!

So, maybe the Nike people have the most childlike and valid answer to all of the “What do I do with” questions in life – Just Do It!

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