Maybe you’re a businessperson trying to figure out how to appeal to a younger demographic. Maybe you’re a teacher wondering how to connect more with students. Maybe you wish you could be more like those people you know who always seem to be enjoying life enthusiastically. Or maybe you woke up this morning and just felt, well…older.
In her blog Creating Passionate Users, Kathy Sierra poses the question: “Is there something you loved to do when you were younger but that you stopped doing? Did you stop doing it because you truly outgrew it… or because you got older?”
In order to cure Adultitis, you’ve got to mix things up a little bit. In order to stay young — no matter how old you are — you’ve got to give your brain a workout. As we grow up, we form habits and preferences, and those habits and preferences have the tendency to become more ingrained as we get older. We settle into a comfort zone, and once that happens, we stop growing and we start dying. We begin to lose touch with people younger than us, and we start to feel…old.
In order to free yourself from this downward spiral, you’ve got to do things your brain doesn’t expect. And one way to do that, as Sierra correctly notes, is to do things not typically done by people “your age.” Here are some of my favorite examples that she gives:
• Go to a live show
Yes, the parking is a pain, the second-hand smoke will kill you, and your high-frequency hearing is already shot from the concerts you went to in high school. Those were my reasons when I went for about five years without attending a real concert (the symphony doesn’t count).
• Have–and play with–at least one remote control thing
Slot cars, RC hang gliders, boats, whatever.
• Try to play that instrument you haven’t touched for years
Guitar. Piano. Trombone?
Virtually everyone runs when they’re younger. Put an animal in a cage all day, and the first thing they want to do when you let them out is run, run, run. We should learn from that.
• Watch movies for which you are not the target audience.
• Visit stores for which you are not the target audience. Buy something. Wear it.
• Do something with art — paint, sculpt, whatever it is you used to do as a kid that you haven’t done in a long time
• Read a mystery/thriller. Or whatever genre you used to read but don’t any longer.
It doesn’t really matter what you do, as long as it surprises your brain. Just do something, and you might be surprised just how much younger you feel…or how easy it is to uncover that next great marketing idea.