Connecting the Dots: What Did You Love to Do as a Child?
You might’ve noticed that I wrote my about page this week 🥳
I thought it would be fun to include some pictures from my childhood in there, so I asked my mom to go through our old photo albums. When I was scrolling through the pictures that she sent me, something struck me.
“I’m actually not that different.”
A lot of the things I was doing as a child, I’m still doing now in one shape or another.
Not because it was clear that I should do that. Not at all. It was a long and winding road to get here for sure – and it still is! But what’s cool to see is that our childhood actually holds a lot of valuable clues on what we truly love to do. And that only became clear to me when looking backward. It even feels obvious now.
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” – Steve Jobs
Let me illustrate this with a couple of stories. And yes, pictures!
Public speaking 🎤
Did you also have that thing at school where once a year you had to give a (graded) presentation to your fellow classmates?
Everybody in my class hated it. But I was looking forward to it all year.
I just loved diving into a subject and finding the most interesting or fun way to tell a story. I went to great lengths to prepare these stories – like going to pencil factories, making elaborate drawings or finding illustrative objects to pass around.
My classmates would often even find me afterwards and share how much they appreciated my talk or felt inspired by it. That was my goal.
To inspire them ✨
And look what I’m doing now! I’m writing blog posts to (hopefully) inspire you. I’ve been on stage numerous times over the past your in relation to organising the local Fuckup Nights and of course my very own KREW Events. And finally, finally, I’m working my way up towards consistently posting YouTube videos. I’ve been wanting to do that for so long!
Growing up, I was always known for being that kid who could draw. I was just always drawing. I liked it. It was my thing.
Of all the things I did when I was young, this is the talent I thought of most as an adult. From the moment I went to high school I sort of lost this activity as something that’s so prominent in my life. So I often wondered: shouldn’t I do more with drawing?
But looking back now, I can see that it’s always been around as an enabler rather than a core activity. Like: I’m not known for being an artist now, but I still draw stuff all the time,
For mockups of websites. To illustrate what’s being taught in online courses. For flyers and marketing graphics. Or just for fun, as a hobby (I have a weird hobby drawing UFOs).
It’s around all the time, just not as prominent as I thought.
Being unconventional 👽🖖
When I was 4 years old, I had the growth spurt that most people get when they are around the age of 12. That meant I was always two heads taller than everybody else in my class. Even now, I’m still taller than 99.9% of the people I meet.
In other words, I stood out from a young age.
At least, I felt like I did. I embraced it even. I liked feeling different, like an outsider. That feeling led me to comfortably take on many challenges. Like drawing competitions. Biking competitions. Acing every test. Even becoming the local ‘Prince Carnival’ (don’t ask me 😅).
I often won too! And I believe it’s all because of this mindset that I felt comfortable being different. Doing what others wouldn’t. I wasn’t afraid to just do my own thing and go for it. I still think that’s one of my greatest strengths.
It’s how I dared to go to Hong Kong on exchange as a small-town, tall-Dutch guy. It’s how I started my own pancake business straight out of uni. And how I dared to book a one-way ticket to Bali to become a digital nomad.
I was an entrepreneur from a young age. Even if I didn’t know it then.
What did you love to do as a child? 👶❤️
The reason why I’m sharing all these stories with you is because I want to inspire you to think about your own childhood.
What did you love to do as a child? Can you connect the dots looking backward already? Or do you feel like something is still missing?
Even if you can’t connect the dots yet, you can go through your old pictures for clues of what you loved to do back then. Things you were known for. Or ways in which you stood out. Go ask your mom for those photos!
Too often in our adult lives I feel like we let logic determine our decisions. But what if we went back to our core? To simpler times? When societal pressures, responsibilities and reasoning weren’t weighing on us like they do now?
You might find some things in your childhood that you could try and pick up again. Like an interest that got lost over time, but that you’re curious to try out again. Maybe you could give up Netflix for one night a week and rediscover your childhood passions.
Who knows what’ll happen. It could light a fire inside you that you forgot was there 🔥🚀
For me, my main realisation of looking back has been that the fact that I love public speaking is not just something I made up. I loved it all my life. So starting to make YouTube videos again, seeking out more opportunities to create a stage for myself: that is something I more actively want to pursue. And in a way, this blog is my stepping stone towards that.
It was a cool realisation to have. And it’s cool to think about these childhood stories, and to look at these pictures. But now it’s up to you!
What did you love to do as a kid and how is it a part of your life now?