We lose our "wildness" — our intrinsic enthusiasm as human beings. As adults, we honor the superficial over the meaningful, this is why, rather than enthusiasm, we require motivation.
You will rarely hear "enthusiasm" being used for adults; even seeing the word, it seems inappropriate. Just as it would be odd-sounding to hear a child say they need motivation. Enthusiasm starts from within your soul and penetrates out, touching everyone around you — it's contagious. Motivation starts externally and meets constant resistance on the way in, and may never meet your soul. Rather than sharing, it's taking, it's about you rather than the thing you care about, because you don't care about the thing, this is why you need motivation.
Motivation only works if you have material goals and rewards. Enthusiasm just needs a participant. Children come eager and willing, they're interested. What are they interested in? In the act of living. This is what makes them great, this is what makes them Wild Things. Many adults can no longer fathom the concept of enthusiasm, just as someone who only lusts for people's earthly bodies can never fathom loving someone's immaterial being. "What's the material thing in it for me?" "What's my motivation?" And in that misguided quest, we suffer despair and regret that only adults can know. We get corrupted by endless chases for pats on the head and we forget how to be wild.
But a child knows. They know where the Wild Things are. They don't need material goods or rewards, they just need each other, other Wild Things.
Do you remember what that was like? Do you remember how great that felt? The feeling of looking at a swing and knowing exactly how high you could fly? We take ourselves and everything else so seriously. But as children, we would watch adults and promise ourselves we would never be like them. Do you remember? Not knowing what tomorrow will bring, that uncertainty scares us. But as Wild Things, not knowing what tomorrow would bring was our source of excitement. "I wonder what will happen tomorrow?!" And with each new day — we saw it, we loved it, we ate it. We were up for the adventure.
Useful Companions (Improve Your Education and This Site by Buying a Book):
- When I came to America, Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak was one of the first books I read, but I only came to understand it after I re-read it as an adult
- The quote by Maurice Sendak first appeared in Jack Kornfield's powerful book on Buddhism and psychology, The Wise Heart: A Guide to the Universal Teachings of Buddhist Psychology