Childish vs Childlike

Photo Credit: rishibando via Compfight cc

When doing creative projects…

Childish: “no one ever helps me. Why doesn’t anyone want my dreams to come true.”

Childlike: “this could be a fun adventure. I hope I make a bunch of mistakes that’ll help me learn and make me a better artist.”

When you have to work a day job to fund your art/projects/fulfilling work…

Childish: “I’d be more creative if I didn’t have my day job. It really stifles me and takes all my time.”

Childlike: “I’m even more creative because I have a day job. I have to be more focused and use my time and resources to the fullest. Plus, I’m grateful to have my needs met. So thankful.”

When being forced to meet a deadline (even when you don’t feel in the ‘creative flow‘)…

Childish: “I just can’t work under the pressure of a deadline. Ideas just don’t happen that way! I’m blocked!”

Childlike: “So it’s not working, ok. What do I need to do differently? Maybe I’ll do an ideation exercise. No matter how bad the ideas, I know I’ll find one that will make a connection that will take me where I need to go. I’m not blocked.”


Those are all chats I’ve had with myself. As creatives, we have two choices: to make time for the things we esteem and value, or to make excuses.

A question I ask myself in my work, play and creativity is often “what am I making?” If I don’t like the answer, I make a change…for good. (Click here to tweet that)

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Author: Andrew Zahn

I'm a son, husband, dad, business owner, actor and good sleeper/eater. On this blog, I pave a highway for creative growth by providing food, water, and shelter for those wishing to live, work, and play with creative zest.

  • Great post, great distinctions. Very well articulated!

  • Well said. Childlike is definitely working with what you have – just look at what kids do with a cardboard box, or a blanket, or some pots and pans from the kitchen… imaginations run wild. Child-ish would be complaining about being bored without the fancy toys… when there’s plenty to do with just a little 🙂

    • Well said. We’re only few weeks away from having our first kiddo–bring on the simple toys that require imagination!

  • It is easy to view your day job as a drag to your creative pursuits, but for me it is what enables me to have creative pursuits in the first place. Great thoughts.

    • Right with you Tom!

      One great thing about my day job is that once they found out I could write, produce videos and other creative things, they made a way for me to do those things for them! It’s not always roses, but at least I can smell them much of the time.

  • Andy Black

    Andrew– Thanks for consistently and constantly nudging us in the right direction!

    • Super glad to do it, though I’m also drop-kicking myself. Gotta practice what ya preach.


  • So yea…I may or may not have said some of those phrases listed under childish. Thanks for the slap upside the head!