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Curiosity, the strong desire to learn something, is a worthy trait to develop. Perhaps because curiosity is my word for the year, or perhaps because I’m naturally a curious person, my thoughts often turn to this characteristic.
Why is curiosity an excellent companion for life’s journey?
What a great question! It reveals a curious mind. Read on to learn the answer and for tips on developing a curiosity mindset.
Why Develop Curiosity?
Curiosity is considered a genius trait. Many inventors, artists and creatives, such as Einstein and da Vinci, exhibit intelligence combined with insatiable curiosity. Is curiosity limited to a few?
No, we can develop the sense of curiosity all of us enjoyed as children. We are born, curious. Watch a child at play or listen to them, asking myriad questions. Curiosity is part of our nature.
Why, as adults, is it important to reconnect with curiosity and develop it?
- Curiosity keeps the mind active and sharp. Asking questions, seeking answers and exploring new ideas all expand reasoning abilities, perspectives and awareness.
- The brain signals the release of dopamine, a feel good chemical, when we encounter new experiences. We feel happier when following curiosity. And curious people experience positive emotions more frequently, greater satisfaction with life and lower levels of anxiety .
- Curiosity increases powers of observation. The brain makes new pathways as we gather information and connect it in fresh ways. Not surprisingly, curiosity also fosters learning and academic achievement.
- Adventures are born when we follow curiosity to see where it leads. And it opens doors to amazing possibilities. A life lived with a curiosity mindset is fun, exciting and never dull.
Developing a Curiosity Mindset
Try these suggestions for developing a curiosity mindset.
Say Yes, Instead of No
Something happens to us as adults. Growing up, many of us lose the sense of adventure we once enjoyed, when an opportunity arises. It is too easy to quickly reply no when something new presents itself or we want to be careful and weigh all the pros and cons.
Try saying yes more often. Instead of overthinking opportunities or playful creative projects, say yes and see what happens. Yes opens us up to receive more. Yes frees us. Saying no stops action and closes us down.
Of course certain situations require a negative answer. However, answer with a yes as often as you can and life will shift, dramatically.
One of the most important traits I’ve reconnected with in the last ten years is the ability to play. Playing lightens moods, boosts creativity and sparks curiosity. It is no surprise that children engage so frequently in make believe while they play. They are acting out of curiosity and learning while playing.
Color, draw and paint. Get out the board games or better yet, make up new games to play. Use imagination to make believe. Stumped for ideas? Watch children at play and take notes!
One of my favorite mantras is “open to everything, attached to nothing”. A closed mind, heart or perspective severely limits curiosity. If we think we know everything already, we have no need for curiosity. An open mind and heart naturally question and then seek answers. When we remain unattached to outcomes as we question and seek, our curiosity can lead us far indeed.
So many of my adventures and playful games ignite my curiosity and lead me to exciting discoveries. A good example is the 62 Outrageous Things to Do for My 62nd Birthday. I’m still reaping extraordinary benefits from following curiosity as I enjoyed new experiences.
Staying open inspires wonderment. And wonder, in turn, births the desire to discover. Ask why, how, who, when, what if and I wonder what would happen if I did this? A curious mind generates an endless sense of wonderment about the world, the universe, ourselves, other people and those BIG questions about existence and purpose.
Allow curiosity to fuel wonderment and then go where the questions lead. Recently I took a jump rocket to my grandchildren to try out, for a brand. It was simple fun, jumping on the pump to launch the rocket into the air. The kids enjoyed seeing how high they could make the rocket go. What I love most is that after I left, two of the kids continued to play, adapting the launch sequence, making their own rocket and creating a funny video to showcase their work. What a fine example of curiosity driven wonderment!
Read Widely and Watch a Variety of Films
We all enjoy favorite genres in books and movies. Developing a curiosity mindset is furthered by expanding reading and viewing selections beyond the usual. If you typically read fiction, switch to non-fiction for the next book. If comedies are your favorite, try a documentary or a sci-fi film.
Moving away from the usual sparks curiosity by capturing interest or creating a desire to know more. Watching a historical drama always leads me to Google. Curiosity compels me to fact check and see if that amazing scene has any historical truth to it. And that in turn may lead me to a book at the library about the topic. I love the trails I follow, chasing after curiosity. There’s no telling how far it will go and what I will learn.
Try New Experiences
Don’t be afraid to try many experiences as you journey through life. Dabble in this. Take a class in that. Flit from art medium to art medium. There are certainly times to focus on one thing. Just don’t limit yourself and stay there too long. We create ruts when we do the same things, in the same ways, for a long time. Boredom sets in. Creativity is stifled. We lose interest.
Trying new experiences is what launched my blogging journey in 2014 and how grateful I am. I continue to allow curiosity to guide my writing and my life.
Are you curious about painting? Gardening? Deep sea diving? Experience whatever you wonder about. If you love it, stay with it. If you don’t love it, no harm done. Move on.
The sentence that currently shapes my life is this one: Living life beyond the edges of fear, comfort zones and limiting beliefs. It’s become the tag line for my Cindy Goes Beyond blog.
Going beyond is the path to greater curiosity. Fear stops so many things, including creativity and curiosity. Limiting beliefs keep us stuck in patterns from our pasts. And comfort zones…those keep us safe, we think, and dull. If we are afraid to go beyond what we know, then we won’t make it past that self imposed boundary.
Replace fears and judgments with curiosity.
Allow curiosity a trial run. Follow it in a new direction that begins with the question “what if?” and see where you end up. When you feel uncomfortable, pause, consider why the discomfort is there, and then go slightly beyond it.
Here’s an example: You eat the same foods all the time. Curiosity taps you on the shoulder and you wonder what a dragon fruit tastes like. Comfort Zone tells you not to bother. You don’t know how to prepare a dragon fruit and you probably won’t like it anyway. Curiosity beckons. Going beyond means watching a YouTube video about cutting up the fruit, making a purchase and creating a dragon fruit smoothie, which you love. Curiosity says, “I wonder what else we could try?”. And off you go, on another new adventure. Those adventures don’t ever have to stop.
Follow Curiosity When it Beckons
Following curiosity is one of my favorite life experiences. I don’t usually know where the path goes after it disappears around the bend and what I’ll encounter along the way. How freeing it is not to know. Having to know everything before you go, stops you from ever going.
Developing a curiosity mindset means following curiosity, whether it is to Google, into nature, to the library or to another country. Trust. Follow. Explore. You will discover treasures.
Travel is following curiosity on a big scale. Going beyond your neighborhood, your town, your state or your country to explore new places is a life changing experience.
Seeing the way other people live, tasting new foods, hearing a different accent, dialect or language, feeling the sun on your skin on the other side of the world expands the heart and mind in massive ways. I believe that travel enriches our lives, increases wonderment and creates empathy for others.
And travel is addictive.
Curiosity whispers to me constantly and points toward a distant land. I want to follow. I desire to go beyond my boundaries. Staying open and unattached, I take step after step beyond the edges, with travel as my lofty goal.
Are You Developing a Curiosity Mindset?
When I realized curiosity was my word for 2020, I expressed great delight. I’ve always been a curious person, although for many years fear kept me caged. That is no longer true. I love following curiosity and going ever beyond, growing and shifting into the person I am meant to be, one adventure, one experience at a time. This year is already taking me far beyond. There truly is no telling how far I’ll go! Listen to my song for this year, to get that reference.
Are you a curious person? How are you developing a curiosity mindset?
Check out these books on curiosity:
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4 Replies to “Developing a Curiosity Mindset”
Great word for the year. I can’t imagine living without curiosity. Trying new things/experiences is that makes an interesting life. I was nodding the whole time I was reading.
I love curiosity too!
I love this..as I am getting older I am not as curious and should be..thank you for inspiring me to be more open to living life with more curiosity!
Happy to inspire! 😊