You might read the title of this post and think, I already know how to be curious. And on some level, you do.
As a child you certainly did. Children are naturally inquisitive and curious. But as we move into adulthood, we start believing we know certain truths and become increasingly inflexible in our thoughts and behaviors.
Do you spend much of your life mired in routine? Go to a mundane job and perform the same routines day after day? Check out and stare at a screen each night before bed? You may need a curiosity boost.
Curiosity Gives Life Meaning
If the above example is a perfect snapshot of your day, we get it. There’s no judgment and it’s not meant to be an indictment. But you may want to also ask yourself, how much happiness do you experience in your day-to-day life?
Many of us think if we change our outer world, we’ll be happier; that a better car, a bigger house, a more lucrative job will make everything better. That’s not the case though.
In reality, happiness is an inside job. And it starts by adopting more positive attitudes and behaviors. Among the most important of these is curiosity; the ability to approach life from a beginner’s mind over and over again.
Taking an active interest in something enables you to embrace the unfamiliar and unknown. It shakes up your world in a way that allows you to experience more joy.
The Science Behind Curiosity
You don’t need a heady study to recognize that curiosity brings excitement into your life. It’s the perfect remedy for boredom. People who are curious are always on the search. And such searches result in more expansive and meaningful lives that are dynamic and have purpose.
Don’t take our word for it though. There are plenty of studies that indicate that life is better and more fulfilling when you’re curious.
One such example of a study shows that curiosity primes the brain for learning and that curious folk learn about a topic faster than those who are not. When curiosity is in play, the mind anticipates new ideas and is, therefore, more easily able to recognize them when they come.
By contrast, without that sense of curiosity, a new idea can easily go unrecognized and never be allowed to germinate.
Curiosity is also great for healthy social relationships. A study from the University at Buffalo concluded that the amount of curiosity a person possesses directly correlates to their personal growth opportunities. It makes sense though.
We all value curiosity in our friends. Curiosity allows for empathy and a deeper connection. Why would you want to spend time with someone who has little interest in your life or you as a person?
There are countless other studies too that prove how curiosity and being open to new experiences keep the mind active and alert. And just as you exercise your body to keep it healthy, so too must the brain regularly “work out” to perform optimally – especially as we age.
So the importance of curiosity is obvious. But if you’re firmly in a rut of busyness and doing, you may think you have no time for curiosity. The good news is, you do!
How to Be Curious
As we mentioned earlier, you more than likely experienced curiosity as a child. That’s because it’s inherent in you. No matter how busy your life might be, you can make room for curiosity. Here are a few ways to begin:
1. Ask Questions
Even if you’re not terribly interested in the subject at hand, ask questions. When you get a grasp on the who, what, where, when, why, and how of a subject, you might be surprised to unearth some deeper aspect you didn’t even know was there.
And if not, the sheer act of asking questions allows you to make a deeper connection with the people or group with whom you’re interacting.
So avoid taking things at face value. If you never ask questions or dig deeper, everything will remain very much on the surface and lack the depth required for living in a deeper way.
2. Diversify Your Reading
If your bookshelf is populated by books that all live in the same world, or if your search history shows that you only go to websites or stories that address the same topics, it’s time to expand your horizons.
Poking around in different topics (i.e. being curious), will introduce you to the possibilities and excitement that dwell in worlds outside the one you find familiar.
Check out a website or a magazine that covers a subject that’s brand new to you. And try not to get bogged down in the idea that you need to educate yourself. This can be a trap, especially if you view learning as drudgery.
If you can go into this new topic with the idea that learning is exciting and that you won’t be tested on it, you’ll see how quickly your mind feasts on it. Meanwhile, you’ll be giving your mind the exercise it needs and craves.
3. Stay Open-Minded
Whatever you believe or think you know could be wrong. Allow this to be your mantra. Because in order to be truly curious and to benefit from it, you must be willing to learn, unlearn, and relearn.
Notice how often you use the label “boring.” Yeah, sure. There will be topics that are truly of no interest to you. And you needn’t get weighed down with those. But if you’re repeatedly writing off new ideas and subjects as boring, you’re slamming the door shut on curiosity before you even get a chance to explore.
It’s Time to Get Curious… Again
Learning how to be curious might seem a strange notion, but it’s a tremendous skill to have in your emotional toolbox.
Let our virtual or mobile onsite yoga, meditation, or life-coaching sessions help you get back on that curiosity track. We can teach you how to be more expansive and curious about all that life has to offer – and right at your place of work.
So contact us today. And get ready to see how curiosity can change your life for the better.