“I have no special talent; I am only passionately curious.”
Studies show that having an inquisitive mind has a host of positive benefits: better physical health, improved mental capabilities, and even deeper social relationships. People who are identified as “curious” tend to be happier and have a greater sense of life purpose, which is the thing we’re after right here.
Mark Twain reportedly said, “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” I love the sentiment behind it. Learning life skills, engaging your environment, and seeking out knowledge is a mind-set, not a degree program. It’s found in listening, observing, looking for new experiences, and seeing things with new eyes. . . .
Are you cultivating curiosity in your life? Consider these seven ways to foster curiosity:
- Make time for play. Find activities that you enjoy, simply for the sake of enjoyment. Besides relieving stress, play frees your mind to think creatively and inquisitively.
- Build your knowledge. The more you learn about a subject, the more engaged you become with it, and the more you’ll want to know.
- Try something new. Uncertainty about how an experience will turn out helps to heighten your senses and makes the activity memorable. Tune in to how you respond to new situations—and then consider why you respond that way.
- Become an observer. Examine the world around you by looking closely at details: colors, textures, sounds, smells, tastes. Use each of your senses to engage the experience.
- Experience ho-hum activities in a new way. Look for ways to add interest by creating games out of tasks and chores you find boring. Change your setting, switch up your method, try working backward or upside down. Be conscious of your movements and thoughts as you do them.
- Start a curiosity journal. Keep a running list of things you want to learn, books you’d like to read, places you’d like to go, and experiences you want to have. Record your progress by making observations, collecting mementos, or even drawing on the pages.
- Be interested in other people. Develop the skill of asking good questions and learning about others. Everyone has a story to share, along with wisdom, experience, and different viewpoints. Become a listener!