We are all naturally inquisitive, but strangely, as we get older, the “episodes of curiosity” that are typical in children and involve asking questions and closely observing things start to fade. Children are actually known to be incredibly curious and are frequently seen investigating new things around them simply because they want to know or understand more. We have a tendency to progressively lose this appetite for curious pursuits as we age, though.
Famous philosopher and psychologist William James described curiosity as “the impulse towards improved cognition.” Curiosity, according to acclaimed bestseller Curious author Ian Leslie, is a peculiar combination of “intelligence, resolve, and a hunger for novelty,” in that it pushes us to learn things we do not already know. Since curiosity is a fundamental component of cognition, it is crucial for healthy growth, learning motivation, and decision-making.
Similar to a cerebral muscle, curiosity can deteriorate if it isn’t used frequently. Because of this, we must develop the practice of regularly exercising our curiosity. Continue reading to learn eight strategies for rekindling your innate curiosity.
1. Ask questions relentlessly
The founder of analytical psychology and eminent psychiatrist Carl Jung called the capacity for questioning “the greatest instrument in discovering the truth.” In fact, there are no stupid, dumber, small, or big questions because every question can start a discussion and every response can give you or others a new perspective. You can swiftly jot down subjects that pique your interest and questions you’d like to explore further by always carrying a notebook.
2. Step out of your comfort zone
It is certainly convenient to stay in our comfort zones, particularly given that it is in our nature as humans to prefer familiarity to uncertainty. However, remaining in our comfort zone stifles originality and frequently breeds discontentment, leaving us feeling lifeless and uninspired.
In actuality, what some great artists do differently is live a more adventurous life and replace a healthy dread of the unfamiliar with a healthy curiosity. It’s true that remaining open-minded and curious can help us embrace fresh viewpoints, let go of the past, and rediscover our mission in life.
3. Nurture a wide range of interests
Ian Leslie said, “Creativity doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Successful thinkers and artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Aristotle are said to have been incredibly curious, amassing vast knowledge that they could quickly remember when necessary. Leslie adds that they were able to “mix and remix ideas and themes, creating new analogies, and spot unusual patterns” thanks to this reservoir of knowledge, which ultimately guided them towards innovative breakthroughs.
“Curiosity is like a cerebral muscle that, if not used frequently, can deteriorate. We must cultivate the practice of exercising our curiosity regularly because of this. But it’s also crucial to develop your expertise in a field that interests you. You could amass a priceless depth of knowledge if you formed informed opinions on a broad range of topics. Additionally, broadening your interests will make it easier for you to use your intuition and, as a result, help you make better choices. Additionally, it will enable you to concentrate in fields that support your objectives and sense of purpose.
4. Gain new perspectives
While it is undeniable that we tend to become more at ease with our own perspectives and viewpoints over time, learning to shift perspective and consider situations and actions from the perspective of others can be incredibly gratifying.
This is what Leslie refers to as “empathic inquiry,” where he challenges us to imagine ourselves in other people’s situations and consider the reasons behind their actions. This kind of perspective-changing can increase our levels of happiness and encourage us to remain curious.
5. Cultivate awe every day
The capacity to remain inquisitive is just one of the ways that being in awe improves your existence. According to a research by Craig L. Anderson and colleagues, people’s dispositional awe and levels of curiosity are positively correlated. According to the research, people who encounter awe more frequently are more likely to remain inquisitive and pick up new information more quickly.
Awe need not only be experienced when listening to artfully crafted music or taking a trip that was always on the bucket list; it can be incorporated into our everyday lives.
6. Look at learning as a privilege and fun
Albert Einstein once said, “It is a miracle that curiosity endures formal education.” Learning is frequently viewed as a difficult job or as something we must engage in to get better grades or a promotion. However, research indicates that maintaining curiosity makes learning more efficient and enjoyable, allowing us to be inspired to reach new benchmarks.
The amygdala region of the brain is activated more and dopamine is released more when learning is redefined as a stress-free and enjoyable exercise, which increases retention.
7. Meet other curious people often
The well-known TV producer Brian Grazer advises meeting new interesting individuals and engaging in “curiosity conversations.” Always remember that effective communication is the foundation of interesting conversations and enduring bonds. We can learn new things and develop new interests by asking various people about their views, which can rekindle our curiosity.
8. Look inward
You can better comprehend yourself and set more attainable goals for yourself by turning your curiosity inward. Spend 5–10 minutes a day practicing attentive self-reflection while keeping your feelings in check. During this time, you can watch and learn how you respond to different stimuli, fears, thoughts, attachment styles, moods, and other emotions.
“Introspection can help you better understand yourself and, as a result, help you set more attainable goals for yourself.”By remaining inquisitive about yourself, you can observe kindness and empathy for yourself, just as you would for a friend, and find self-validation. Looking inward can also help you address a problematic routine that may be keeping you from living your best life, such as resentment that needs to be released or an indecisive behavior that needs to be changed.