Curiosity and critical thinking are essential skills in our fast-paced, innovation-heavy world because what we know today, may not be valuable to us in a week from now or in a few months or years.
If we want to remain flexible and agile, we need to explore and seek out new information, new opportunities and new mediums. In other words, we need to be more curious. Albert Einstein famously said: ‘I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.’
Curiosity might have killed the cat, but it could help you to live a much more successful and happy life. Why you wonder? Curiosity keeps your mind active, it brings more excitement into your life, you become a lot more observant and open to new ideas and it opens up a whole new world of possibilities.
While curiosity seems like an innate desire for some of us, there are actually a lot of things you can do to increase and nurture your curiosity. Here are our TOP 10 tips to cultivate curiosity.
#1 Ask Every Question
What? Why? When? Who? Where? How? These words are a curios person’s best friend. A lot of people take everything for granted, however, curious people become successful by questioning everything and at the same time creating opportunities to discover new information that you can use to challenge your status quo and expand your vision with fresh, new ideas. Questioning everything allows us to get insights and keeps our mind engaged.
#2 Listen Without Judgment
Curious people are usually considered good listeners, because they allow themselves to be receptive to what others are saying, are curious about different perspectives and points of views and do all that without judgment or preconceived notions. Really focus on what the other person is talking about and focus less on what you are going to say next. Tune into the information the other person shares with you or chooses not to tell you and you will open up a whole new world.
#3 Tap Into Content That’s Outside Your Comfort Zone
If you are looking to spark your curiosity, look into a subject matter that you don’t know anything about. Something that is completely unfamiliar to you like Egyptian pyramids or growing wine. It’s entirely up to you what sparks your interest, but step outside your comfort zone and dig into a subject that will spark your curiosity and gets you out of your routine.
#4 Embrace the Unexpected
Doing something unexpected, can trigger an array of reactions that you can learn from and that spark your curiosity. A lot of people are afraid of the unexpected and because of that miss out on amazing opportunities to explore new people, new places, new experiences and new flavors of life. Don’t shut yourself off from unexpected opportunities, instead embrace the unexpected and celebrate whatever comes out of it.
#5 Observe With Intention
The next time you are in line waiting for your coffee or waiting for a bus or in queue at the bank or airport departure lounge, spend 15 minutes to describe who, what, where and when. Write down everything you observe people do when they think no one is watching. What kind of behaviors did you observe? What kind of emotions did you discover? How does the environment change a behavior? Do you notice any patterns? Look at your observations and figure out your biggest insight, this will give you a boost to your curiosity.
#6 Keep an Open Mind
The key to being curious is to keep an open mind. Be open to new possibilities, new people, new perspectives, new opportunities to learn, unlearn and relearn. This also means that you are open to the possibility that things you believe to be true, may turn out to be wrong and you are prepared to accept this as a possibility and are open to change your mind.
#7 Don’t Label Something as Boring
If you consider something as boring, you close the door to possibility. If you are curious, you’ll never label something as boring, instead you see everything as a doorway that opens up to an exciting new world of possibilities. Even if you don’t have the time right now to explore and go deeper, you always leave the door open to go through it when the opportunity presents itself.
#8 Make Learning Fun
If you consider learning a chore, there is no way that you will ever want to dig deeper into something and find out everything there is to know about it. That would just make the chore even more of an unwanted task. But if you consider learning as something fun, you will naturally want to dig deep and explore every single aspect of your object of curiosity. So look at life as a fun adventure and enjoy the excitement of learning something new.
#9 Avoid Routine
Routine is the number one enemy of curiosity. Routine means that we do the same things day in and day out, sometimes even for years without even realizing what is happening. No wonder you can get bored. So instead of having a fixed routine that you adhere to to a T, add some variety to your life. And it doesn’t have to be major changes, it’s the simple things that can make things exciting. Find a new way to work every day, brush your teeth with the opposite hand, call your friend instead of texting, go over to your co-workers desk instead of sending an email… You get the idea, incorporate little changes into your daily life and your curiosity will get a big boost.
#10 Explore the World
Your curiosity will get a major boost by exploring the world. And while a trip to far-away, exotic places is always fun to get new experiences and meet new people, you can also explore the world simply by exploring new neighborhoods in your own city or make a trip to different places nearby. Let yourself be inspired and surprised by the curiosity to learn more about other places and the way people live there. This will open up your mind, give you a new perspective on life and spark your curiosity.
Curiosity inspires us to think creatively and solve problems. It’s like filling the information gap of what we know and what we would like to know. Curiosity sparks that feeling when we don’t know something that inspires us to set out on the journey of discovery. Curiosity is the most powerful skill you can develop. It’s amazing what you will discover by looking at things that most people don’t usually pay attention to.
EXPLORE THE WORLD AND DEVELOP A SENSE OF WONDER
Joschi & Monika