I have always been naturally curious. Anytime an idea, concept or place was introduced to me, I wanted to fully understand and “know” everything until my inquisitiveness was satisfied.
Now you maybe sitting there and thinking, “But I am shy. I am introvert. I don’t like attention.” But the truth be told, you are reading these words by choice and are curious how your professional and personal life could benefit by bring attention to increasing your curiosity.
Curiosity is defined as a “desire to know”. It’s an emotion and mental state like an itch. Curiosity is the personality trait that drives us forward in life to learn more about our interests. Curiosity is the “Why” in “Why” and is like a muscle. It can be trained to become stronger over time. As you exercise, the muscle becomes stronger and easier to use. A curious mindset is engaged and wants to learn more!
Although some individuals are born naturally curious, developing and nurturing this state of mind is a self-aware and conscious process. If nurtured, this natural state can grow! Nurturing curiosity in adults occurs with similar techniques as with children. Techniques include: providing a safe space to ask questions, encouraging children to ask questions, supporting inquiries with interest and enthusiasm and responding in a similarly, and providing a space to explore ideas in your life.
Curiosity is important because it is the basis of our mindset. Curiosity drives engagement in education, new experiences, relationships, and innovation. Most importantly, curiosity supports creativity in our decisions, collaborations, and conversations. Curiosity in one’s personality increases your empathy and ultimate happiness.
Curiosity is at the heart of a healthy life, successful relationships, and professional success. Curiosity allows us to be interested in people around us and open to new experiences. As a person learns to live in a state of “what if” and “why”, their ability to be open, connected, present, and resilient with their actions strengthens. Ultimately, these skills can set up an individual for long-term success professionally and personally.
Often our curiosity is discouraged. Many people find curiosity to be a distraction or uncomfortable. Questioning the familiar or challenging the unknown pushes boundaries and increases uncertainty.
Discouragement can come from your parents, colleagues, or friends when a negative memory or experience is tied to curiosity. The severity of the experience relative to one’s emotional maturity attaches unpleasant feelings to the process. Repeated discouraging experiences can lead to anger, withdrawal, or altogether disinterest. When examine over the course of a lifetime, the cost of discouraging your curiosity is greater than the over stimulation of your curiosity.
The process of being curious can open doors to places that you could not imagine from the start. These experiences or answers can be inconvenient and uncomfortable to the current moment as the receiver may not be ready to accept the truth. On the other hand, repeated instances of curiosity leading toward success or ideal paths may lead to increased self confidence. Success begets success and increases confidence to live in the unknown and manage surprises. The ability to manage surprises and pivot as needed increases resilience.
Have you examined children in a state of play? What do you notice about their movements? Interactions with the subject of focus? Interactions with the people around them? They are active and in motion –poking, prodding, and examining their subject from all angles!
As you expand your interaction with curiosity, your life becomes more interesting. With a curious mindset, you cannot get bored, and you can strengthen social and professional relationships. You can also become more persistent, resilient, and brave!
Living in a curious mindset revolves in questioning the world around us. Over time, with age and experience, as life becomes more familiar, curiosity wanes. People stop learning and growing. The irony in this trend is that life challenges become greater over time and can benefit from a curious mindset. As we age, experiences such as job loss, illness, death, heartbreak, and relocation increase in probability and frequencies. These challenging life experiences can benefit from maintaining a curious mindset to thrive on your life’s journey.
Staying curious requires an individual to nurture the trait outside of typical social situations from school to work. Nurturing curiosity requires stepping outside of your comfort zone and the familiar. At its heart curiosity exists in a state of play. Interacting with other curious people naturally grows an individual’s inherent curiosity I hope that by taking time to explore your curiosity that your mindset be more open and fearless!
Download our Curiosity Journal for Kids!