Curiosity. It’s my jam. I love learning, researching, asking why, trying, testing, building, failing, making, moving and growing. Chances are if you’re reading this article, you, too, are a curious person. YAY. Like minds.
True to form, I got to thinking about curiosity as a trait. Is it good, or bad? Is it helpful in a person’s life? Their work? Can it make you a happier person? So, down that rabbit hole I went. And what I found was pretty amazing.
Curiosity keeps your mind active + opens up new thinking.
A curious learner employs a growth mindset—always seeking to learn new information, better solutions and open to input. They embrace change and uncertainty—looking for the lesson vs. being derailed into negativity. Great for work, art, pretty much life in general, no? For me, I’m most curious when I’m learning a new skill. On my list to learn this year: letterpress, pigment mixing, and Photoshop.
Curiosity builds empathy as you seek to learn about other people, cultures, and viewpoints.
It strengthens all of your relationships, from the most intimate to casual everyday conversations. Why? Curious people are better listeners, plain and simple. They connect and ask questions to learn and build; what a valuable and needed skill in today’s world. As an introvert, small talk is not my gift. But when I seek to connect in the name of learning, I gather the most interesting stories, meet the most amazing friends, and end up on the best of journeys.
It literally changes the wiring of your brain.
For every new skill you learn, your brain is growing in size. New thoughts build new neural pathways, which increase the size and workings of your brain. Beneficial, especially as we age and experience new situations + stressors daily.
Curiosity is contagious and creates its own energy.
Have you been around someone so high on life that you want some of what she’s having? Finding people in touch with their passion + their purpose is awe-inspiring. Openness, infectious enthusiasm, and great conversation are always sure to follow these types of people…and in turn, you.
It makes you happier.
Being curious, by nature, gives you a greater sense of hope and life purpose. It reduces stress and anxiety and makes you more nimble and flexible in dealing with daily challenges.
Looking to add a bit more curiosity to your routine? Below, my favorite 20 ways to build it into your life:
- Break from routine. Take a meeting outside, visit a new-to-you coffee shop, sleep on the opposite side of the bed. Seeing life from a different perspective will open you to new possibilities + connections.
- Keep an IDEAS list. Note anything you want to learn, try, do, read, people, to meet, questions to ask.
- Unplug. Turn your phone off and just be still with your thoughts. In an always-on world, it can be hard to truly unplug, but the thoughts that come from just a few quiet moments are WORTH IT.
- Go to a museum / movie / music show. Take note or photograph what inspires and excites you.
- Read more. Social media doesn’t count.
- Sit outside at a cafe and people watch. Develop their story in your head.
- Better yet, talk to them. Ask questions. Learn their real story!
- Take a class. Online or IRL. No matter. Just find something that scratches our itch and gets us learning.
- Travel. Near or far, just the act of removing yourself from your daily routine and comfort zone will inspire curiosity and new connections.
- Shop small and eat local. This connects you to the amazing people in your community to learn from and build relationships.
- Pick a topic or a person you want to know more about. Find every interview, article, and podcast on your subject and go nuts.
- Ask questions like a 3-year-old. WHY? WHY? WHYYYYYYY??
- Become a photographer. The act of finding and composing interesting things to shoot will inspire you to explore life from a different lens.
- Be a really, really great listener.
- Think like a student, not an expert.
- Mix it up. Usually, listen to hip-hop? Try jazz. Only get your news from Twitter? Try an actual newspaper. Varying your inputs and sources will widen your viewpoint and expose you to new thinking.
- Embrace uncertainty and leave open space in your calendar.
- Join a group on a subject you want to learn more about.
- Write your Ted Talk.
- Smile. Be open. And curiosity will come knocking.
Here’s to curiosity. May we live it. Love it. Find more of it. Daily.
Images via 1 / 2
Jill Elliott is a creative consultant, strategist, and thinker constantly seeking inspiration and balance. As a writer, artist, and founder of The Color Kind she seeks to inspire others to live creatively every day. She can often be found making art and messes alongside her 7-year-old daughter and Goldendoodle puppy.