Become More Curious

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I don’t accept much at face value these days. It isn’t that I am a “doubting Thomas” of sorts, I am just, by nature curious. I am a natural born researcher and have learned that a healthy sense of curiosity is a great resource for life.

When I was a kid, my parents – like probably most of their generation – invested in a massive set of Encyclopedias for our family. The gilt-edged pages of that 20-volume set were well-worn by the time four kids left the roost. I loved curling up in a chair in the Living Room and grabbing a book and just randomly opening it to a page and start reading. It was an interesting way to explore the world and discover new knowledge.

It is so much easier today. With all of the technology at our disposal, we don’t have to wait to grab a massive text to read and research. We can just Google it and the answer (and ten twists on the theme) are instantly available. The knowledge is there…we just have to be curious enough to ask.

My curiosity drives my family mad, as I am typically the one who can turn a simple drive into an expedition of unknown destination with one curious question to my iPhone. I see a bridge dedicated to some unknown person and I want to know who they were and why they were worthy of such a tribute. A few quick keystrokes later, we are off the Interstate and meandering down some country road, detouring to the quaint country town of the honoree to checkout some tidbit I’ve uncovered. My curiosity has unearthed amazing antiques finds, picturesque drives, interesting views of architecture, middle America and, yes, some big duds. But it always creates some conversation and memories.

Curiosity is a willing, proud, and eager admission of ignorance.” –S. Leonard Rubenstein

When you think about how to advance your life and your goals in the year ahead, make sure you have include a healthy dose of curiosity into your plan! There is no way to learn, grow and expand your potential than to question and seek knowledge.

Why be curious? Curiosity doesn’t really kill the cat as the old saying goes. More often than not, it opens up a whole new world for the kitty to explore and discover. Curiosity has all sorts of benefits:

Curiosity helps us see the big picture.. At work or at home, being curious enables us to look at the world in a macro sense and start to see the patterns and trends that are occurring that our “heads down” perspectives miss. By looking bigger, questioning and probing deeper, we will start to get behind the veneer of what we think we know and into the essence of reality.

Curiosity stimulates an active mind. When your mind is actively thinking, challenging, on the constant move looking for new ways and ideas, it becomes an explosive factory of creativity, fueling creativity and imagination. The more your tone and exercise your mental muscle, the stronger it becomes. Passive minds don’t produce great ideas and energy; active curious minds do!

Curiosity opens doors you cannot even see! People with curious minds see potential and opportunity not visible to others. They are the ones who can look beneath the surface of normal, everyday life and turn the mundane into extraordinary opportunity. They never stop asking the “what if’s” and “I wonder why’s” of discovery.

Even if you are not, by nature, a curious person, you can train yourself to develop the skills of curiosity. It is really quite easy:
1. Read more, including genres and magazines outside of your normal comfort zone
2. Ask questions! There’s a reason why a developing toddler pepper’s us with the endless “why’s”!
3. Don’t dismiss something immediately as boring. Be willing to view it as an opportunity to learn something new…curious people do!
4. Be open minded. Different opinions, different foods, different music… they all represent the doorways to new learning and experiences.
5. Develop a passion for learning. The more you love to learn and love knowledge, the more your curiosity muscles will strengthen and develop!

Author Elizabeth Gilbert, who wrote the book Eat, Love, Pray, ran into a serious case of writer’s block when she went to work on her next book. A good friend gave her some sage advice,

…don’t worry about your passion for a while. Just follow your curiosity instead.”

Sometimes when we are at a crossroads in life and we need to find a new direction, we need to know it is ok to lighten up on ourselves. If you are weighing the challenges of new goals and directions in 2013, maybe it’s time for you to give yourself a little break a follow your curiosity for a while. The fuel and spark you are looking for might be waiting just below the surface for you to discover!

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