How to Get Curious When You’re Not
One of your qualities is a sense of curiosity. I know that because curiosity is hard-wired into your brain. You fall somewhere on the curiosity continuum from minimally curious to intensely curious. If you are already a very curious person, you don’t need the information in this post. But if you’re only curious about a fairly narrow range of topics, and you know there are big benefits to expanding that range, there are some easy ways for you to get curious when you’re not.
Why Bother? The Benefits of Curiosity
Todd Kashdan is the pre-eminent researcher in the field of curiosity and the author of Curious? Discover the Missing Ingredient to a Fulfilling Life. He says that there is a simple and straightforward storyline explaining why curiosity is so important to a fulfilling life. It goes like this:
- When you’re curious, you explore.
- Exploration leads to discovery.
- Repetition of exploration and discovery leads to competence and mastery.
- When you experience competence and mastery, your knowledge and skills grow.
- That makes you stretch and expand who you are and changes your sense of what your life is about.
- Which makes you more intelligent and infuses your life with meaning that wouldn’t have been there if you hadn’t been curious.
When Should You Deliberately Try to Get Curious?
There are three kinds of activities where it’s beneficial to get curious when you’re not.
Curiosity is different than other ways of being fulfilled in that it’s about appreciating and seeking out the new.Todd Kashdan
- activities you really enjoy and want to keep doing. Curiosity feeds energy so it’s easier to keep going.
- tasks you have to do that you don’t want to do like housework or making difficult phone calls. Curiosity makes these tasks more meaningful.
- activities that have the potential to enrich your life. Curiosity will show you that potential so you will want to participate in the activity.
How Do You Get Curious When You’re Not?
- Be in a good mood. When your mood is positive, your brain is more easily convinced that what you’re doing is fun and interesting.
- Spend time with very curious people. They are usually good and supportive guides because they understand your uncertainty.
- Clarify your values. When an activity is consistent with a value, you’ll tend to consider it important and more interesting.
- If you want to get curious about an unappealing activity, do the activity but with a focus on identifying three novel or unique things about it. There’s research to show that this increases the likelihood that you will participate in the activity again.
- Process your experience through writing or by talking with someone about what you have discovered. This works because it makes the event more prominent in your memory, and prominent events are remembered as more interesting. A caution though – If talking with someone, make sure it’s someone who is interested. Otherwise it’s likely that your curiosity will take a nosedive.
Favourite Curiosity Quotes
“The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.” Dorothy Parker
“Curiosity is…insubordination in its purest form.” Vladimir Nabokov
“Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will.” James Stephens
“The important thing is not to stop questioning; curiosity has its own reason for existing.” Albert Einstein
“Sell your cleverness and purchase bewilderment.” Rumi
Has there been a time when you’ve found a way to get curious when you’re not? Has curiosity ever increased your interest in an activity?