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Cultivating Curiosity

Posted on Dec 24, 2017 by David Chesworth








“Curiosity killed the cat” is a cliché that rolls off the tongue. While in some cases, curiosity can be harmful. For instance, risk-seeking curiosity, like jumping out of a plane without a parachute, can be life-threatening. But all types of curiosity are not harmful! In fact, some types of curiosity can be healing. For example, the type of curiosity that wonders what it’s like to bond with its human companion. That type of curiosity will, more often than not, lead to a beautiful life-enhancing relationship. It’s probably fair to say that those of you reading this are not afraid to be curious at times. But at the same time, we have all been in situations where we may have chosen not to be curious out of fear of feeling judged, sounding “stupid”, or being rejected. During those situations, in our attempt to hide from a potential judgment, we forgo a learning opportunity or an opportunity for connection. Also, instead of risking the judgment of others, that may not even exist, to begin with, we now strengthen a current judgment manifesting within ourselves, about ourselves.

 

Curiosity is a powerful tool. It is also a potent tool to enhance overall self-care and help ward off negative thoughts. Understanding something and experiencing something are two different skills. Upon finishing this read, I challenge you to tap into your curiosity skillset by experiencing these ideas. Lastly, curiosity doesn’t have to have an answer to help. Simply being curious can alter your behavior in a more productive way when approaching a situation.

 

 

Why Be Curious?

 

When there is a large amount of self-judgment going on, it can be paralyzing. Fear and negative self-talk is often the greatest obstacle for self-improvement; no matter what the venture is. Health, wealth, happiness, you name it, paralyzing fear and self-criticism can be the greatest hurdles. We’ve all heard it before, you can’t change the world, but you can change yourself, which may ultimately change how you perceive the world. So how do you make a change? It starts by asking questions. All of the greatest discoveries and scientific advances made in our civilization have always started by asking questions. Curiosity is the soil in which change can flourish on. When curiosity dies, so does change.

 

When should I be Curious?

 

  1. When I feel:
    • Happy
    • Sad
    • Mad
    • Annoyed
    • Bored
    • Hungry
    • Full

     

    Ask yourself, why do I feel this way? There is no easier way to get to know yourself than by asking yourself questions when you feel certain emotions or sensations in the body. For instance, instead of spending energy on judging yourself for overeating, use that energy to ask: what was the chain of events that led to this? Why did this happen?

     

  2. When I Succeed: Ask yourself, how and why did this work? If you felt that you were lucky… why was I lucky? What events led to me being lucky? What events led to me succeeding?
  3.  

  4. When I fail: Ask yourself:  What didn’t work? What did work? What was it about this situation that set me up to miss the mark? How can I set myself up differently next time? Failures can be transformed into growing “self” experience when approached with curiosity.

 

Remember back to a time when all you could be was curious. This was a time when you learned to crawl, squat, kneel, roll, walk, and you even learned to talk. You learned to communicate with others by making organized noises! And this was all, in the grand scheme of things, a short time period of time. Think back to a time you were passionate about a subject. How many questions were you excited to find answers to? These are the times when growth and learning happen the most. Even if an exact answer is not found, bringing curiosity to the situation can provide an effective approach that leads to growth and positive change.


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