While pulling weeds alongside a rather inquisitive 4½ year old, I was struck by my own obliviousness to the world around me. She sat bravely near the borage as four or five bumble bees buzzed about doing their work. She asked questions about the bees and the plants, and I shared how the bees pollinated the borage and tomatoes (great companions) and the other plants, too. Then, from deep inside of me came the exclamation, “Isn’t it just amazing to think that a red, round tomato will grow from that yellow flower?!”
Something so small that happens day after day, year after year. But, when I stop to really think about it—WOW! The food we eat grows from a seed planted in the Earth, and pollinated by insects and birds. I was filled with gratitude and a pure joy to be living and experiencing. I became curious, like this child asking how and why. Then, I wondered what else might I be missing? Why had I lost the natural wonderment of life?
It’s common to find that adulthood dulls our curiosity. We become accustomed to how and why things work. Sadly, if we do come across something we’d like to know more about, there’s hardly time (or energy) in our busy schedules to investigate. Quite honestly, this feels like a gray, gloomy existence.
We need curiosity to live a bright, creative life. Curiosity reveals parts of us we’ve yet to meet. It helps us solve problems, and encourages us to create unique, beautiful things. The best part is all is not lost if you’ve been missing your curiosity. You can practice being curious. And therefore, you can live the creative, colorful life full of spirit and awe! Just like a child.
What Will Curiosity do for Me?
- Curiosity leads to creativity. It encourages us to think about things in a different way. It also inspires us to try something outside the box. This can often lead to new, undiscovered results we didn’t know were possible.
- Curiosity makes us smarter. When we are interested in something, different parts of our brain lights up leading to even greater benefits—like increased memory.
- Having a desire to find out answers to some pressing question means whatever the question is, there is some sort of passion there. It gives us a way to tune into our bodies and how we feel in order to meet an undiscovered part of ourselves.
- Curiosity is an extension of our spirit. Sometimes it’s having a curiosity that doesn’t crave an answer. When we can sit with a question without having to know the why and how, we create joy and wonder within ourselves. We learn to appreciate the mystery that makes life meaningful. This kind of curiosity will develop an underlying appreciation for all the little things going on around us as we move through the day.
How to Develop a Stronger Curiosity
Clearing our minds of clutter makes space for curious thoughts. When we don’t automatically think about things other than the task at hand (doing dishes, cutting the grass) the task becomes less mundane and more interesting. Also, clearing our minds of self-absorbed thoughts will give us confidence to try something new.
Spend Time Outside
Nature has a way of helping us see what is important. And the possibilities are endless when contemplating the processes of nature.
Spend Time with A Child
This is a prime example of observing curiosity in action. Children approach life with such spirit and excitement, primarily because they are curious about the ins and outs of everything going on around them. They do not take “just because” for an answer. They want to know the details, and when you say to them, “I don’t know” they will begin to make guesses themselves. (That’s the creativity part.)
Move Your Body
Studies have shown that aerobic exercise helps increase the size and functions of the prefrontal cortex—a vital part of the brain for creative people. Since curiosity and creativity go hand-in-hand, your endeavor to be more curious will surely benefit from the health promoting practice of regular exercise.
Listen to Your Body
Notice and keep track of the signs your body gives you. These are the passions that make you, you. It is easy to squash your passions when you start to think about all the other people in this world that may be curious about the same things you are. You may think, “Why even try? Someone else is already doing it.” But, I guarantee these passions were given to you for a reason. Following them is one of the best gifts you can give yourself.
Don’t Connect Curiosity-Driven Attempts and Experiments to Your Self-Worth
Curiosity will spark creativity. Yet, it doesn’t promise success. One thing you mustn’t do (and I really need to practice) is letting go and moving on if curiosity leads you down a dead end road. It’s happened before, and it will happen again. It is the price of living a curious, creative life. But if you can find a lesson from a failed attempt, you’ve won! It’s all about the journey.
Hopefully you can see how the childhood curiosity and awe we all once had, can help you create richer experiences as an adult. There isn’t an exact formula (though I wish there were) for how to go about become curious about life again. Little by little you can form the habits of a naturally curious, divinely creative person. Now that sounds like the life I want to live!
Need More Resources?
Check these out…
Big Magic-Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert (affiliate link)….One of my favorite books
Play, Spirit, and Character….On Being interview with Dr. Stuart Brown on the importance of play in developing character