If you’re feeling stuck, uninspired, or just not on a roll with your work, it can be helpful to take a break from what you’re working on and turn your attention to something else.
How about to your curious mind?
We’re constantly bombarded with stimuli, but our minds don’t process everything around us in the same way. Sometimes, we could be interested in the little details surrounding us, for example, the shape of a flower petal, the motion of leaves on trees in the wind or the way light shines on someone’s hair.
And then, other times, we can be focused on whatever task we are working on: writing a report, reading through new research or just trying to figure out how to solve a particular problem.
Curiosity is a way of thinking that helps us to see things in a new way. It allows us to look at the same situation in a new, more interesting way (yes, much more interesting). It’s how we examine something carefully and thoroughly, with great interest and even great intensity.
In this blog entry I want to explore one of the many benefits of curiosity: creating new possibilities through questioning assumptions.
We often find inspiration when we are faced with the unexpected or when we solve a problem in ways we didn’t think of.
I am not a scientist. I don’t know if this is true, but I have always believed that thinking about one’s work in new and unique ways can lead to improved performance in all walks of life.
I often find myself wondering what is going on inside the heads of people who are performing at a high level, or who are being creative. What does their curiosity look like?
And, yes, at the age of 53, I still find my mind wandering onto topics from the one I am supposed to be working on. In fact, this very topic came from curiosity itself 🙂
Curiosity Can be a Habit
Curiosity is like a habit: the more we do it, the easier it becomes and the more prevalent it becomes in our lives.
While working on a project, I can usually find something curious about the work with which I am surrounded. Whether it’s individual people or the larger environment in which they live and work, I can easily notice things other people might not think of.
It has become more natural for me to ask questions that lead to answers that are new and different had my mind not wandered in new directions.
Having done tons of spiritual search and self-development work, asking questions is second nature to me. Curiosity is a tool I need to find out more about myself, my surroundings and my life in general.
Here are just a few examples.
- Asking why questions about something that is going on in the world around me, or that I am doing, can lead to creative thinking. Why do people do what they do? Why am I doing what I’m doing? Why is this happening? Why did that happen?
- Asking what questions about something I am trying to understand can also be helpful. What are the likely outcomes of this? What are people doing now? What are they likely to do in the future?
- What if questions often make me think about new ways of doing things, or new ways of being. What if I tried it this way, instead of that way? What if I dated someone like this, instead of that person?
- Thinking about the future can be a useful way of focusing on my current activities. What is it that I want to achieve? How will I know if I’ve succeeded?
- Asking how questions can also help. How can I start this project in a productive, effective way?
There are many other ways of being curious. I used to think that my mind wandered a little too often, and “forced” myself to be “here and now”. But I can see that wandering is also something that happens here and now. Curiosity seems to be a natural “way of thinking” for me and I let it lead the way because I don’t know where it will lead and I am curious to know 🙂
Questions are a tool that strengthens our learning and creativity. Be curious and ask questions of your surroundings: the people you work with, the people you meet every day, things that happen in your community. Question and be curious about everything!
The Power of Curiosity
Being curious allows one to see what others don’t. It allows you to use a kind of superhuman vision.
When I’m curious, I can focus my attention on small details, and I feel as if I am “pulling it out of thin air” in some sense. Sometimes it feels like I just know things without knowing how or why. Other times I can fill in gaps and make something whole.
Imagination + curiosity = creativity.
We know that when we are curious and enthusiastic, we see the world in a fresh way, which helps us to come up with better ideas. Be curious. Be open-minded. I think you’ll be surprised at what you find.
“Some people have a life, some people have an adventure.” – Patri Hernandez
Think about what it is you want to do.