Creativity Series part III: 5 simple ways to stay curious

27 March 2017 - Mindful Practices

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust

Being curious enhances our lives in many ways:

1. It makes us happier and more motivated.

Curiosity brings wisdom, insight, creativity and knowledge. Growth in these areas fuels a sense of fulfilment and meaning that contributes to long-term contentment. In Curious?: Discover the Missing Ingredient to a Fulfilling Life, Todd Kashdan writes, “Curious explorers are comfortable with the risks of taking on new challenges. Instead of trying desperately to explain and control our world, we embrace uncertainty, and see our lives as an enjoyable quest to discover, learn and grow.”

2. It enhances our creativity.

Curiosity allows us to gain a broad spectrum of experiences, which in turn cultivates creativity. “A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences,” Steve Jobs once said. “So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.”

3. It cultivates empathy, strengthens relationships and encourages personal growth.

Genuine interest in someone else is the basis for the formation and maintenance of successful relationships. It allows us to get to know someone with openness and without judgement. Constantly seeking to discover new things about each other can also keep a relationship fresh.

A study by Kashdan and Paul Rose, both doctoral students in clinical and social psychology at the University of Buffalo, found that highly curious individuals tend to experience greater satisfaction in the interpersonal and personal growth domains as being curious promotes exposure to novel and challenging opportunities.

Here are 5 simple ways to stay curious:

1. Seek out new experiences.

It can be as simple as talking to someone new, eating something you haven’t tried before or travelling to new places. New experiences often allow us to come across new ideas and different ways of seeing things.

2. Notice little details of your daily routine.

Paying attention to your everyday habits allows you to learn new things about yourself, such as the first thing you do when you get out of bed, the way you brush your teeth (do you start with your upper or lower set of teeth?), and the route you take to work. It allows you to appreciate the beauty of your everyday.

3. Remain open when talking to people.

Try not to judge or react when speaking with someone. See things from their perspective and let it sit. Listen to understand, not to respond. Different perspectives are always valuable.

4. Keep observing.

Kashdan suggests that a way to be curious is to gently allow our attention to be guided by the little sights, sounds and smells that come our way. Let things—new or old—unfold and resist the urge to control them.

5. Get inspired.

Take a photograph of one thing every day and find out more about it. It could be anything from a building to a plant. Read widely—don’t limit yourself to one topic or genre as looking at things from different angles is valuable.

Have you read parts one and two of our Creativity Series? In part one, we discuss the freedom of routine. In part two, we share the best advice on creativity from inspiring creatives.

What has curiosity led you to find out or achieve in your life? What other tips do you have to nurture your curiosity? Let us know at hello@mindful-company.com.

- The Mindful Company Team