3 Ways to Cultivate a Curious Mind, Part 1
Cultivating a Curious Mind
One of the important steps in helping yourself care about things you’re not naturally interested in is to approach your disliked task with a curious mind. Unfortunately, not all of us are naturally so equipped. The good news is that curiosity can be cultivated. The best news is that training your mind to be curious is FUN.
Just the act of inquiry will make your world more interesting and open your brain to creative thinking. Curiosity is a key component to finding ways to like things you don’t already care about, thus inspiring you to take on your necessary—but disliked—tasks and helping increase the enjoyment of your day.
#1 Keep an open mind
Some call it a beginner’s mind. A full glass of water can’t contain any more liquid and it’s the same with ideas. One of the life-changing insights I learned from traveling is that people in other cultures do the same things I do, but in different ways. I’d grown up thinking that my way was the best—if not the only—way. Maybe it is best, but now I know that there are a lot of other possibilities. In fact, I adapted some of those ideas to my life. More importantly, experimenting with those new ways of doing things added some fun to my life.
#2 Question everything
Developing a questioning attitude is mostly a matter of practice. One way is to pay attention to your routine activities to find avenues of inquiry rather than just unconsciously going about your life. You could pretend that you’re a space alien researching homo sapiens with you as their subject. Why do you do it like that? What are ways you could do it differently? Would the different ways give different results or have other side effects? It’s best to start with simple things like, why do you put your pants on one leg at a time? What can you do to make this fun, or at least more enjoyable? I see I can also put them on two legs at a time by lying on my back on my bed. One side effect could be that this new way is more fun and it may be faster. Another is that doing it differently, or at least considering doing it differently, opens my brain to new possibilities. Once your mind opens in one instance, it’s more ready to be open in others.
#3 Be willing to ask ‘dumb’ questions
Your space alien isn’t afraid to. It’s these so-called dumb questions, which are really questions asked from a beginner’s mindset, that open the door to new ideas and discoveries. Even if you’re inhibited from asking them aloud in your workplace, ask them to yourself as a Curiosity Development exercise.
Next week I will explore other ways to develop your curiosity.