How to Live a Passionately Curious Life
“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” ~ Albert Einstein
I have a friend, Chrisa, who follows wherever her interests take her. We’d all like to think we’re curious, but few of us let our curiosities take us on adventures as much as I’ve seen Chrisa do in the short time I’ve known her.
I first met Chrisa when she joined my private Facebook group, The Aha! Community, three years ago. Immediately, Chrisa and I hit it off. I was drawn to her because of her curious and daring spirit. When I first met Chrisa, she had achieved her goal of becoming a TEDx speaker. She had also completed a self-challenge to try 100 new things in 100 days. If you’ve never done that, I highly recommend it.
During her challenge, Chrisa made pottery, went skydiving and ax throwing. She wore a red nose all day, in public, to bring attention to child poverty, and donned traditional Greek garb as she walked downtown. In other words, Chrisa did things she knew would be uncomfortable. Yet, she pushed through her discomfort in the quest to breakdown self-made barriers.
What We Learn by Being Curious
Chrisa inspired me because curiosity is infectious. From November 22, 2019, to March 1, 2020, I completed my 100 New Things in 100 Days challenge. During those 100 days, I took a free-wheel pottery class, had a drybrush massage, traveled to Iceland in hopes of seeing the Northern Lights, and waded in the Blue Lagoon. I took a cold shower, and I initiated conversations with strangers. I attended a Stoic-Buddhist Meet Up, tried a Sufi chant meditation, and completed a hip hop dance class. I attended a day-long workshop on perfectionism, and I watched a Spanish novela series.
More important than all the new things I tried was what I discovered about myself. I faced my fears and insecurities and explored my strengths and inhibitions. I learned more about what excites me, and what I love and dislike. I learned that I’m more adventurous than I gave myself credit for previously. But most of all, I learned to follow my interests wherever they lead me. I learned what Chrisa probably learned, and that is the more you step into what’s uncomfortable, the less hold any of those things will have on you.
And that’s the point. Curiosity opens the door to learning. Regardless of what else you learn, your curiosity will reveal things about yourself that you may or may not have known previously. Your curiosity can take you places you’ve only dreamed about.
How to Live a More Curious Life
A few years ago, I was reading about how at the age of four or five, children are socialized away from curiosity and toward competence. We literally teach children to abandon their natural curiosities by rewarding what they know more than acknowledging and rewarding their tendency to explore what they don’t know. Then later in life, job recruiters and hiring managers regularly state that curiosity is the quality that distinguishes a top candidate from all the others. Go figure.
I started to wonder then, how we can create systems and spaces inside our workplaces, schoolhouses, and homes that invite and celebrate curiosity.
Here are seven tips to living more curiously:
- Want to be inventive? Start from a blank canvas. How often do you allow yourself to start with no preconceived notions or expectations and no pat answer in sight?
- Create your own style. Do you strive to fit in or are you comfortable being different, even standing out from the crowd?
- Be the wind beneath your own wings. Are you waiting on someone else’s validation before you take flight? How can you take off with the force of self-affirmation?
- Read voraciously. I learned long time ago, leaders are readers. My advice is to balance biographies and how-to books with a healthy dose of fiction that breaks paradigms. (Advice to self).
- Seek out and respect diversity. How similar are you and your friends? It may be comfortable to surround yourself with people who look and think like you, but that’s not how we expand and grow.
- Imagine what’s possible. When we approach situations from a what’s possible mindset rather than a what needs fixing mindset, then possibilities are abundant. Our thoughts create realities.
- Create your own messy and beautiful masterpiece. How can you be the artist of your life and paint with a broad stroke?
We need more people like my friend Chrisa and Albert Einstein. Both knew that what can be taught will never compare to what can be discovered. Chrisa has continued to follow her curiosities. She is now an award-winning filmmaker. Her documentary on wines and winemakers from Crete, Greece, has won numerous film festivals and accolades. That’s what curiosity does.
Thanks for reading and being a part of the Your Aha! Life Global Community. I hope you found this article inspiring, and that you will follow your interests wherever they lead you. Be curious.
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With love and authenticity,
Learn My Story