Curiosity is a powerful force that drives us to explore and discover. It is an innate human trait that has been crucial for the survival of our early communities. In the past, curiosity prompted individuals to ponder if there was water beyond a mountain, track animals, or acquire knowledge. It is this spirit of inquiry that has led to some of the greatest discoveries in human history.
While children are often associated with curiosity, the truth is that this trait persists throughout our lifespan until cognitive decline sets in. A recent meta-analysis spanning over a million research participants across numerous studies has shown that interestedness tends to increase as we age. This means that instead of waning as we grow older, curiosity can actually grow stronger.
How to rekindle your curiosity
Unfortunately, societal influences can stifle curiosity, much like creativity. Discouraging messages like ‘you’re not curious’ or ‘you’re not creative’ can have a negative impact on our ability to explore and discover. It is important to recognize that interestedness is not just a trait that some people are born with – it is a muscle that can be exercised and strengthened.
To rekindle your curiosity, it is important to start by shedding assumptions, biases, and certainty. Challenge assumptions about yourself or others and validate them. Research has shown that our assumptions about others’ opinions of us are often exaggerated, so it is important to question them and seek out new perspectives.
How to ‘DIVE’ into the unknown
The acronym ‘DIVE’ can help you to facilitate this exercise and strengthen your curiosity muscle. The first step is to DETACH – detach yourself from your assumptions and biases. The second step is to INQUIRE – ask questions and seek out new information.
The third step is to VALUE – recognize the importance of curiosity and make it a priority in your life. The final step is to EXPLORE – take risks, try new things, and embrace the unknown.
By following these four steps, you can rekindle your curiosity and rediscover the joy of exploration and discovery. Remember, interestedness is not just for children – it is a powerful force that can enrich our lives at any age. So go ahead, take the plunge and DIVE into the unknown.
Deeper connections and a greater sense of empathy
Curiosity is an incredibly powerful tool that can help us connect with others and understand the world around us in a deeper way. By prioritizing interestedness in our interactions with others, we can learn to embrace new perspectives and ideas, admit when we are wrong, and foster deeper connections with those around us.
One of the key ways to cultivate curiosity is to set an intention before any interaction to be open and curious. This means prioritizing asking questions over providing answers and being willing to embrace the nuances of others’ perspectives. By doing so, we can begin to understand the common humanity that connects us all, fostering deeper connections and a greater sense of empathy.
Gain more social power
Another important aspect of curiosity is recognizing the importance of considering others’ emotions in our interactions. This means being aware of social power dynamics and tailoring our communication approach accordingly.
If we hold more social power in a given situation, we should prioritize listening and understanding the other person’s perspective. If we have less social power, we should feel empowered to speak up and share our own perspective. By doing so, we can build empathy and address root causes rather than just symptoms.
Curiosity uncovers deeper truths about ourselves
It’s also important to embrace interestedness during challenging times, such as heartbreak or career transitions. While it may be tempting to retreat to the shallow end of curiosity, where we collect information for trivia or distraction, true transformation occurs in deep curiosity.
This means moving beyond surface-level questions and exploring richer stories and values. By doing so, we can uncover deeper truths about ourselves and the world around us.
Ultimately, curiosity is a powerful force for connection, reshaping perspectives and influencing how we navigate the world. By fully embracing interestedness in our interactions with others and in our own personal growth, we can unlock new levels of understanding and empathy, leading to greater personal and collective growth.