5 Ways to Expand Your Curiosity & Create an Interesting Life

Ever wonder why curiosity is so important in a healthy existence? It is because it is the key. It is the key that unlocks the experiences we have while helping us explore them without getting tipped over by them. It tempers us. It allows us to grow, to expand, and to solve problems. It is the piece we often miss and often do not allow ourselves proper accommodations for, yet it is the one piece that makes it all possible. Here are steps you can take to further develop your own curiosity and make it work for you.

Are you one of those people who says “I’m not that curious. It just does not have much value”? Well, think again. You might not be curious in the same way others are curious, however I bet if you looked around your life you would find things that interest you, that make you ask questions about how and why, or that spur you to think about other things. It might just be that you have not harnessed this little mechanism yet. Or maybe you’ve tried to use it and it takes off on you. Therefore you always feel like allowing any in, is a time warp. You might be one of those people, who if you were to slow down enough to allow your mind to wander with its own curiosity you start to feel all those emotions and have those thoughts you have been working really hard to pretend do not exist. That’s a lot of energy expended to keep yourself from feeling discomfort and therefore from engaging in the part of life that gives meaning, purpose, and makes it worth living. 

Curiosity does all those things and here is how. It is the element of your being that when allowed to be present in your daily life will give you options and choices that are on your path. These glimmers of what interests you helps you say yes to the things that are most helpful to your personal growth, that bring your gifts further into the world, that allow you to do work that brings you joy, and find people you resonate with most. It is the item in your perception of the world that helps you discern which direction is your path, and which one might belong to someone else. Thus helping you set better boundaries in your life. 

For many of us curiosity feels like a luxury. It feels like something we do not have time for, and can often feel like we are “doing nothing”. If we, like many in the USA, base our worth on our productivity, this leaves us in quite a conundrum. How can we allow for curiosity to take hold if we are “not being productive” with it. All of us had it at one point, but many of us were shamed, told it was childish, we weren’t creative, or that what we were curious about, was not valuable. This squashed our spirits and we became complacent that curiosity was for those “creative” types or the “inventors” who had something to contribute, but it was not for the masses. This was misguided societal norming. It created a group of people who are bored, do not know how to follow their own inspiration, and as a result often feel unmotivated to do things that could move their life in a direction perfect for them. 

So how do you retrain your curious brain and allow yourself to put more of it to work for you? Here are some ways to help you develop your own level of curiosity and use it to create the inspiration you need to be motivated to accomplish your personal goals. 

  1. Pay attention to colors. Even if you are not an artist, there are so many colors the human eye can see and each of us see them differently. Look around you and find a simple thing to study. Then really look at the colors on it. Is it a flat color? Does it have shades? Where are the different shades? Is there shape to the way the color flows on the object? What is the color like? Have you seen it before? Where? Do you know the name of the color? If not where could you find it? If you do, how do you think it got its name? What is the undertone of the color (yellow, blue, red)? Do you know what that is? If not where could you learn? Do you like the color? Why or why not? How does the color make you feel? If you had your choice what color would you color this object and why?
  2. Look at shapes. Everything in our world has form. See if you can find the shapes of the objects around you. Are they uniform? Odd? Big? Little? How does the shape contour? What does the shape of the object tell you about it (like a smooth round rock may have had a different experience than a sharp jagged one). Does the shape fit into its surroundings? Do you like the shape? Why or why not? How does the shape make you feel?
  3. Find the thing that does not belong. Remember this game as a kid? One of these things is not like the other … look around your environment and see if you can find an object or two that does not seem to fit. Maybe it is the color, shape, placement, etc that just seems to make it stand out and not fit into its surroundings. Why do you think it is there, like it is? Do you like it where it is? What does it add or contribute to? Can you discern its function from its placement? If you were to make up a story about why it is there, what would the story be about? How would you tell it? Would you use a soft voice, a loud one, a caring story, or something mean and evil? Why would you chose those things? There could be a million ways to tell the story.
  4. People watching is one of my favorites! In this one, go somewhere, where there are people and watch them. Just make sure you are not being the creepy one leering at people. Allow yourself some time and space to just watch at first. Notice any judgments that come up with curiosity about your own story and why that judgment serves you right now. Pay attention to themes that may arise from you personal judgments of another. Notice if the judgment you have of the other is also one you use on yourself. I am a storyteller by nature, so I really enjoy getting to tell some stories about the people I watch. I wonder where they are coming from, going, who they are with, why they have that look on their face, what purpose was their clothing choice about today, what are they hoping for, what are they working to achieve, etc. These are not stories to pick apart and put people down, just stories to inspire understanding of humanity and what bodies were built for. We come in so many shapes, sizes, colors, and preferences. It is pretty amazing how diverse we all are, yet so close in genetic makeup. I find that fascinating. 
  5. Another way to build your own curiosity is looking at beautiful things. Find magazines, view points, or places that you find beautiful and then ask yourself, what is it about this particular spot that you find so beautiful? Is it the color? Form? Function? The balance of the items around you? The odd things you find in this space? The people? The smells? Tastes? Things you can touch? Get to know what you find beautiful and why. Then make sure to spend time with your kind of beauty regularly. Is there a way for you to bring this beauty into your daily routine? Maybe through a picture, music, words, things you can touch like similar fabric? Foods you can learn to make so you can experience them more often? 

There are many way to expand our curiosity to make life more magical. Today, work on finding all the places in your life you are still curious. 

3 Ways to Find Creativity At Work

Ever wonder what sets you up to have those days where you feel creative and inspired at work? Here are 3 ways to find it during your 9-5.

Ever had that feeling at work when you feel on fire with ideas and things are bouncing so fast between you and your co-workers it is electrifying? You get sweaty, your pen runs out of ink, it feels like you have burnt through the pages in your notebook? Want more of those days? You have to create the creative space to get that going.

First, you have to have space. Creativity will not find its way to you if your day is too full of busywork, other people’s ideas and stories, or mental chatter around what is wrong with you (or everyone else). There will be no space for you to have an intuitive thought. So cultivate a work space that allows for staring into space sometimes. Practice meditation or deep breathing to help you slow down your brain so you have space for a new idea. It helps to get up and move every 50 minutes to an hour for 5-10 minutes. It is natural for your brain to need a attention break and this allows you to take it while engaging the rest of the body. Gives the brain other things to focus on … often a precursor to having a good idea. Ever lost something only to find it when you focus on something else? Same concept do not try too hard, allow your brain a break and see what creative thought crosses your mind next.

Next find some inspiring things. I like architecture pictures and books. So I have these around my spaces. They allow me a smile when I look at them. They also offer an opportunity to observe and notice connections I may not have seen at first. Thus giving me something to put together or build upon. It brings me joy and excitement to see something interesting and new, even if it is not my area of expertise. Put items you like in spaces so you can see them during your work day. This way you will find inspiration in your joy of these items you love. As you find inspiration, you find motivation. The inspiration helps cultivate ideas because you are in a state of flow, the motivation helps you act on them.

Finally, stay away from things that steal your creativity. Things like social media, TV, low self regulation, and negative people can rob you of your creativity by feeding you others’ stories and low energy. As you peruse their stories you forget your own. Now before you say … but Pinterest … know that you may find inspiration in each of the above, just make sure you are not sacrificing your own creativity to look at someone else’s. In addition, if you have not eaten well, slept well, done some movement, or drunk enough water you will not be in a place to think creatively. Make sure to take care of you so you are ready for ideas to flow and you have the endurance to enjoy the brainstorming session.

Today I had a couple of fantastic gatherings with collaborators and connections that really helped get my creativity flowing and projects outlined. I got to live in that sweet space of creating and planning, allowing for inspiration and outlines. It is one of my favorite spots to hang out, and I am sure glad I was ready for that kind of idea flinging this afternoon. I hope you have as much fun at your next creative session.