How Embracing Curiosity Is Making My Life Better Everyday
Lately, I’ve really been digging in with my private coaching groups about how curiosity is a currency– and for me, becoming a huge part of my value system as a teacher. When I started thinking about writing this blog post, I went down a rabbit hole researching where curiosity comes from and what parts of your brain are affected by it. It turns out that when you’re curious, you are working muscles in your brain that activate various places—specifically the hippocampus, which is known for higher learning and memory.
I thought, “how cool, when you’re curious, it actually makes your brain better.” That’s pretty amazing, but what’s even cooler is when you let curiosity make your life better.
To me, the concept of curiosity is centered around having either one of two perspectives: one that’s closed, or one that’s open and accepting. The people who feel very closed off in their curiosity tend to be closed off in their imaginations as well. That can affect your ability to imagine anything…from envisioning yourself running a mile, to being creative on a project, or being an entrepreneur and building a life you love. A closed mindset is when people say to themselves, “I’m just going to stay put, and do what I know.” Then there are others who aren’t afraid to imagine an expansive life awaiting them. They’re the ones who are curious enough to embrace the, “what if?” and tap into possibility. This open mindset isn’t about taking irresponsible risks and being brash, but it’s about being willing to explore different outcomes and possibilities for yourself—questioning the way you think you are allowed to feel and accepting whatever comes up instead. We put a governor on ourselves when we don’t think we can be curious.
I was just in Hawaii with my dear friend Neil Kamimura, one of the best knife makers in the world. He’s been teaching me how to make knives for a few years now, but this was a different kind of knife that required different skills and steps. I was curious about how it was done and about the process of making it, but I was surprised to see how much I learned about myself as I did it. I learned that while I’m very driven, I’m also very impatient. If I’m willing to complete something, I have the determination and discipline to do it…but I want it to be perfect my first try, and that’s not what learning is about. I started to become very frustrated, and frankly wanted to quit but didn’t want to tell Neil that! I had fallen into such a closed perspective of what I could do and that hindered my motivation, work ethic and self-confidence. I was able to look at my life through the lens of this particular experience, and I started to become more aware in the moments when my inner critic was preventing me from feeling freedom and experiential joy. I am working on making those adjustments now… practicing thoughts of possibility, every time I feel myself slip away from them.
What I’ve realized is that curiosity is a doorway and connection point to others, but more importantly, it’s a deeper connection point to the many layers within yourself.
We just don’t know that those layers are there yet because we often don’t know to knock on the door to see what’s behind it. My ask and call to action for you is to knock on those doors that you don’t know anything about. Try those things you’ve never done, or take something you’ve done one step further. You’ll be learning about something new, but you’ll also learn about yourself while you do it.
I encourage you to ask more questions, learn from others’ stories and resources, and go see and do new things for yourself. Make curiosity your priority, your currency, part of your value system…you’ll see why I love it so much.
Always in your corner,