One of the reasons I’m passionate about my job is that I get to learn a bit about a lot of things. As a writer I have a built-in excuse to talk to just about anybody and ask just about anything. Even those questions my mother would say are impolite. And, that means I visit with many Bigwig researchers and decision makers and I get to learn what they are learning.
I love that part of my job. It’s always been that way. I’ve always been curious. But, recently, while working on an article about curiosity, I began to apply that quality a bit differently. Thanks to Bigwig curiosity expert and author Todd Kashdan, I began to get curious about the things I thought I already knew.
I begin to watch for the differences in the familiar. The way my husband eats: his favorite foods first, saving the fruits and vegetables or anything green til last. I began looking for new aspects of the children’s books I’ve read to Sweet P roughly a billion times. And I saw details in the drawings I’d missed or a subtle joke I’d passed over before. I began to see the familiar in a new way and in doing that I started connecting to my life differently.
The little things – the things that are easy to take for granted – began lighting up for me. They became a source of meaning. The things I thought I knew about began to matter again as I became more mindful of the nuances that really are my life. And it became fun, like a game, to find differences in the same ol’ stuff.
Becoming curious in this way has made what I thought was so old and mundane, interesting again. I’ve learned more. And seeing my world differently has prompted new questions about new things, which has made me curious about a lot of other stuff . It’s fun and expansive and interesting to follow where the next question will lead.
You can do this too. Curiosity is about living with awareness, paying attention, seeking answers and asking questions. It’s about trying new things and looking at the old with a new perspective. It’s a habit that can be honed.
Try it: take a good look at what you think you know, and find something different about it. Notice something different en route to your kids’ school, or they way your partner leans against the counter or the way you get dressed (socks first?).
Seek out the novel, observe openly, and notice what you notice. Your curiosity will grow, but something else will happen too, you’ll start to have more fun, you’ll laugh a little more, and there’s even the chance you’ll feel happier.
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