One of the hard skills that we all need to develop and nurture is curiosity.
But when I asked people, "How to develop curiosity? How to get more creative?" One of the most annoying answers I received was, "Keep an open mind." I mean, seriously? How do you even do that? It is such an abstract thing to suggest.
And you would struggle to find some good, solid, and actionable recommendations. So, today I will give you five tips to follow regularly and foster your curiosity and get more creative.
But first things first. Did curiosity really kill the cat?
Of course not! It's a wrong expression. Totally incorrect, misunderstood, overused. But try and find more information and dig deeper. You will find that the proverb, "Curiosity killed the cat," actually originated as something totally different. It was "Care killed the cat." And by "care," it meant "worry."
In 1898, it was defined in Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable as, "Care killed the cat. It is said that a cat has nine lives, yet care would wear them all out." Well, it makes sense. Because if you worry too much, even nine lives would be insufficient. But seriously, why is curiosity so important?
Well, one of the benefits of being curious is that you will end up making fewer errors. And rightly so, because when we are curious, it is easier to avoid confirmation bias. With a curious mind, we tend to look at more alternatives, and the chances of stereotyping someone are quite low.
But you will also notice that we don't get defensive when we stay curious. And that is because instead of making any assumptions, we ask more questions. Which in turn makes us more empathetic.
When we are curious, we listen better. And as you would have guessed, that makes us a better communicator.
So, the point is - when we are curious, we are in a favorable position to communicate, to learn, and to understand better. And that helps us to be more creative and more innovative.
When we are curious, we are favorable to communicate, learn, and understand better.
Now the big question - how can you foster curiosity? And for that, I have got five tips for you.
Tip # 1
Explore, observe, and listen. I cannot tell how many times people cruise through their daily lives without paying attention to their surroundings. Of course, I am not suggesting you poke every single thing around you. But staying observant, listening to the sound and noise around you keeps you sharper. It also feeds several seemingly trivial observations into your subconscious, which later come in handy when required.
They say that instead of looking at things like puzzles, look at them as mysteries. Because puzzles have definitive answers. Once you find the missing information, it's done. But mysteries are more nuanced. They pose questions that cannot be answered definitively. The answers are complex, interrelated, and can involve both known and unknown factors.
The point is - if you look at things like puzzles, you will be too focused on the goals. But if you look at things like mysteries, you will be able to see the possibilities. And that makes you more creative, more innovative.
Look at things like mysteries and explore possibilities. Explore, observe, and listen.
Tip # 2
Diversify your interests. People often say that children are the most creative people. But as a matter of fact, they are more curious. They are best at exploring, observing, and listening to the world around them.
But creativity doesn't grow in a void. If you were to get better at it, you need a significant amount of knowledge. And not just from one field of expertise, but it has to span across multiple fields. With that kind of knowledge, you can mix and remix your thoughts, ideas, and themes. Pattern finding becomes easier. You can find creative connections.
When you diversify your interests, you get new experiences. These new experiences can help in activating your mind in many ways other things cannot. How to develop curiosity? Activate your mind with diversified interests.
Diversify your interests to activate your mind.
Tip # 3
Teach others. When you gather new knowledge, information, or skill, practice deliberately. But don't just stop at that. Teach that to others. It is a much better option than scrolling endlessly on social media or binging on Netflix.
The next time you're feeling bored, talk to someone. Think about your skills or facts that you know. Offer to teach them. Teaching, as they say, is one of the best ways to learn new things. Plus, it can be a highly rewarding activity.
Teach others. It is one of the best ways to learn new things.
Tip # 4
This one is unconventional. I suggest, and I strongly suggest, you get into a habit of mingling with non-likeminded people. People often identify their group as a group of like-minded people. While it has its own time and place, it can be detrimental to fostering curiosity and creativity.
Learn to appreciate the diversity of opinions, ideas, points of view, skills, and knowledge. Because when you try to understand an issue from both sides or multiple sides, it will make you a better critical thinker. And it will also bolster your curiosity.
This practice will help you see the world with more empathy. It will also help you make a better case for your own beliefs. And that is because you will understand various arguments and counter-arguments much better than you would otherwise.
Get into a habit of mingling with non-likeminded people.
Tip # 5
Well, this one is not only unconventional; it is against the common rhetoric. And it is this. If you want to stay curious and become more creative, start learning the facts for yourself. Stop relying on Google or the internet.
Here is a fair warning. People who stop learning facts just because they can Google it later are essentially enrolling themselves in a Bachelor of Stupidity course. It blocks your desire to learn new things. If you stop committing information to your memory, you are essentially damaging your neuroplasticity. When we learn new things, our brain goes through many long-lasting functional changes. It is what we call neuroplasticity.
Over-reliance on the internet and the thinking that "I can always Google it" means you are not learning. You are not curious.
Don't outsource your memory to Google. Instead, learn facts and help your subconscious to join the dots and exhibit creativity.
If you want to stay curious and become more creative, start learning the facts for yourself. Stop relying on Google or the internet.
Well, I sincerely hope these tips will help you become more curious, more creative. So let me know what you think about these tips. And don't forget to tell me what you found after following them. It will be interesting to hear about your experiences.
Now, when you follow some of these tips, foster your curiosity and get more creative, we have a new question. And that question is, what will you do with this creativity? So when you learn new things, get answers, what do you do with them?
Of course, doing anything, taking a step further, requires more than just curiosity.
It takes courage to take action.
So, what stops us from taking action? We'll talk about that in another article.
Until then, stay curious!