Forgotten curiosity

I’ve been thinking about curiosity, and how it contributes to good mental health. I’m wondering about how we seem to lose our curiosity over the years. It seems like losing an innate and integral part of ourselves.

Born curious

Look at any 3 year old; they are hugely curious. They walk around amazed at the world, questioning and exploring everything they see. They stare and observe things deeply, but not necessarily to figure them out; they are simply being curious.

I think we start to get curiosity knocked out of us at school. We are encouraged to be curious up to a point, and then we must have an answer. We learn that we have to get things right in order to pass exams and other archaic forms of testing. We learn that knowing something is deemed as better than being curious and exploring further. We end up turning off our curiosity in order to play by the rules around us.

More assumptions, less curiosity

As life goes on we learn that having an answer and assuming we know something is perceived as intelligence. People want answers, not questions. So we look at the world with more assumptions, we think we know how it all works. We become trained to see things around us, but not what’s beyond.

Curiosity has no assumptions. It is not attached to anything, to an answer or a direction, it simply is.

Burnout, boredom and attachment

We end up getting bored, burned out, tired, trying to find all the answers to all the questions. Getting attached to all the assumptions we’ve made. Curiosity shifts away when we think we know something. It’s not about gathering information, curiosity is about looking at something in wonder.

Be more curious

It’s easy to train yourself to be curious again. Go back to thinking like a child, look at something like you are seeing it for the first time, really look, with wonder and fascination. I notice curiosity in people when they look at a newborn — so amazed at this new being in the world.

It’s magical to see other peoples curiosity. It’s magical to find your own again.

This post is part of a series of atomic essays on Twitter for #Ship30for30




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