Remember back in the good ol’ days of childhood? Everything was magic, and there was something to be discovered in every nook and cranny of your own backyard. You wanted to try it all: you probably enjoyed arts and crafts, loved experiments in science class, and possibly even took up a sport. Then, something happened. Between childhood and sometime before you turned eighteen, you stopped being curious. School dimmed your creativity, and, if you were like most people, you were forced to go to college and quickly make a decision on what you wanted to do for the rest of your life. And along with that, most of your desire to learn more about the world around us died.
Unfortunately, I found that school too killed my creativity and desire to learn more about myself and the world around me. By the time I was graduating high school, I was so mentally exhausted that I realized I had gone almost my entire high school career without picking a book up on my own. This was a stark contrast to my middle school self, who had many independent hobbies and interests outside of resume building activities, and who loved to read both fiction and nonfiction. It took almost a year post-graduation to return back to my old ways, and I credit most of that to my participation in Praxis. No matter who you are, how old you are, or what your experiences are, what I’ve learned from learning how to be curious can be applied to anyone who has a will and desire to continue learning after formal education.
1.) Consume More Types of Content
Expose yourself to new thoughts, ideas, and experiences on the daily. Read different opinions. Watch videos about topics you never knew about. Most importantly, actively consume. Apply what you learn to your life. Just watch a video on meditation? Try out meditation, and research new techniques. Recently read a book on Thai cooking? Cook one of the recipes, and add your own twist to it! Actively consuming content and applying what you learn to your life is so much more fun than learning just to learn.
2.) Pick Up a Hobby or Learn Something New
I encourage everyone to choose two things to pick up as hobbies, outside of what they do for work. One thing should be something you already enjoy doing, but don’t do enough and/or want to further your skills at, and the other should be something that you’ve never done before, but that you want to challenge yourself to do because you feel that mastering it will improve your life in one or more ways. For example, my two as of late are photography and running. Photography is something I’ve been interested in since childhood, and I am working more to develop it into something I could possibly do as a side gig one day, however, it being something I am passionate about still remains my main reason I do it. Running, on the other hand, is something that I knew would challenge me. As a kid, I hated running with a passion and gravitated towards water sports. So of course, I had to challenge myself to get past the hatred of running and make it into something I could tackle. I’ve been running for the past six months, and noticing changes in my energy levels, muscle tone, and overall health have been a side effect. The most important thing is that overcoming my hatred of running and approaching it as a challenge instead of a daunting chore has helped improve my own self confidence when it comes to tackling anything that is overwhelming at first. Seeing myself improve on every run is the greatest feeling of accomplishment and just encourages me to figure out ways to improve even more.
3.) Get Over Your Stupid Adult Excuses
Lack of time. Seeing no reason to learn about anything that doesn’t pertain to your career or livelihood. Not wanting to have anything interfere with your perception of the universe. These are just a few of the examples that I have personally observed several people using as excuses for refusing to learn more. I notice that they all share a common theme: they have to do with us not wanting to step outside our comfort zone. However, if you are to grow in your career, your relationships, or your health, you do need to take a second to get uncomfortable.
Growth is uncomfortable. Remember the growing pains you had as a kid? It hurt when you were going through it, but afterwards you were several inches taller. Then you’d get use to your new height, get bored, and wanna grow some more despite the pain you endured? That’s how life is. Growing takes time, pain and dedication, but it is never regretted. Becoming more curious and never stopped the learning process is the best way to continue growing throughout life. Learn, and apply what you learn. And oh yeah, don’t let those excuses get in the way of your curiosity.