Cultivating Curiosity

Cultivating Curiosity Illustration

We’re all born with curiosity. However as we grow to be adults, sometimes we are taught to curb it. We learn to stop looking, or perhaps selectively look.

Maybe that seems like a necessary adaptation for the pace of modern life, being that our society is constantly on information-overload. But there's also something to be said for the opportunities that we have (and can create) to connect to our naturally curious roots 

Curiosity is a part of The Limbic Reward System, which involves a group of deep brain structures connected to our emotions, motivations and memory, among other behaviors. Your brain has a basic circuit that tells you to acquire things that are naturally rewarding --this circuit lights up in response to curiosity. Our brains release dopamine when the circuit is activated, which helps to enhance the connections between cells in our brains that are involved in learning.

The way that we see and experience the world is subjective. We explore ourselves through our own thought, our experiences, other people – and our adaptations to all of these elements. Curiosity is natural, it is something that we crave. To explore and be fascinated by the unknown is how we have launched ourselves through hundreds of years of development as a human race. Curiosity's a fundamental element of humanity and is naturally crucial to our development. Through actively observing, experimenting, engaging and reflecting – we learn.

At the root of all personal growth is the unfamiliar. Whether exploring a foreign space, or interrupting a regular routine in the name of seeking new perspective, there are little pieces of the world and our reactions to the world that we observe and adopt (sometimes without even realizing it). They influence us in small waves that all then contribute to our constant state of development as people.

I’m not exactly the same person that I was yesterday, nor am I going to be exactly the same tomorrow as I am today. In a similar way, we don’t notice our hair getting longer every day, despite the fact that it’s growing constantly, even as you read this. Where as someone who hasn’t seen you in a good bit of time might notice right away that it’s gotten longer.

The little shifts that occur in us as individuals don’t always feel obvious, but they are happening all the time. There's no system that develops without reflection and adjustment. Self-analysis is a big part of individual growth --Why do you think the way you do? What has informed your habits and what can you gain from investigating different perspectives from your own? Do you even want to?

Asking questions about the systems within our world is what pushes us to discover unique perspectives, and create better solutions. Learning is the way that we navigate the world and come to better understand ourselves. Questioning what we encounter and staying curious pushes us to constantly see things in new ways.

Experiencing growth and personal progression helps to nurture and maintain a positive sense of self. By seeking new opportunities and challenging ourselves, we're able to take advantage of our full potential as individuals. And according to Abe Arkoff, a psychologist and developer of the Illuminated Life Program, each person naturally has a strong impulse to grow.

Taking in new perspective and staying curious keeps us rich in positive emotion, inspiration and self-awareness. It might feel difficult to try something new at first, but once you put some elbow grease into it and pick up momentum, you’ll discover new ways to look at yourself and the world around you. And now that you’re already thinking about it, there’s no better time to get going on finding a little something that’s out of your comfort zone or daily routines to pique your curiosity, even if it’s small. Happy cultivating!