Your curiosity is like a GPS. It connects you with your interests and helps you follow your passions.
I was reminded of that this morning, when I went for a walk after a rain shower. Looking at the puddles and smelling the fresh air, I remembered how as a child I used to go out exploring after it rained.
I’d wade into puddles looking for turtles and tadpoles. I’d pick up and inspect frogs and lizards. I was curious about everything.
I wonder what happened to that part of me, that fearless explorer who was constantly asking “why?”
Something seems to happen to curiosity as we get older. It becomes an unused muscle – we’re no longer sure what interests us. We have no clue where our passions are. I don’t know… maybe a lifetime of rules and responsibilities has a way of shutting off curiosity. Or maybe we just think we’ve seen it all.
How to reconnect with your curiosity
Finding your passion involves reconnecting with your childlike sense of wonder and letting your curiosity take the lead. It means taking a moment to stop what you’re doing and pay attention to whatever is catching your attention.
To regain your curiosity and get back in touch with what interests you:
Be interested in other people. Ask questions about their lives and their work. Then take the time to really listen to their responses. Observe their mannerisms; listen for the emotion in their voices. As you start asking “why?” again, follow your curiosity where it leads – look for answers and let your search take you where it will.
Create new adventures on a regular basis. At least once a week, step out of your routine and visit someplace new. You don’t have to go far – explore a different neighborhood, order an exotic dish in that small cafe around the corner, venture into a shop off the beaten path. And while you’re at it, talk to the people you meet in those places. Find out their stories.
Let your “inner child” show you how to have fun again. Make a date with yourself to go to a park or the zoo. Ride a bike, fly a kite, take out your crayons and a coloring book. Write silly (or not so silly) poems.
Use your senses. Get out in nature and smell the air, the soil, and the flowers. Collect rocks and leaves. Listen to the birds and the wind in the trees. Lie down on the grass and look for cloud-shapes. Oh, and don’t forget to take your camera.
Have you always wanted to play the piano? Or be a woodcarver? Take some lessons. Start practicing. Challenging yourself to learn something new keeps you mentally active and strengthens your curiosity muscles (which may also protect you from Alzheimer’s).
As you start following your curiosity GPS, you’ll become more aware of what interests and excites you. These are valuable clues you’ll need as you discover and ultimately create your authentic career.
How will you use your curiosity?