Cultivate Curiosity

Children are often thought of as being the most curious beings; they constantly bug their parents with questions like “how?” and “why?”. They explore, they touch everything just to know what it feels like, they create silly beautiful things, and they somehow make almost anything into a really fun game.  But why do we perceive our curiosity to decline as we get older? Is it because we lose sight of what interests us and focus on what we need in order to be successful?  Or it is because we are told to smarten up and stop being so silly? Either way, curiosity is just as important to us as adults as it was when we were children.    

In our Franklin Scholar programme we have noticed that our year 7 students are highly curious; they relentlessly ask all sorts of questions about anything that pops into their heads. They’re rarely embarrassed of their questions and we admire that, because no question is a stupid question.  Here we have taken some recommendations from Todd Kashdan’s article: The Power of Curiosity, and come up with a few of our own ideas for how we can continue to be curious as we get older. Because in this ever-changing world it’s important to never stop learning.

Play 20 questions  

Make it a goal to learn as much as you can about someone, whether that is someone new, a good friend, or your significant other.  It might surprise you how much you can learn from someone you thought you knew everything about.  

Explore your passions  

Think fishing is fun?  Take a course on fishing or join a group that goes out every weekend.  Like reading poetry?  Why not try writing some of your own, or go to a live poetry club.  Dive deeper into your interests.  

Try it again  

Have you ever tried something but you didn’t enjoy it or you thought it was too hard so you gave up? Well, try it again! Fear of failure will only hold you back; who knows if you try it again with a different approach the outcome could be different. It’s important to keep an open mind and understand that trial and error only leads us to learn more and where things can be improved.  

Speak up

Have you ever had a question burning a hole in your brain but you were too embarrassed to ask?  Well it’s time to put anxiety and embarrassment aside.  You are far more likely to learn about someone or something when you demonstrate you’re interested through speaking up and asking questions.  

Read more  

Reading is a great way to open up your mind and see things from a new perspective.  No matter what you decide to read, it will put you inside someone else’s mind and give you new perspectives, new knowledge.  There is a positive correlation between reading and curiosity: people who read more are more curious.  

Need some inspiration? Here are some things that may spark your curiosity:

Tate Modern: Resources

Empathy Library

Character Lab: Curiosity

Warning! In exercising these tips you may be uncomfortable or embarrassed and that’s okay, you can learn and grow from these experiences. Who knows, you might learn to love the feeling of the unknown or the ‘to be found out’.  

By: Emily Lawrence