12 Steps to Becoming More Curious

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In this great article by Dr Todd Kashdan, he gives several exercises and tips to help readers improve their curiosity levels. There's also a nifty little explanation of how curiosity is beneficial to different aspects of our lives.But why? Didn't we always hear that curiosity killed the cat? And that's got to mean that curiosity's pretty bad, right, because anyone who has ever owned a cat knows that they are astonishingly good at getting themselves out of sticky situations.Proverbs kill the curiosityThe fact is, curiosity doesn't kill the cat. It never did and it never will.The saying (and its less famous ending 'satisfaction brought it back') is a way of telling people to mind their own business, stick to their own stuff, stay with what they know and don't get involved in other people's lives.That saying teaches people to avoid intimacy and fulfilment. It discourages them from exploring possibilities, discovering new things and achieving their dreams. As Alison Gopnik says in her book, The Philosophical Baby: What Children's Minds Tell Us About Truth, Love, and the Meaning of Life, every building, invention and man-made creation started off with an idea.With curiosity.Without curiosity, our world simply would not exist. The same goes for our relationships: a friendship or partnership without curiosity is not truly a friendship or partnership.How curious are we?Did you know: Studies have revealed that only 20% of the average American's time is spent doing 'meaningful' activities. These include connecting with people, talking with friends and doing something that provides enjoyment. Lets call this category A.What are we doing with the rest of our time? Not much, apparently. Sitting in traffic, waiting for the train, getting the kids to school, doing our work tasks, vegging out in front of the TV, aimlessly browsing the internet (guilty)... the list is endless. This is category B.All category B activities are non-curious tasks. They are not going to directly influence your happiness or satisfaction. True, we need to get children to school, we need to work to earn money, sometimes we only have the energy to crash in front of the TV at the end of the day.What would happen if you turned those category B moments into moments of category A curiosity? Use the time in the car to reconnect with your kids, find out more about their worlds; use the time at work to notice things about our colleagues, learn more about them; spend time reconnecting with ourselves instead of focusing our attention externally when we feel exhausted.Read the article and be curious about what you think of it - that's a great start.