As the world transforms at an unprecedented pace, those who dare to question, explore, and wonder are poised to thrive. Curiosity fuels innovation, drives personal growth, and fosters a deeper understanding of the complex tapestry of our interconnected world. In this age of limitless information, cultivating curiosity isn't just a virtue—it's an essential skill that empowers us to adapt, learn, and make sense of the dynamic landscape we find ourselves in.
Importantly, once you stop being curious, your creativity stops. There are tons of things to be curious about in life, but as adults’ curiosity takes a backburner. That is not the right approach to life. Learning to practice curiosity and remain curious has never been more important.
How do you foster and build creativity? Read on as we explore some ways to become the curious cat you were designed to be!
Become a Curious Cat
Curiosity didn’t kill the cat; curiosity made it an amazing feline. When the cat combines curiosity with great information, it becomes a super cat. So, if you build curiosity, it will not kill you (which is stating the obvious!), but it will enable you to make your life a whole lot more interesting.
One of the best ways to remain curious is just to open your eyes to the world around you. Look at things. Peek around corners. Read and research. Learn and never stop learning. Anything you need help understanding is just a click away. If you want to improve your learning motivation, decision-making as well as healthy development, curiosity is the way forward.
Deal With Your Creative Ogre
Acknowledge the monster that tells you that you are not creative, and laugh at it. Vincent Van Gog said, “If you see a voice within you saying you cannot paint, by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.” So start creating and making again! All kids create, but as adults, it’s ever so easy not to. As we age, we can also become less and less curious, but why? It is because our brain always saves the easiest way forward, so you do not have to spend mental energy learning new things. Whilst that’s a time saver, it’s also a curiosity killer.
If you are curious and want to know the "why," it’s the start of becoming more creative. Because when you are curious, you learn new things, and then you use the things you learn to become creative. So, it is time you start to wonder how to build curiosity if you want to be open to all the great possibilities there are in life.
Remember, Innovation Starts with a Problem, Not an Idea
If you learn how to become curious, you will find problems to solve everywhere, even in simple things. Why is there no solution to this problem? How come no one thought about building this device? That’s what great innovators do – they are curious about the world, see problems that need solving, and then go and solve those problems, both big and small.
It’s easy to have an idea, but you want to be an idea, product, or service looking for a problem to solve! Look for the problems first, then design the solutions. Use the five whys to make sure you are solving the right problem. Be hungry for information.
Great Things In = Great Things Out
Take in as much variety as possible. When you see something, ask questions. Ask anything that comes to your mind. If you ask, you will start to get answers. And when you get answers, you get more information and more stimulation for your brain. If you go to a park and sit and observe people, that alone can nurture your mind to wonder and be curious about your surroundings.
Spend your time wisely. For most people, scrolling through your phone all day will not stimulate your curiosity. It will just numb your brain. People often wonder, "how to develop curiosity in adults?" but how can you develop curiosity if you do not want to put down your phone and be open to the world around you?
See the World Through Traveler's Eyes
The best advice you will hear on how to keep curiosity is this. When you travel to a new city, everything is a wonder: the roads, people, transport, cobblestone patterns on the street, and food. Keep that curiosity even in your daily life. Imagine what is possible when you see the world around you through tourists’ eyes. All of a sudden, opportunities are everywhere.
Go to a supermarket and see the variety available instead of going there just to run some errands. Then, notice the changes around you and wonder when they happened. See the meaning behind everything. Why is the bench located there? Why is the sky so clear today? Let your mind wander.
Experiment Quickly and Often
As you become more curious and do your daily curiosity activities for adults, you will learn that not everything has an answer. As an innovator, it is your job to answer unknown questions or explore problems that need solving.
And how do you know if your ideas are great ideas? Do micro experiments; you must experiment again and again. We have all heard the saying #failfast, but I love to rephrase that as #experiment quickly. You learn something new each time you fail (or experiment), so the next experiment is built on your improving the feedback from your first experiment; the failures bring you one step closer to the answer. So do not stop and keep developing curiosity.
Use Collaborative Feedback with Your Team
Embrace diversity and difference by not killing thoughts that are different to your own and collaboratively building on ideas.
When giving feedback, use the terms:
- Here’s what I like
- Here’s what I wish it had
This ensures that ideas are built upon through co-collaboration and everyone feels comfortable in sharing ideas.
Make sure to tell your team what you like about their answers and what they should improve upon. Be kind and positive; that keeps the mind curious and active. When people are allowed to grow, they ask more questions.
Take Your Blinkers Off, Engage Your Senses, and Look at the World from a Different Angle
Change your routine and embrace variety and new experiences. You will not find answers if you sit in your house and look at the world through your window. You need to go out and explore to engage your curiosity. Do you want to learn how to become more curious? Then you need to leave the comfort of your house.
Do not look at the world through your mobile, but go out into the world to learn yourself. Look at the world through the eyes of everyone you meet.
Check-In with Mind, Body, and Spirit
Not feeling good enough? Jump, move, and shake for a quick fix! If you are constantly in survival mode, your mind does not have the time to be curious.
Eat good food, sleep enough, stress less (breathe deeply and chill), and, importantly, exercise; if you take care of yourself, you will be in a much better place to be curious about the world around you.
Not feeling good enough? Move and shake for a quick fix! Take care of your mind and body, and your spirit will follow along.
Seek Information From People Not Related to Your Problem
It’s very easy to look at the world through your own lens or your own worldview.
Shift that up! Explore places that no one has. Go to places that have people different from you. Connect with new industries and people who have a completely different role and background to you. Learn about their ideas and the way they look at the world. This way, you can get fresh thinking to build on your own ideas.
You can explore my creativity and problem-solving workshops here.
Start Your Bucket List Early
Most people’s bucket lists involve being highly curious, stepping out of their comfort zone, doing something creative, and often exploring new parts of the world.
When we step out of our comfort zones, great things happen.
Why wait until you retire? Start doing those creative and curious things now!
Be a Great Listener and a Great Observer
Curious people notice things that other people miss. If you are curious, you should have the skill of listening and observing.
Be a great observer of people and places. No matter where you go, keep your eyes open and ears engaged. Ask questions and find solutions.
Spend Time Out of Your Comfort Zone
“Out on edge, you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center.” Kurt Vonnegut. You need to follow the same route to remain curious. Be open to doing things that stretch you, and be ok with doing things that you know you will be crap at the first time.
Curiosity is at the heart of problem-solving, innovation, and, I would also say, living an interesting life. Be open to doing something outside of your comfort zone and be open to trying something that scares you just a little bit. Stay curious and stay hungry for information. It’s free, and it’s fun. So, what are you curious about in life?
Want to download the Curoiusity Infograph to share?
Simon Banks is a creativity, innovation, and design specialist; international keynote speaker; author; podcaster and recovering professional artist. He’s delivered over 1400+ events on four continents for industry-leading companies including Google, EY, Geoscience Australia and Volkswagen.
Simon’s geek out spot is the intersection of creativity and design, learning, people and passion which he sees as essential to the challenge facing future leaders: empowering people’s ability to reimagine what’s possible.
His Big Why? To build a more creative world where innovation and curiosity combine so business thrives and people live well.
His book A Thousand Little Lightbulbs: How to kickstart a culture of innovation in your organisation is available where all books are sold.