Curiosity has been given a bad rap. Perhaps you grew up hearing that asking questions was rude or conveyed ignorance, or that you would get into trouble if you were like Curious George. You might have even been warned that "Curiosity killed the cat!"
The truth is that curiosity is one of the most vital and life-affirming qualities you can bring to your life and your relationships – especially as you approach your retirement years.
Let's look at curiosity in three different areas of your life:
Curiosity in your work environment or other situations – volunteering and/or meetings
It is so easy to blame others when things go wrong in a work setting or other activity you have chosen to participate in. Instead of blaming others, consider being curious about your experience rather than critical.
For example, instead of beating yourself up for not reaching a goal, try asking yourself what was going on for you that you kept performing below your expectations? With an attitude of "how fascinating that I have created this situation" you are much more likely to help yourself find new solutions to attaining your goals. You might think about it as if you were a detective trying to gather clues about how something happened. This will help you make different choices in the future.
Curiosity in your life
Retirement is a journey and an adventure. Helen Keller said, "Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all!" When you cultivate an attitude of curiosity, doors open and adventures begin. Questions lead to new possibilities.
For example, asking yourself, "What do I want to learn now, and where might that lead me? can set you on a journey of exciting exploration and move you forward. If, instead, you believe "I already know what I need to know," you shut off the possibility of discovering something new that could make your soul sing.
Curiosity in relationships
How often do you assume you know what someone else is thinking or experiencing? What if you came from a place of not knowing and offered others an invitation to speak? According to Sharon Ellison, creator of Powerful Non-Defensive Communication, "a non defensive question is innocently curious, reflecting the purity of the child who asks how a flower grows or what makes an airplane fly. "This means inviting others to share their true experience and clarify your understanding when you ask questions without hidden agendas.
3 ways to practice cultivating a more curious life are:
- Questions. Practice asking questions with openness and neutrality. Practice with strangers in stores and with people close to you. Stop thinking you know all the answers. Be open to being surprised!
- Inquiries. An inquiry is an open-ended question designed to broaden your perspective. For example, you might ask yourself, "What would make life a daring adventure for me?" "Where in my life do I assume I already know the answers?"
- Assumptions. These impact how you treat strangers as well as loved ones. Challenge your assumptions by asking, "What if that is not true?" What other choices might you make then?
If you truly want to expand your excitement, joy and fulfillment in life and your relationships, sprinkle liberal doses of curiosity in your conversations and watch your life become the exciting adventure it can be!
Comment below about how you use the strength of curiosity? I love hearing from you.
Until next time,