I came across this wonderful Tedx talk by Takaharu Tezuka that explores how creative architecture has increased curiosity in a Japanese kindergarten. As an entrepreneur I found it to be the perfect example of how important it is for us to encourage curiosity.
From a baby’s wandering eye to a toddler constantly asking parents “why?”, curiosity is key to human development. When we discover something new, we want to explore it and while exploring we discover.
Curiosity enhances human capability by acting as an intrinsic motivator to sustain interest on a given topic. It’s this inquisitiveness that drives brain growth and it’s also why it’s one of the biggest enablers for creative and innovative thinking.
If creativity and innovation isn’t enough of a reason to encourage your curiosity, the human brain is designed to reward curious thinking. According to management author Jim Canterucci, the novelty of exploration is rewarded through the release of dopamine, a chemical that improves your mood and sense of wellbeing.
Here are my 3 strategies to help you tune into your curiosity:
1. Be motivated to learn:
Some of our greatest discoveries have been made by scientists whose curious nature has enabled them to explore with greater awareness and authority. Dr. Gruber explains that “curiosity may put the brain in a state that allows it to learn and retain any kind of information, like a vortex that sucks in what you are motivated to learn, and also everything around it.”
2. Use your imagination:
Children are considered to possess the natural ability to foster curiosity and creativity. According to research by Dr. Stephanie Carlson they spend over two thirds of their time in non-reality, using their imagination to create a new reality. Dr. Carlson concludes that practice in pretending helps adults come up with alternative ways of being—and of seeing an issue—and results in more creativity and better problem-solving.
3. Uncertainty is the key:
Although anxiety and tension are not two emotions any of us enjoy, they are crucial in opening the door to new experiences. According to a report by the RSA, when taken out of our natural comfort zone, usually by breaking habits, we are forced to find new ways of adapting to situations.
Your curiosity will help you clarify problems, ideas and solutions whilst also encouraging yourself to see how they could play out differently.
Image: CC/BY/2.0 Britt-Knee