Fear of the unknown often stops us in our tracks; it inhibits love, adventure and pleasure. Whether it is related to fear of failure, a sense of forthcoming doom, or is residue from trauma experience, the willingess to become curious can free us to explore new pathways. “By replacing fear of the unknown with curiosity we open ourselves up to an infinite stream of possibility. We can let fear rule our lives or we can become childlike with curiosity, pushing our boundaries, leaping out of our comfort zones, and accepting what life puts before us.” (Alan Watts)
Arrogance is the attitude of being better than, of having all the answers. Often a coping mechanism to cover feelings of inadequacy, arrogance tends isolate and limit one's ability to learn new things. In many ways arrogance is the exact opposite of curiosity, so cultivating curiosity brings balance and improved mental health to those suffering from arrogance. Asking other people about themselves leads to closer relationships, and choosing to investigate how something works without judgement offers new knowledge. Posing questions and listening to the answers invites the mind to explore new possibilities and encourages flexibility of thought.
Apathy and boredom: "I don’t care” is the passive theme song with these two, whether they are the result of learned helplessness or depression or frustration. Curiosity is active, it propels us to deeper engagement and taking an interest in what happens next stimulates the muscles of our mind. What would it be like if you did care? What would happen if you did this…. or that? Satirist Dorothy Parker wrote: “The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity."
Limiting beliefs are mental blockages that keep us in familiar routines and give us illusions of certainty and security. We are are not born with beliefs, they are similar to software programs that have been installed. What would happen if you chose to use a different program, install a different belief? Acting as if you believe something that gives you a new repertoire of response is a tool that has been successful in generating change for many.
The experience of being curious releases the feel-good chemical dopamine and activates the hippocampus, a complex brain structure that plays a major role in learning and memory. There are studies that indicate curiosity can delay the onset of mental deteriorations such as Altzheimers, as curiosity stimulates neuroplasticity, the ability of neural networks in the brain to grow and reorganize, to modify and adapt to experiences.
May you be forever curious.