From the invention of the shoe horn to the evolution of human rights, whether it’s a split second epiphany, or a long and arduous quest for doing things better, the seeds of curiosity are the lynchpin of all progress – and the fuel for a creative mind.
We all know the adage ‘curiosity is sacred’, but if we’re going to be brutally honest, it’s also a little bit of an effort. So much so, that’s it’s only too easy to fall into a routine of simply accepting things just the way they are.
Whether it’s jumping into your car, buying fruit and veg at the supermarket or staring at a TV screen for several hours, sometimes questioning our behaviour seems a bit of a stretch – especially after a long day at work. Then again, without doing a double take, sitting back and really thinking “wait a second, is that really the best way to do things?” we can become dangerously stale and dare I say it, a tad ignorant.
So with the help of Skillshare – the newest approach to remote online learning which offers everything from typography lessons and screenwriting courses to sessions on how to learn to write code – I embarked upon a short course in ‘Curiosity and Relentless Observation’, by Carolyn Wiedeman.
Is ‘being more curious’ really something you can teach? Carolyn certainly thinks so. And like any newly acquired skill, it’s something that needs to be practiced everyday.
As her students, we were encouraged to look into the seemingly mundane. Using five curiosity techniques, we were set off on a curious course to expand our minds, push our perceptions and uncover more from what lay innocuously before us.
Here are Carolyn’s five exercises to get you questioning:
Dig into what you know
Don’t think you have to go above and beyond to expand your horizons. Even the most everyday curiosity can lead to something far bigger. Think about your behaviour, the objects you interact with, the occasions you find yourself in. It’s all a breeding ground for curiosity.
Vary your content consumption
Don’t be lazy. Mix up your days, speak to different people, walk a different way home. It’ll open you up to more avenues and add to your arsenal of experience.
Approach a situation or object as if it’s your first time
Open your eyes and think objectively. We can all fall into a slump where things seem, well, normal. With your curiosity goggles on, even the most accepted things, (like having a dog in your house), will start to blow your mind.
Trigger your awareness everyday
When you see yourself drifting back into your old habits, snap out of it for a second and spend a good five minutes asking ‘why?’. It’s a daily task that will open up all kinds of possibilities.
Improve upon anything
Carolyn helps us realise that nothing is finished, and everything has the potential to be changed for the better. Look closer at the services and processes we work with everyday, start picking out the flaws. These are all the things that can be tweaked for the better.
Before you put the five techniques to the test, take a look at this lovely video on curiosity, commissioned by Skillshare.
Skillshare – Curiosity from One Year Study on Vimeo.