12 Tips To Learn How To Be Curious

Self Potrait?
Self Potrait? 

 By: Lori Grant


Some people are born curious like Leonardo da Vinci. For others, curiosity just “kicked in” over time, with me being an example. Like anything else, curiosity can be learned. It’s never too late to learn how be curious if you’re trying to master the 12 keys to success, see post “12 Keys to Success for Knowledge Workers, Middle Managers, C-Levels & Entrepreneurs.” Finding your passion in work gets easier and the journey more interesting if you develop curiosity. So how can you learn it?

The Problogger’s How Guide to Curiosity
How to Be Curious” by Darren Rowse of Problogger.net is the perfect “How-to” guide on learning curiosity. Below are Rowse’s how-to steps with my added commentary:

  1. Don’t Accept Spin: Often what we’re exposed to is only the tip of the iceberg. Scratch the surface by digging a little deeper. Look at it from a 360-degree perspective, then investigate any or all new information that you discover.
  2. Ask Questions: Just like a little kid, if I see or read something that peaks my curiosity, I’m thinking, “how?” or “why.” Asking more questions is like turning over more rocks. You never know what you’ll find. Perhaps it’s something amazing or it’s mundane.
  3. Ask ‘What if…’: I often think in three scenarios. I default to worst, most likely, and best-case scenario. Or I think in terms of Sci-Fi like “what if, in a parallel universe” or “what if in another life time, it had turned out like this?” Try the “what if…” approach.
  4. ‘Turn Questions into Quests’: God bless Amazon.com. The first thing I do when I get curious about something is go to Amazon.com and do a search. I typically buy the most relevant, and then enjoy getting lost in Amazon’s Recommendations for more books. It turns into a quest. I typically buy up to 3 or 5 books in my quest to learn or satisfy a curiosity.
  5. Dig deeper than the RSS feed: Breadth is nice, but depth is better. Taking a deep dive into the object of your curiosity is more satisfying than only looking at the high-level or macro view. Think veritcals, not horizontals, unless your 360 view has you motivated to research breadth and depth.
  6. Use available Tools: Amazon.com is a great resource for finding the books for your research. If you’re brainstorming, then mindmapping is always effective. I also use other programs like Google Notebook so I easily save what I’ve found in my online research. Use note cards or all the usual ways you collect information so you can easily organize your thoughts later.
  7. Put disconnected ideas together: Over time, you learn how to see disparate things, realizing that they may be related. You may cross pollinate by using a paradigm or framework from one disciple and apply it to another.
  8. Play: Some of my play comes in the form of traveling on vacation and reading books at poolside on the latest objective of my curiosity. I also love going to bookstores and browsing, doing a physical search on the topic. I also consider this fun because hanging out in bookstores, discovering new books is play to me. How can you incorporate what you like to do for play?
  9. Get Proactive: It’s easy to accept things as they are, but we have take initiative if we want to be curious. When we’re learning how to be curious, you’re actually going out of your way to do it so it becomes a habit. Being reactive or doing nothing reaps different results.
  10. Network: Talk or email other who you respect on the thing you’re curious about.
  11. Find a ‘Curiosity Buddy’: It’s more fun when we get curious with a buddy. Whether it’s sharing the object of your curiosity or your buddy is a curious type too. It will make for lively discussions and more field trips to the bookstore!
  12. Slow Down: Just sit. Reflect. Once you find great information, then sit down. Do nothing. Let the thoughts come to you, and then reflect on it.

The Curious Blog, Design for Learning – Love It!
I mentioned mindmaps in number six above. The following mindmap is from a wonderful blog that I just discovered called Design for Learning by Natalie Kilkenny. Her blog is refreshing because she’s a curious soul, especially on knowledge management. This is a perfect example of using mindmapping as a tool for discovery. As Natalie learns more about the nature and implications of applying a Knowledge Management system, she’ll update this mindmap on her blog. As you read Natalie’s posts, you can just see the wheels are turning in her mind as she blogs about why things are or how she’s processing something. Check outDesign for Learning by Natalie Kilkenny and try out Rowse’s 12 steps to curiosity. I think you’ll like both endeavors.

 Knowledge Management Mind Map

Knowledge Management Mind Map

So get curious this weekend by getting lost in your thoughts, mindmaps, and Amazon’s Recommended books on the object of your curiosity.

Have a great weekend!

Source: Smart Lemming