“Curiosity is one of the great secrets of happiness.” -Byrant H. McGill
Do you remember when you were a child, the number of questions you asked? How does that work? Why did you put that there? Where is she going? What happens when you do that?
As a little human, you were extremely intrigued and excited by the big, adventurous world around you and not yet clouded by fixed beliefs and notions.
Our inherent curious nature enabled us to learn about ourselves, people and the possibilities of life. It essentially facilitated our growth and expansion, by causing us to explore beyond our existing framework.
However, as we grew older and our egos began solidifying, instead of maintaining a supple, curious mind, we mostly became conclusive. We unconsciously started viewing life from a fixed perspective.
This was largely in part, due to our socialization, which taught us how to categorize and compartmentalize the world. This then led to the creation of a fixed set of templates and definitions about most things.
We were taught that people, things and situations all have certain qualities and characteristics and were also given their associated meaning, which were really based on the interpretation of others. These adopted judgments then became the framework from which we experienced life.
While these shared judgments and understanding of life, were really meant to help us navigate the world, in many instances, they have inhibited and limited our experiences.
For instance, my mother had a fear of the ocean and would always caution us when we went to the beach. Her cautions were more than just creating an awareness of all the possibilities that exist, it was a fearful warning.
My mom’s interpretation and reality at the time eventually became my interpretation and reality. The same fearful, apprehensive energy she had eventually became my energy.
While I know that it was not my mom’s intention to instill a sense of fear in me about the ocean, her unconscious, convincing, conclusive belief about it and influence in my life at that time, helped to create a reality that eventually inhibited my experience.
Life is extremely dynamic and constantly changing, providing us with new and deeper levels of insight and information, as we engage in various experiences. This dynamism is both functional and purposeful, as it satisfies our basal desire to grow and expand.
When we make absolute decisions about singular experiences, we are essentially declaring that no matter what, we will maintain the same perspective and approach for all future, similar experiences.
This approach to life of course, does not take into consideration that while the experience might appear to be similar, no two situations are ever the same. It also ignores the fact that our body of information is constantly changing and therefore our capacity and abilities are also subject to change.
Such an immovable point of view, despite the moveable nature of life, has the potential to ‘pigeonhole’ our experiences. This often results in unpleasant emotions such as frustration and fear because it goes against our very nature to grow and expand.
“The mind that is open to a new idea never returns to its original size.” Albert Einstein
Additionally, our conditioning has stymied us from monopolizing the growth opportunities, presented by life’s challenges. For a vast majority, we have collectively misconstrued the intended objective of what we consider a problem.
Usually, when we stumble upon a challenge, as we inevitably do, our unconscious reaction is usually one of fear and panic. Many of us often become immobilized by our interpretation of the situation, which generally is narrow and incomplete, but understandably so.
As we engage in various experiences, our very sophisticated minds collate and store information, which later on, is referred to and applied as needed.
When we encounter new life situations, our mind will first search its archives for previously stored information that can be applied to the current experience, if it comes up nil, and then a challenge is born.
I am sure, based on this explanation; you are now able to see the opportunity for growth presented by such situations. However, the reality is, most of us are often put off from embracing these chances because of our misinterpretation of the situation.
As constantly evolving beings, challenging situations are one of the ways that we grow and expand. These situations cause us to search beyond our current body of information, thereby causing us to acquire new information, resulting in our growth.
From this perspective, the real problem isn’t the challenging situation itself but rather how we choose to see it and deal with it.
While our current default programming, as it pertains to challenges, is generally closed off, it is possible to reprogram our minds, to respond more openly and favourably to these opportunities.
By first changing the way we view a challenge and then by eliciting our childlike curiosity of asking questions.
As adults, the nature of the questions we generally ask, when faced with a challenge is from a conclusive perspective. We would have more or less determined that the situation is bad or negative and this therefore limits our possibilities.
This narrow line of site often yields questions like, why can’t I catch a break? Why do bad things always happen to me? Why can’t I get it right?
And because we have already determined that the situation is bad and negative, even though we are genuinely seeking answers, the answers we ultimately get are based on where we are looking.
Instead of getting answers that will help us to move past our current stumbling block and satisfy our mind’s desire to expand, we get answers to match the possibility that we have already isolated. Essentially, we get more of what we don’t want.
Consciously deciding to reignite your childlike curiosity has the potential to combat this dilemma.
Similar to when we ask closed, negative questions, we get closed, negative answers; when we ask open, positive questions, we get open, positive answers.
This is based on the notion that if we are open to the vast possibilities that exist outside of our current body of information, then we become available to more options and answers.
This problem-solving technique is a game changer and puts you in a receptive mode, helping you to quickly move into a creative and solution-oriented frame of mind.
Some examples of powerful, positive questions you can start using when faced with a challenging situation include:
- How is it that this situation is working out better than I can ever imagine?
- How can I learn the lessons the experience is meant to teach me?
- How is it that I grow and expand as a result of this experience?
- How can I clearly see what this experience is trying to show me?
By asking these powerful questions, you are essentially eliciting the mind’s desire to find the answers, which also includes going beyond its immediate archives. This often results, in a yearning to conduct research, such as via the internet, asking a knowledgeable person or even tuning into your inner guidance.
Curiosity is a critical life skill I believe everyone should harness and apply to all aspects of life. It has the immense potential to open us up to a world of infinite possibilities, where growth and expansion is a lifelong exploration.
Albert Einstein, the world renowned physicist who developed the special and general theories of relativity once said “I have no special talents. I am just passionately curious.”