Staying Curious

When we tap into our curious spirit, we are more likely to expand our knowledge base and adapt our skill set to meet the demands of this ever changing world. Granted, most people are change-averse, but it is one of the two guarantees in life–the other being death. We must learn to let go of a past that no longer serves us and learn to embrace a life that is a continuous exploration into the unknown. Basically, when we challenge ourselves to learn or do something new, we are tapping into a new realm of possibilities.

This requires a change in how we think and see the world. One of my favorite quotes from Albert Einstein is “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” This statement holds many truths, from the individual to the national level. We often limit our possibilities, because we have set imaginary constraints on our thoughts. Too often our thinking gets stuck in the mud like this truck. 

This picture was taken on my trip to Lofa in December 2007, a northern county of Liberia bordering Sierra Leone and Guinea. This dirt road recently experienced a great deal of rain making it difficult for this truck to pass through,

What is exciting about changing our thoughts is that there is now technology that can show us what is happening to our nerve cells in our brains. With the development of better brain scans, scientists can examine how a novel idea is being formed in our neo-cortex (front part of the brain) through the learning process. Then it can show through time-lapse video how our brain can rewire itself when a new habit is being developed (click here)[1]. Being able to see what our brains can do when we change our thinking is amazing. Also, this ability can happen at any age…so yes an old dog can learn a new trick. 

The curiosity to learn or do something new takes an open mind. I like to look at the world with the eyes of two year old. It was during this time of our life that we were discovering a larger world and were eager to try everything. If we can harness this fearless enthusiasm again as adults, we can plug into our creative and innovative centers in the brain. The reality is if we want to change how we see the world, we need to develop creative and innovate thinking that is not hindered by fear of failing or doubt of our abilities. 

The idea of being curious is important to our ongoing personal and professional development. As we continue to learn, we continue to grow. This is why we need to explore and experience the greater world around us, because it expands our opportunities. I will close this post with a great quote from Audrey Hepburn, “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’!”

Video: Look What Happens in Your Brain When You Change Your Mind. Dr. Joe Despenza