’Curiosity killed the cat.’
Who hasn’t heard this saying? A statement aimed at self-preservation, meant to keep you safe. The downside of following that edict is you stay exactly where you are, comfortable and supposedly secure but unable to learn and improve.
Yet all the evidence around you suggests that curiosity is an essential ingredient in life, especially if you want to grow and evolve.
Just think. Without it our ancestors would never have taken that first step beyond what they knew to explore strange, new territory. We would never have made the technological and scientific advances we see today. Without it we would never have felt compelled to investigate and experiment.
And curiosity used to be part of you too. Remember those days long ago when the one question you asked about everything was ‘why’? You had a constant need to understand, to figure out what was going on in the world around you.
But as you got older you got side-tracked. You had exams to pass, jobs to acquire and bills to pay. You stuck to a well-trodden, prescribed path, one that targeted the goal of making it. Being curious was child’s play, a luxury you couldn’t afford.
Yet despite playing the part you were told led to success you somehow ended up in a place where you’re still not satisfied. Where reality is so far from what you thought it was going to be. Your life feels ordinary and uninspiring, lacking fulfilment and excitement. You feel stuck with no way out.
But what if the key to getting out of that rut, cultivating passion and creating meaning in your life was to become a child again. To reignite the natural curiosity that has lain dormant for too long.
What if you simply needed to be reminded of how to rekindle it? Here’s how.
1. Accept what you can’t change
God grant me serenity, to accept the things I cannot change. – Reinhold Niebuhr
When you refuse to let go of the things you cannot change you will stay stuck, weighed down by resentment and anger. Acceptance is key as it liberates you from wasting time and energy on what you have no influence over and focuses your mind on what you can impact.
The past is the past and there’s nothing you can do about it. Decide to not waste another minute lamenting what should have been and look forward with a clear and open heart.
2. Become a student again
It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows. – Epictetus
Like a baby taking in a new environment, you have to be willing to open your mind and heart to learning something new. Be a willing sponge, ready to absorb as much information as you can, interested in everything that’s happening around you. It can be as simple as reading a book or taking a course. Or you could take more interest in those around you by asking more questions and really listening to what they have to say.
The key is to not limit yourself to the things you already know, don’t be afraid to explore what’s new and different. Be willing to feel stupid and fail at stuff, on the other side of those experiences will be new skills, knowledge and ideas.
3. Change your environment
“You don’t have to be the victim of your environment. You can also be the architect of it.” – James Clear
Tired of the four walls you live within? Why not change things around? That could be changing the layout of rooms in your house or bringing a bit of nature indoors.
Explore the world around you and that can start with right where you live. Start embracing opportunities to visit new places, meet new people and to go beyond what’s familiar. Can you try a different restaurant or coffee shop? Could you sometimes take a different route to work? Try travelling to a new country on holiday, one you’ve never even contemplated before. The key is to get out of the same old routine.
Getting unstuck could be just one decision away
“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” Albert Einstein
Being stuck is probably your cue to do something different. Realise that getting out of a rut comes down to you making a decision to take action. Reignite your curiosity and start exploring the wonderful world around you. Imagine the exciting opportunities and adventures that await.
Now over to you.
Are you in a rut?
Could following your curiosity generate the spark you need?
Let me know in the comments.