Curiosity Gets a Bad Rap

You may be familiar with your parents' or grandparents' cautions to you about wandering off too far or exploring something outside of what you know to be safe. But, what if those attempts to keep you out of harm's way simultaneously stifled one of the most motivating and powerful qualities we as humans possess? 

Curiosity may have "killed the cat," but curiosity can also challenge us to explore new and great things that we never knew possible or believed ourselves to be capable of. While there are certainly things we are better off not "sticking our nose in," with safe boundaries in place, we can experience even life that may seem to have become mundane when we become curious about ourselves, about our partners, friends, families, or even our potential within our occupation. As you consider shifting to a more curious perspective keep in mind the following tips:

1) What are some things that you want to grow, improve, or enhance in your life?

Once you have in mind the specific changes that you would like to see, try shifting away from saying I have to do "X, Y, or Z" to a more curious approach throughout the growth process. For example, "I wonder if I can run a mile and a half today?" Whether or not you make it to a mile and a half is not a pass or fail, but rather something that you learned about yourself. "So, while, today, I may have only made it one mile and two tenths, I wonder if I could go a little farther next time?" 

After making it a mile and a half, maybe you start to wonder, "Maybe I could get to where I'm running two miles. Maybe over the course of a week I could complete five miles. And maybe, just maybe, in a year I could be ready for a half marathon." These curiosities are shaped around one specific topic as an example, but the sky is the limit on what you can apply curiosity to in your life that may be less intimidating than a resolution or goal with the pressure of pass or fail.

2) Know how to maintain safety within your boundaries.

While curiosity can be a positive thing in our lives, be aware that too strong of a curiosity or a curiosity around the wrong things may put us in harms way in our daily lives and our relationships. For example, while it may be perfectly fine for you and your partner to have friendships with the opposite sex outside of your relationship, it may NOT be okay for either of you to share your personal issues with anyone outside of the relationship. 

Be leery of curiosity expanding in a way that could breach trust between spouses or other family members. It is so important to know "what is okay" and "what is not okay" when relating to people outside of the relationship. 

3) Don't push your limits too much.

While there is great value in allowing curiosity to propel you to new heights in your workouts, your professional goals, or with your relationships with other people, be aware of personal cues that indicate you may be pushing yourself too far. Make certain that you are cleared to do physical exercise by your doctor and maintain healthy boundaries for recommended nutritional daily intake. 

Practice an appropriate work/life/health balance when taking a curious approach to any changes you want to make. Many people, especially millennials, like to take a “go hard or go home” approach to new habits or interests. Instead of burning out before you even get to the finish line, get more curious about a balanced approach to your goals and experience long term growth in the process!