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How Curiosity Can Fuel Creativity

“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” – Einstein

Curiosity is something all great thinkers, artists, designers and scientists have in common – but it is something that we tend to pay little attention to in our day-t0-day lives.

Research into curiosity points to it enhancing our lives by making our minds more flexible, leaving us more creative and open to change. Professor of Economics and Psychology George Loewenstein at Carnegie Mellon University believes curiosity is such a powerful motivator because it is not only a mental state but an emotion.

He suggests we need to “prime the pump” to become curious. So how do you ‘prime your pump’ to get those creative juices flowing, let us count the ways:

Ask questions

This may seem obvious, but it is something that many people don’t do enough. Questioning is a cognitive pattern that can become a very useful habit, and it can lead to finding answers to things that will in turn make you more curious.

Tip: Hang a reminder question on your mirror that simply asks, ‘what am I interested in learning about today?’

Do something you have never done before

Have you noticed that time seems to pass more quickly as you get older? This might be because as you age the world is not as novel as it once was, and you get caught in habitual patterns. The more new things you do (like choosing to study online), the more likely it is that the novelty will return and you’ll become more mindful about the world around us.

Doing new things often involves facing uncertainty and curiosity is the ability to manage this uncertainty so that you can learn or create something new.

Tip: Turn a new experience into a personal challenge. One way to do this is to turn it into a (light hearted) contest with a friend, or turn it into a personal project.

Read widely

Reading is a brilliant way to open up new worlds and different ways of thinking. Even if you’re not a big reader, buy a magazine you have never considered reading, and just see where it takes you. The more you start to learn, the more curious you will become.

Tip: Physically browse through some books at a bookstore instead of relying on the Internet. Sometimes it’s difficult to know exactly what we’re interested in, and search engines make it difficult to spontaneously stumble across information that we may never have sought out.