Let's take a walk through a brand new day.
Lately, I find myself very eager to learn new things and have new experiences. I am, by nature, a curious person. Not as curious as Isaac Newton, (considered by some the most curious human of all time), but curious just the same. I am curious about people, places, nature, opinions, emotions, reasons, things, mechanics, physics, chemistry, religion….and the list goes on.
We are born naturally curious. It is how we explore our world and learn to adapt to our environment. But, something happens as we grow older and we often lose our sense of wonderment. As an educator, I witnessed this over and over again. Preschoolers come to school as “sponges” ready to learn and absorb everything. Ask a question in a pre-school class of 20 children and 20 hands will shoot up in the air eagerly awaiting their turn to share. Ask a question in middle school…well, let’s just say the outcome is different. Don’t even get me started on what happens in high school.
What causes us to lose that sense of curiosity? Does our current education system hold part of the blame? Does our reliance on technology hold the blame? Or, is it a natural part of growing older?
I recently read an article by Stephanie Vozza in a Fast Company newsletter who says we are capable of recapturing our sense of wonderment and retraining ourselves to be curious about our world. She even lists the 8 habits of curious people. I wondered as I read this if we could help our children and our students by understanding the 8 habits of people who’ve retained their curiosity. So, here they are…the 8 habits of curious people.
Curious people try to understand the perspectives of others without blaming, shaming, or making assumptions.
Curious people tend to ask questions that start with “why”, “where”, “when”, and “how”. They shy away from yes and no questions to create a dialog of openness.
Curious people are willing to talk to a stranger, eat a new food, ask questions, and try experiences out of their comfort zone.
Curious people focus on conversations, people’s faces, and reactions. Curious people put down the phone and fully engage and interact.
Curious people are willing to listen to others opinions and thoughts with an open mind.
Curious people take time to slow down, explore, enjoy, engage, and wonder.
Curious people are always ready to engage in a conversation even if their knowledge of the subject is non-existent. They are willing to listen, to learn and say, “I don’t know” when asked a question.
Curious people are aware that curiosity can lead to hurts. As a child it often led to physical hurts and as adults, it may lead to emotional hurts. The curious person is willing to work through those hurts and take a chance.
As I pondered the 8 characteristics of curious people, I took the time to evaluate myself using the criteria above. I’ve definitely got 6 of the traits in the bag. Let’s just say I’m working on the other two.
I’m curious…how about you? How many “curiosity characteristics” do you have?