When was the last time you felt that spark…you know the one where you hear someone talking about something you don’t know much about, but just know you want to learn more?
You are correct. We do have a word for that. It’s curiosity.
As kids, what doesn’t spark our curiosity? Everything seems like an adventure. But as we get older, we formulate our own view of the world. We decide not to ask that question or learn more about that thing because it’s not who we are and it’s not what we do. We know who we are…or do we?
In my work, I am constantly in touch with people who are years into their experience as professionals and adults. While they may have achieved so much materially, there’s one problem: they have nothing that truly lights them up, ignites their spark. And…they’ve stopped looking.
They ask me, “sooooo…is this it?”, and it breaks my heart. But the answer is a hopeful one. Of course, this isn’t it! But we must start looking again.
One of the five dimensions of curiosity realized by psychologists at George Mason University is “joyous exploration.”
When I was going through coaching training a few years back, we used a beautiful simile about humans: each human is like a house. When we’re young, all the doors are flung open. We burst energetically from room to room, anticipating what we’ll find there. Our eyes light up at the mystery of exploration. But then, with experience, we begin to shut doors. Some get locked forever. Until we’re left pacing in the foyer.
You, are a house. But you have probably (like most of us) stopped wondering and thus stopped wandering.
The good news is, the doors are still there. The rooms behind them await you with a pleasant breeze blowing through their curtains.
So, take 60 seconds today…right now. Make a list titled, “All the things I’m curious about.” That list is neverending, and it’s not just a bucket list of the usual activities. It can be anything! What do you have yet to joyously explore? Tree shaping, studying Sufism, writing jokes, starting a TikTok channel about plants? Write as if no one will ever see your list! Notice how you feel as you’re doing it. It’s invigorating to even imagine, right?
Your first step is to choose the item on the list that feels the most intriguing and decide on 1 action you can take this week to open that door, even if it’s just a crack.
I said you are a house, but really, I meant you are an estate. Happy hunting!