One thing I have noticed over the last few years of teaching is that there are two types of learners…those who learn because they have to and those who learn because they like to. So here our challenge lies – how do we get someone who learns because they have to to learn because they like to?
Curiosity is a strange thing. It can be dimly lit or it can be irreversibly dampened. Though, there are some things that hold clear – curiosity is innate. It is something that is within us as human beings from the time that we are born. One only has to look at a newborn’s face to understand this. The smile and wonder on a baby’s face whenever they see, feel, smell or taste something new. The endless why question’s that come from children. At some point through puberty and high school this wanes. Why?
Some people blame their parents. Some people blame their schooling. Some people blame their teachers. Some people just – lost interest – for one reason or another. A bad experience. Negative influences. Personal trauma. We all go through it. The amount of times I got punished or in trouble as a kid or as a teenager for being curious is innumerable. Possibly because whenever I got too curious for my own good I ended up breaking something – like computers (oops). Though – one thing stood out to me when I observed people whom are no longer curious – they are no longer alive. They are bored. They go through the same thing – day in, day out. Not believing or thinking that there could be a life very different and more magical than they could have ever dreamed. Their minds are no longer active. They no longer dream their own dream. They are no longer open to new ideas. They take things forgranted and they no longer question – believing anything that is fed to them to bolster their unexplored ideas implanted by the opinion of others and advertising.
So how does one keep their curiosity alive?
One has to learn how to see the world with awe and wonder yet again. And sometimes – we have to delve into the dark recesses of society, our communities and this planet to get it back. Sometimes it is the shocking and the unbelievable that begs us to ask the questions “why?” and “how?”.
So how does one stay curious? or how does one get it back?
I have a few heroes in this realm.. and I would love to share these magic people with you.
Calvin Cheater from the Stay Curious Art Collective states that:
“In it’s simplest form, curiosity can be described as “a thirst for knowledge” – to ponder the unknown. Though this may seem like the most obvious way to define our label, the concept behind the phrase is relatively more valuable and profound. By natural instinct, humans and other beings alike, are constantly on the prowl for a new opportunity to present itself; whether it be artifact or experience. We thrive on finding new ways to better not only ourselves, but our community too. Through mediums as diverse as the life forms on this planet we’ve been able to share ourselves with more people everyday and more of ourselves with people everyday, in more ways than we could ever imagine. By exploring the unknown and continuously pushing the boundaries, we open ourselves to an emancipated realm of creative expression, thus leaving us thirsty for more, creating a cycle of artistic intuition. The oxymoron of “Stay Curious” is what challenges us to move onwards; ‘Stay’ – to remain, and ‘Curious’ – to explore.”
“If you are young and nervous, don’t be.
I urge you to be curious…
There are always other options.
Challenge your comfort, let yourself unfold.”
Catherine Pearson of Huffington Post challenges us to stay curious in the following ways:
- Delve into your passions. Go crazy with it. Get your nerd on and dive in.
- Look outside your every day life. You life normally revolves around what you are learning at school or at work? Do something completely different. Do something that scares the living daylights out of you. You will be surprised what you learn about yourself.
- Asy Why. Ask How. Don’t stop. Even when you get no answers. Keep asking.
- Be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Be comfortable with not knowing something. Through being comfortable with not knowing one is more comfortable in finding things out as their ego isn’t in the way.
- Learn to have fun while learning through learning in your own way. We all learn differently. Find yours.
- Read something you wouldn’t normally read. Watch and or listen to something you wouldn’t normally go any where near.
Why should you listen to me?
It’s simple really. Learner’s have more active brains. Curiosity stops the brain from going numb. New and novel ideas and experiences opens up neural pathways all through our lives. So live, learn and be alive. For me, I can’t think of a more magical way to live.