I’ve never thought of myself as a naturally curious person – someone who needed to know the how and why of what happened, what worked, what didn’t.
I guess if I’m honest, I’d say that throughout my life, I’ve spent a whole lot of time complaining (in graphic detail) about what’s wrong, than I have pondering causes and solutions.
What I’ve learned though, over the past few years and particularly as I’ve dived deeper in mindfulness practice, is that anything – ANYTHING – can be learned. #GrowthMindset
Thus… I can practise curiosity and become more curious.
Essentially, this is what I’ve been doing, for years now. In an attempt to be more mindful of the present moment, to ground myself in the now rather than the myriad of thoughts/feelings/images flying around my head, I have cultivated an attitude of curiosity.
I’ve learned to ask questions about what I can see/hear/taste/touch/smell, to investigate my surroundings, to query my thoughts, beliefs, body language and actions, including the way that they feed or starve each other.
One thing that I’ve learned is that if I respond to challenging situations with curiosity – bad drivers, terrible news, an argument, being ignored, mistakes and setbacks – then I always feel better (and more constructive) than when I respond with judgement.
Try it and see. The next time someone cuts you up on the motorway; the next time you’re behind a diver who doesn’t indicate (I’m pretty sure BMW don’t make cars with them?!) try out a curiosity-based response. i.e. ‘I wonder if they’re in a mad rush? Maybe they’re having a terrible day? Maybe they’re super impatient all of the time… that must be awful.’
And see how this experience sits with you, as opposed to when you rage and scream and honk and swear. Compare the way these responses feel in your mind and body, the way these responses show themselves differently in your thoughts/beliefs/words/body language. How does your reaction change how easy it is to either let go of this, or to carry it around with you, like a backpack of misery and anger.
I’m curious – more than I was anyway. So let me know how you get on in the comments below! X