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5 Ways To Develop Curiosity

5 Ways To Develop Curiosity

Curiosity might have killed the cat, but it could help you live a happier and more successful life. Curious people are not content to study a single subject of interest; instead, they learn about a wide array of topics that fascinate them. This gives them a fresh perspective that allows them to find answers to problems that others might miss. Curious people ask lots of questions and are determined to identify common threads that exist in conflicting topics (and it’s not difficult to see how that might lead to more success). If you’d like to boost your ability to think creatively, apply these 5 ways to develop curiosity. 

1. Eliminate “I’m Bored” from Your Vocabulary

“I’m bored” is a useless thing to say. I mean, you live in a great, big, vast world that you’ve seen none percent of. Even the inside of your own mind is endless; it goes on forever, inwardly, do you understand? The fact that you’re alive is amazing, so you don’t get to say “I’m bored.” – Louis C.K.

The more you say you’re bored, the less opportunity your mind has to grow. If you look at something and find it boring, you’re not looking hard enough. Stuck in a waiting room and bored out of your mind? Grab a magazine you would never read otherwise and read an article that piques your interest. Strike up a conversation with a stranger and ask them to tell you an interesting story. Watch the mannerisms of the people around you and be fascinated by their personal quirks.

2. Search for the Positive in All Situations

Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will. – Zig Ziglar

If you expect something to be dreadfully boring, it will be. If you tell yourself you will have no fun, you won’t. Instead of agonizing during a traffic jam, take the opportunity to call a friend to catch up, or listen to a few chapters of a good audio-book. Expecting things to be fun and interesting will help you develop a positive mind-set that is more open to new ideas.

3. Question Everything

The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. – Albert Einstein

Could you tell me why the sky is blue? Do you know what bugs are responsible for the insect chorus that sings when darkness falls? Have you ever wondered what your dog does at home while you’re working during the day? Why does it take us longer to begin a chore than it takes us to actually complete it? Pay more attention. Life is full of questions to ask. Live in the present and notice the things that fascinate you most. Solve the mysteries that you can’t stop thinking about.

4. Do Something Different

We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths. – Walt Disney

Do you usually listen to hard rock while you work? Try to work while listening to smooth jazz, classical music, or R&B. Do you usually stick with self-help and autobiographies? Read a trashy romance novel or horror book. Do you usually stick with mainstream movies? Find an independent theater and watch a foreign film. You will never really know if you don’t like something until you give it a fair chance.

5. Conquer Fear

Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will. – James Stephens

Most people stick with the “same ol’, same ol'” because they are afraid to try something different. Change can be a scary thing when we become so used to a routine that we don’t even have to think about it. The more curious you are, the less afraid you will be. Focus on the positive outcomes when you try something new. For example, let’s say you are interested in theater arts, decided to audition for a play for the first time ever, got cast, and now it is opening night. Don’t think about how embarrassed you would be if you forgot your lines (hint: no one will ever notice as long as you don’t freak out). Instead, imagine booming applause and a standing ovation at curtain call.

Feel free to add to this list! How do you develop curiosity to keep your brain sharp? 

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Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems.

In this article, you will learn why it isn’t easy to build new habits, and how to change habits.

What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

The Biology

Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

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Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

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Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

The Psychology

Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

1. Identify Your Habits

As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

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2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

3. Apply Logic

You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

4. Choose an Alternative

As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

5. Remove Triggers

Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

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6. Visualize Change

Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

Final Thoughts

Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

More About Changing Habits

Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

Reference

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