© August 2010, by Fabienne Lopez
This past week, curiosity and things evolving around being curious, cultivating curiosity and the importance of being curious have surrounded my conversations in different occasions.
For the curious-impaired, I thought a review on the advantages of being curious and some tips on how you improve your curiosity rate would be appropriate for this upcoming Mercury retrograde period (8/20/2010 to 9/12/2010). This Mercury retrograde will happen in the in one of the signs Mercury rules, Virgo (the other being Gemini)
Mercury is known in mythology as the Messenger of the Gods. He was honored by merchants and thieves, among others.
Mercury retrograde provides the opportunity to adjust our thoughts, attitudes and decisions about our issues, and to adjust our new direction. Virgo is the sign of the Maiden who is concerned about craftsmanship. And there is certainly a craftsmanship necessary to the quality being curious. Therefore, I thought a mercury retrograde period would an ideal time to review our curiosity level and improve our craftsmanship in that art.
Definition of curiosity
But what is curiosity? I would define it as:
Curiosity (or interest, novelty-seeking, openness to experience): “Taking an interest in ongoing experience for its own sake; finding subjects and topics fascinating; exploring and discovering.”
The more I think about this definition, the more I realize that there are two types of curiosity, both which correlate with the signs of Gemini and Virgo:
1) The “Gemini” kind of curiosity is focused on exploring. I see the Gemini is as curious as butterflies, always seeking to know more than what is in their current surroundings so that they can share these new bits of information to answer questions and solve problems. What, why, when, who, where, what if and how are their best friends.
2) The “Virgo” type of curiosity is more practical in the sense that it is aimed at answering the question: “How does it work.” It is the realm of engineers, craftspeople and all detailed oriented people who use applied information and skills to create functional products and systems.
Having described curiosity in terms of astrological signs, I must say I can’t really see myself in any of these two categories. As an Aries, truth being said, I don’t feel ownership with curiosity. So cultivating curiosity in practical ways presents a challenge for me. To tackle this challenge, I first gathered information, starting by understanding why curiosity is so important.
The importance of Curiosity
Medical studies have found 3 main reasons:
- Curiosity keeps your mind active
The mind is like a muscle that becomes stronger through continual exercise. Keeping your mind active helps you fight senility, and memory and cognition loss.
- Curiosity opens your mind to new ideas and possibilities
When you are curious about something, you are exposed to new ideas, which in turn open up a whole new world of possibilities beyond the day to day routine.
- Curiosity brings excitement into your life
This world of new possibilities is what makes the life of the curious so exciting. Their life is comprised of a mixture of routine and adventure that makes their life richer, and full of wonderful experiences and good stories to tell their friends.
Specific Curiosity Exercises
Now knowing the importance of curiosity, here are some exercises to develop your curiosity muscle:
- Keep learning. Pick up a new subject of interest that you would not normally go for, then take classes, and read books on the matter.
- Try new things. If you are always ordering the same dish at the restaurant, make it a rule to order something you never tasted before.
- Vary your routine. Whether going to work, cooking dinner or listening to the same artists, make a point to include something new in your day to day life.
- Ask questions relentlessly: What, why, when, who, where, how will help you discover, explore, and connect to the world around you.
- Hang around Gemini and Virgo people who are high in curiosity and allow them to lead you into new experiences!
My A-Ha Moment about Curiosity
I had an a-ha moment while writing this article. I am definitely not a Gemini curious type of person — always curious about new trends, social scenes, willing to adopt new things and experiences. I don’t get tempted to try a new brand of my favorite food in the supermarket. Nor am I the Virgo type of wanting to develop orderly systems in detailed fashion. Color-coding files is not my thing.
The a-ha moment for me was that I do possess a high level of curiosity to know the “full picture.” For me it is not about having the facts in line and drawing a conclusion. It is about seeking the links between apparently disparate things and discovering dimensions of knowing beyond the rational. That is the curiosity that makes me tick.
What makes you curious? What are you drawn to? And how can curiosity help you expand beyond your current boundaries?
As we enter this upcoming Mercury Retrograde period, use curiosity to navigate the waters to putting more fun in your daily life.
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Photos Credits: Flickr Creative Commons